200 Priests Accused of Abuse Hiding in CA

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 15, 2012 9:01 AM

Ray Boucher believes 60 California communities are unknowingly harboring Catholic priests suspected of sexually abusing children. These suspected abusers -- about 200 of them -- live near schools and playgrounds without oversight from authorities.

This is because the priests are not sex offenders. Though they have never been convicted, some have admitted to sexually abusing children. And Boucher claims the Church is hiding them anyway.

Boucher is an attorney who represents hundreds of plaintiffs suing the L.A. Archdiocese, explains MSNBC. Though he won a $660 million settlement in 2007, he believes the Archdiocese is not living up to the agreement.

The terms of the settlement required the Catholic Church to make priest personnel files available to the courts. A judge would then decide which files -- and names -- would be released to the public. Victims and prosecutors could then decide how to move forward.

The Church has stood in the way of this process, according to Ray Boucher. He claims church officials have helped accused priests flee the country and have hidden them in rehab facilities while the statute of limitations for prosecution runs out.

He's pinpointed located 200 such priests in 60 California neighborhoods.

Whether this is true is up for debate, and is something the judge will have to decide. Hiding abusive priests could violate the settlement agreement, which is subject to court oversight. It could also be considered obstruction of justice.

But until Ray Boucher provides concrete evidence of a cover-up, these are only allegations.

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