The revelations were contained in thousands of pages of documents released Monday by the attorney for a man who claims he was abused by a priest and has filed suit against the church. The flood of records from the personnel files for 14 priests reveal publicly for the first time how the Catholic Church handled abuse allegations, and the elaborate strategies for keeping molestation secret.
The files of about 75 additional priests are slated to become public in the next few weeks under the terms of a 2007 settlement with more than 500 victims, who received a record payout of $660 million.
A lawyer for about 30 of the priests fought to keep the records sealed, but a judge recently ordered their release without redacting the names of church leaders.
"The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will review and evaluate all documents as they become available to us," said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
J. Michael Hennigan, an attorney for the archdiocese, said the church hopes to release the documents within the next two weeks.
"We are accelerating this as fast as we can," he said.
In 2007, when the settlement was announced and officials thought the release of personnel files was imminent, then-District Attorney Steve Cooley vowed to pursue criminal charges against anyone implicated by their contents.
"(The) massive civil settlement highlights the institutional moral failure of the archdiocese to supervise predatory priests who operated for years under its jurisdiction," he said at the time.
"If these documents reveal evidence of criminal activity on behalf of individual priests or anyone else, we will pursue them. The book is not closed on our investigation."
Many of the documents released Monday involve correspondence between Mahony, who retired as archbishop in 2011, and his vicar of clergy, then Msgr. Thomas Curry, who now is the bishop of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region.
Mahony issued a statement Monday, in which he apologized to victims for mishandling their cases.
Curry issued his own apology today "for those instances when I made decisions regarding the treatment and disposition of clergy accused of sexual abuse that in retrospect appear inadequate or mistaken.
"Most especially," he wrote, "I wish to express my sympathy to all the victims of sexual abuse by clergy."
Also Tuesday, victims of sexual abuse by priests demanded that Mahony and other high-ranking officials be publicly admonished for trying to cover-up clergy molestations.
"He personally managed the careers of predator priests. And he and other high-ranking members of the archdiocese, including now-Bishop Curry, worked diligently to ensure that men who hurt children, who abused children and who destroyed communities were never going to see a day behind bars," said Joelle Casteix of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP,
"We were shocked and disgusted to see these documents.
The archdiocese responded with a statement noting changes in how the church handles complaints of suspected sex abuse.
"No institution has learned more from mistakes made decades ago in dealing with priests who have abused young people than the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We have apologized for the sad and shameful actions of some priests, as well as for our inadequate responses in assisting victims and in dealing with perpetrators."