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Police to review Los Angeles clergy abuse files
The statute of limitations on most crimes that would apply to the priest cases is three years under state law and five years under federal law.
Prosecutors could try to prove an ongoing conspiracy among members of the church hierarchy to cover up for abusive priests, but under federal law even that would require proof of criminal activity over a long period of time with one specific crime within the past five years.
Clergy were not mandated child abuse reporters until 1997, and by then, the archdiocese had implemented significant changes in how it dealt with reports of pedophile priests.
"Most of the documents that have been revealed are bad and show concealment, but they're really old," Lonergan said. "There's none that show this is going on within the past few years, in the late 2000s."
Prosecutors have previously investigated the archdiocese for its handling of sex abuse cases, but no criminal charges were ever filed against the hierarchy.
Also on Tuesday, a support group for clergy abuse victims called for the Los Angeles Unified School District to thoroughly investigate how the district hired a former priest who allegedly had a sexual relationship with a minor.
Joseph Pina, who was never convicted of a crime, was hired in 2002 as a community outreach coordinator for the district's school construction campaign, said Tom Waldman, the district's spokesman. The archdiocese told the Los Angeles Times it warned the district about Pina, but the LAUSD can't find any indication of that in its files, Waldman said Tuesday.
"Whether or not we called them as a reference, I don't know," he said.
The former priest worked with adults only, was never alone with children and wasn't the subject of any complaints during his time there, Waldman said.
Flaccus reported from Orange County.
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