CATEGORIES Documentary, Independent, Lionsgate Films, Celebrities and Controversy, Politics, Oscar Watch, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinematical Indie, Toronto Film Festival, Movie News, Oscar News, CinematicalIn an announcement this morning, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who is featured prominently in Amy Berg's Oscar-shortlisted documentary Deliver Us From Evil, disclosed that the Los Angeles Archdiocese will pay out $60 million to abuse victims. Although $60 million seems like a huge sum, the payout only covers 45 victims - -just 8% of the 562 claims against the LA Archdiocese -- who will receive approximately $1.3 million each. Mahony was quote in a story in the Los Angeles Times as saying that $40 million of that total had been held back from last year, and that parishes will not feel the hit of the payout, but that there will be "more pain" as the rest of the claims are settled. The 45 claims in this settlement represent cases from prior to 1954 and after 1986, when the Archdiocese was uninsured or underinsured against claims. Mahony also said he offered his "personal apololgies" to victims in weekly meetings this fall, saying, "Not everyone is at a point of forgiveness on their part, but everyone needs an apology from me."
Not everyone is willing to accept that Mahony has suddenly had a change in heart around the issue of clergy sexual abuse. Barbara Dorris, spokesperson for the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, isn't buying Mahony's beneficence in the settlement. "Cardinal Mahony's goal has always been self-preservation. He desperately wants to avoid trials at which horrific and shocking secrets about the church cover-ups of child sexual abuse will be exposed. This settlement doesn't signal or suggest any change whatsoever in Mahony's M.O," Dorris said.
Mahony has been at the center of the maelstrom of controversy spurred in part by Deliver Us From Evil, which details, through interviews with O'Grady and adult survivors and their families, as well as videotaped depositions from Mahony and his assistants, Mahony's involvement in covering up O'Grady's pedophilia and moving him around from parish to parish when details of him abusing new victims would come to light. Mahony has fought hard to keep his personal documents from coming to light. In Boston last year, Cardinal Bernard Law was forced to resign after a court ordered him to turn over thousands of pages of files that documented his role in covering up abuse by priests in that Archdiocese.
We've been following this story with interest, because it's not every day that a film and a filmmaker have the impact that Deliver Us from Evil has had. Mahony directly supervised priest Oliver O'Grady, who molested and raped hundreds of young children in his parishes, from 1980-1985 -- a period not covered by the settlement, which might explain why the Los Angeles Times story failed to mention the film and its role in bringing Mahony's actions to light. We wrote back in October about the film stirring the interest of the target crimes division in Los Angeles as to "whether Cardinal Mahony and others engaged in criminal activity." I can't think of any other documentary in recent memory that's had the direct impact of Deliver Us from Evil -- can you?
More on Deliver Us From Evil:
Deliver Us From Evil Stirs Prosecutor's Interest in Mahony
Lionsgate Picks Up Deliver Us From Evil
TIFF Video Interview: James Rocchi Interviews Amy Berg
TIFF Review: Deliver Us From Evil