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Los Angeles cardinal apologizes over sex abuse cases

LONG BEACH, California (CNN) -- In an address to more than 100 ordained priests and deacons, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, head of the Los Angeles archdiocese, apologized to parishioners Monday over recent revelations of sexual abuse in the nation's Catholic churches.

Mahoney promised to combat allegations of sexual abuse and remove anyone accused of impropriety in the archdiocese's 287 parishes. Mahoney, saying he was "outraged and found it incomprehensible" that priests would harm children, vowed to enforce a zero-tolerance policy of sexual abuse in the clergy.

"We will not knowingly place in any kind of pastoral assignment, ministry or apostolate, any priest, deacon or lay person who has been determined to be guilty of the sexual abuse of minors," Mahoney said.

The cardinal announced that the archdiocese of Los Angeles -- the nation's largest -- and law enforcement authorities are investigating new allegations of sexual abuse by priests who have since been dismissed or who had been convicted of sexual molestation years ago.

"These are old cases, in most of the cases the police were involved with them years ago, some of them decades ago," Mahoney said.

The new allegations were made by people who came into contact with priests years before they were removed from the church, according to the cardinal, but the recent scandal has brought many of these new allegations to the attention of the church and law enforcement.

"These priests themselves have since retired and some of them have even publicly apologized in the past," Mahoney said, "but we have been very diligent about working with law enforcement about this."

Mahoney refused to disclose the names or number of priests under investigation. Mahoney acknowledged that law enforcement authorities are also investigating a current case of abuse in the ministry based on a recent anonymous call to the archdiocese, but he was unable to provide further details about the alleged case.




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