Hours after personnel files detailing years of alleged sexual abuse by Los Angeles priests were released Thursday, the Archbishop of Los Angeles apologized for priests' past abuse as he took action against two church leaders who were at the helm while the suspected abuse took place.
Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony will "no longer have any administrative or public duties," and his former Vicar of Clergy Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry will resign as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara, Archbishop José H. Gomez said in a statement released Thursday evening.
Mahoney and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to the church personnel files.
As Vicar for Clergy, Curry was responsible for "promoting the spiritual and physical well-being" for all priests and deacons in the archdiocese, including those who were inactive, sick or on leave, according to the archdiocese’s website. He also doled out assignments for priests and deacons.
Gomez, who succeded Mahony as leader of the church in Los Angeles, went on to say that reading through the nearly 12,000 pages of allegations "has been the saddest experience I’ve had since becoming" Archbishop in 2011.
"The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil," he said in a statement. "There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed."
He reassured LA faithful that the church will "immediately report every credible allegation of abuse" and offered support to the priests' victims.
"To every victim of child sexual abuse by a member of our Church: I want to help you in your healing. I am profoundly sorry for these sins against you," he said.
The files were ordered to be released Thursday with the names of priests included, ending years of legal wrangling over whether the names should be redacted from the paperwork.
Attorneys for alleged victims will have the files no later than Feb. 22, according to an order by LA Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias. The archdiocese released the files online Thursday, nearly six years after it agreed to do so in a court settlement with 508 survivors victimized in their youth.
"The 2013 public release of the files of clergy who were subject of the 2007 global settlement concludes a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our local church," according to a diocese statement announcing the release of the files.
"In the 2004 Report to the People of God and elsewhere, the archdiocese acknowledged and apologized for failing to treat victims of abuse with compassion, as well as for employing what we now know to be inadequate standards for treatment and supervision of priests who were found to have abused children and young people."
According to the diocese's website, 124 files were released, with 82 containing information on allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The remaining files contain "proffers," which are summaries compiled in anticipation of litigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.