Photographer's Note


(Continued from yesterday)

On July 16, 2007, after a weekend of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a public apology, Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese (California) appeared at the court to formalize a record $660 million legal settlement.

The settlement resolves the last of about 570 total claims of abuse against 221 priests, brothers, lay teachers and other church employees spanning the last 70 years. The deal has been the largest settlement by any Roman Catholic archdiocese to sex abuse victims in the United States. Abuse cases across the country have cost Roman Catholic churches around 2.1 billion dollars to date. Several priests have been convicted and at least four dioceses have gone bankrupt paying civil penalties. The Los Angeles church is expected to sell off assets from its estimated four billion dollar real estate holdings to pay for the settlement.

In the past, although Mahony has removed at least 17 priests from ministry over accusations of sexual abuse, his credibility has been called into question by cases like that of defrocked priest Michael Stephen Baker. In 1986, Baker told Mahony that he had abused two or three boys several years before. Instead of calling police, Mahony sent the priest to New Mexico for treatment and over the years reassigned him to nine different parishes, where he allegedly continued his sexual abuse of 23 boys and girls for more than a decade. Mahony later approved a secret $1.3-million payment to two men who said they had been abused by Father Michael Stephen Baker, from 1984 to 1999. The cardinal arranged for the priest to quietly retire from the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles in late 2000. With this action, Mahony had failed to ensure that Baker did not repeat his sexual offenses against children.

What remains is His Eminence’s puzzle has not been completely resolved.

Papal letter failed to stop priests from breaking clerical celibacy.

"Once again I apologize to anyone who has been offended,” said Mahony, “who's been abused by priests, by deacons, by religious men and women or by lay people ... It should not have happened and should not ever happen again."

Should not ever happen again
. But how to prevent it? After two decade involvement in the cover up and mismanagement of multiple incidents of pedophilia among his priests, the cardinal now has to find an effective way to deal with the priests who place sex above celibacy.

Here is the simple math:

The recent settlement involves the case of 221 priests, brothers, lay teachers and other church employees spanning the last 70 years.

Let’s say each year the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would spend for each of the individual mentioned above a month of vacation to Sway Pak, Cambodia:

- $50 Visa entry
- $1,200 air-ticket
- $6,000 cash for hotel, food, transportation and prostitute during 30 days ($200/day x 30)

*Cost for each person: $7,250/year
*Total cost for the entire group in 70 years: 7,250 x 221 persons x 70 years = US$112,157,500 (one sixth of the resettlement)

If the above simple plan is adopted, obviously His Eminence would save his time at court, his face in front of public as he is undergoing now, plus half billion.

Photo: A little girl crosses by the Mary Magdalene Church of Svay Pak red-light district, on her way to help her parent cultivating vegetables.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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