RI records show inner workings of Legion of Christ

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2013 at 1:56 am •  Published: February 15, 2013
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"We only ask God for what we need," Maciel said, according to her testimony.

She replied, "'And the angel Gabriel came down from heaven.' My name is Gabrielle."

She said she was never directly asked for money but it was "understood" that she'd help whenever the Legion needed it.

"When I, through the grapevine, hear that something is going on and they know it, it's understood if I can help, I'd be very glad to," she said. "Because I have total confidence, you see. Whatever they do is part of my life."

In other documents released Friday, the Rev. Luis Garza, the former No. 2 of the Legion, details for the first time how he confronted Maciel's mistress and daughter, starting in October 2006, after he became suspicious while visiting Maciel in a Jacksonville, Fla., hotel that June and seeing the two women there.

Both women confirmed Maciel's paternity, and Garza said he obtained the daughter's birth certificate as proof — listing the father as Jose Rivas. Later, it was revealed that Maciel used the same pseudonym with his other hidden family, a Mexican woman with whom he had two sons.

Yet Garza said he never confronted Maciel about his double life and didn't think it was necessary to share the news with the broader membership of the Legion or its lay movement Regnum Christi. He said he only told the Legion's superior and two other priests.

"I didn't think at the time that the fact that fathering a child would change in any way the way we needed to behave vis-a-vis Father Maciel or the actions that we needed to do," Garza said in the 2011 deposition. "Because we needed to comply with indications of the Holy See and also because there was an issue of privacy and respect for the mother and the daughter."

The Legion didn't acknowledge Maciel's children or the sexual abuse allegations against him until February 2009, about a year after he died.

Bernard Jackvony, the lawyer for Mee's niece, said taken as a whole, the depositions expose how the Legion knew by 2004 that the Vatican was investigating Maciel for sexual abuse and by 2006 that he had a daughter yet kept the information private. He argued that Mee never would have given the Legion her money had she known of Maciel's true nature.

"In terms of fraud, when you withhold information from people, that's the same as if you said something to them that's not true," he said.

Garza also confirmed he was a member of a committee of three Legion priests who met annually to decide how to distribute funds from Mee's trusts.

A Superior Court judge ruled in September that Mee's niece, Dauray, couldn't sue, but he noted there was evidence that Mee had been unduly persuaded to change her trusts and will.

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Winfield reported from Rome. Contributing to this report are Associated Press writers Matt Brown in Billings, Mont., Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia and Chris Sherman in McAllen, Texas, and AP Projects Editor Brooke Lansdale in New York.

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