Los Angeles Archdiocese Apologizes for "Mistakes" in Handling Priest Abuse Case

Attorneys discussed a civil lawsuit settlement involving the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at a Thursday news conference

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Cardinal Roger Mahony prepares to lead Christmas mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels December 25, 2010.

    The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a statement in which it apologized to priest abuse victims ahead of a news conference Thursday at which one victims said his "faith has been shattered."

    The Archdiocese reached a $9.9 million settlement with four victims of former priest Michael Baker. The statement issued Thursday morning (see document) said Baker "deceived parishioners, therapists, church leaders and most of all, his victims."

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    When he was 11 years old, Michael Duran says he was sexually abused by a now-defrocked priest, allegations against whom led to a $10 million settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and four alleged victims, including Duran. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on March 13, 2013.

    "The Archdiocese has expressed deep regret for the mistakes made in handling his case and has taken responsibility for the terrible harm he inflicted upon his many victims," the statement continued. "It has been the desire of the Archdiocese to settle the civil cases of abuse and to provide support to the victims through the healing process. The Archdiocese again apologizes to all who were harmed or impacted by clergy sexual abuse or its consequences. We continue to pray earnestly for all victims and their families so that they may find emotional and spiritual healing. We also reiterate our firm commitment to the protection of our children and young people."

    The settlements announced Tuesday range from $995,000 to $4,000,000. At a news conference regarding the civil lawsuit settlement, attorneys called for a grand jury investigation into whether the Archdiocese and Cardinal Roger Mahony received special treatment from investigators.

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    Parishioners at St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood hope the new pope will help heal wounds caused by a church-wide sex abuse scandal. Many local Catholics say they think retired Cardinal Roger Mahony shouldn't have participated in the papal conclave because of his role in shielding abusive priests, but remain positive in the future of the church. Kathy Vara reports from North Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 13, 2013.

    A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said the church abuse files review has already started. The spokesperson did not comment on the attorneys' allegations of preferential treatment.

    In 1986, Baker confessed to then Archbishop Mahony that he had molested two boys. Michael Duran told NBC4 he believes he is one of the victims Baker mentioned to Mahony.

    Duran attended the Thursday news conference with his attorneys to comment on the settlement. Attorney John Manly referred to priest abuse as a "cancer."

    "My faith has been shattered," Duran said Thursday.

    In 2007, Baker was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison. He was released in 2011 for time served and good behavior.

    In his 26-year career, Baker is alleged to have molested more than 20 children.