After Abuse Allegations, Priest Worked for School District

Joseph Pina was hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District after he resigned from his Catholic parish

By Sharon Bernstein and Patrick Healy
|  Monday, Feb 4, 2013  |  Updated 1:24 PM PDT
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After Abuse Allegations, Priest Worked for LAUSD

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A former Catholic priest who records show had been hospitalized for “sexual compulsive behavior” found a job with the Los Angeles Unified School District after he was accused of molestation at least twice, a spokesman for LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said Monday.

The priest, Joseph Pina, did not work with children in his position at the school district, spokesman Tom Waldman said.

Pina was hired in 2002 and laid off in 2012, Waldman said. The district learned of Pina's past last Thursday, when the former priest came forward and said his name would be among those released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in files about priests who had been accused of molesting children.

Pina's history was included in voluminous records about priests who had been accused of molesting children released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles last week.

It shows that Pina was hospitalized in 1994 after he was diagnosed with “sexual compulsive behavior,”

The records begin with a letter from the brother of an alleged victim, written in 1993 to Cardinal Roger Mahony, then head of the archdiocese.

“Several years ago my sister was molested, possibly raped by a Fr. Joseph D. Pina, pastor of St. Alphonsus Church,” the letter began.

“We opened our doors to Father Pina and were blind to any problems,” the girl’s father later said to church investigators. “He was just like a family member.”

The records also include disturbing transcripts of interviews with Pina.

“I remember one time when I got attracted to her,” read the notes of one psychological evaluation. “She was in the 8th grade. She was dressed as Snow White and it triggered some memories for me. I had a crush on Snow White, so I started to open myself up to her.”

Although the girl was just 13, the evaluation said, Pina thought that she viewed him as an equal. “It was very tender,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

It is not clear whether the school district could have known about Pina’s history when he was hired in 2002.

However, in a 2009 report to the Ventura County Grand Jury, which was investigating another allegation, the archdiocese specifically said that Pina was working with LAUSD.

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