Irish bishop steps down after claim he shielded abusers
AN Irish-born senior Catholic cleric in the United States has stepped down after being accused of shielding known child-molesting priests from the law.
Bishop Thomas Curry has resigned as Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Barbara following the release of thousands of files linked to the abuse of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. He could face criminal charges as prosecutors in LA have said they are reviewing the documents.
His former boss, Cardinal Roger Mahony, has been stripped of public duties as both are accused of sending priests out of state to avoid scrutiny.
Bishop Curry, born in Ireland, is one of the most high profile Catholic clerics in the US, a writer and speaker of note.
Both Bishop Curry (70) and Cardinal Mahony have publicly apologised for their roles in shielding priests accused of abusing children.
Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry also tried to keep priests sent away to a church-run paedophile treatment centre from revealing their misconduct to private therapists, who would be obliged to report them.
Archbishop Jose Gomez took the step of stripping his predecessor of all public duties.
"I find these files to be brutal and painful reading," Archbishop Gomez said.
The document release comes nearly six years after the archdiocese agreed to do so as part of a multi-million dollar settlement. The archdiocese was able to pay with the help of loans of close to $400m (€469m) from Allied Irish Bank.