March 4th, 2011
The New York Times
By: Jennifer Medina
A priest accused of having a long-term sexual relationship with a teenage girl, writing her decades later to ask for forgiveness and declare that he was a sex addict, is being removed from ministry in a parish, and the diocese’s vicar of clergy has also resigned, officials of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles said Friday.
The priest, the Rev. Martin P. O’Loghlen, was once a leader in his religious order and was appointed to an archdiocesan sexual abuse advisory board, although officials at both the order and the archdiocese knew at the time about his admission of sexual abuse and addiction. He served on the board, which was meant to review accusations of abuse by priests, for at least two years in the late 1990s, according to church and legal documents.
Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said church officials planned to announce the removal of Father O’Loghlen from his current parish in San Dimas on Sunday. Church officials decided to act after being contacted by a reporter about the priest’s history of sexual abuse.
Mr. Tamberg said in a statement that officials of the priest’s religious order assured the archdiocese in 2009 that Father O’Loghlen was fit for the ministry. He said that the archdiocese’s vicar for clergy, Msgr. Michael Meyers, resigned on Friday. Monsignor Meyers had been in the position since July 2009 and it was his job to grant clergymen what are known as faculties to serve as priests.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese, led by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, has been rocked by sexual abuse accusations for years. In 2007, it agreed to a $660 million settlement with 508 people who said that priests had sexually abused them as children.
“The failure to fully check records before granting priestly faculties is a violation of archdiocesan policy,” Cardinal Mahony said in a statement. “We owe it to victims and to all our faithful to make absolutely certain that all of our child protection policies and procedures are scrupulously followed.”
Father O’Loghlen had sex on several occasions with Julie Malcolm in the 1960s while she was a student at Bishop Amat High School in nearby La Puente, Ms. Malcolm said. Nearly three decades after the abuse ended, Father O’Loghlen tried to reach Ms. Malcolm, who was then living in Phoenix.
After receiving several phone messages from Father O’Loghlen, Ms. Malcolm filed a complaint with the Diocese of Phoenix and later filed a lawsuit against the priest and his religious order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In 1999, she settled the lawsuit for $100,000, Ms. Malcolm said.
“I am deeply sorry for our becoming involved and readily accept the fact that I was the responsible one in our relationship,” Father O’Loghlen said in a five-page handwritten letter dated June 23, 1996. “Clearly, I was the one in power position. If I had not made a move nothing would have happened between us. I sincerely hope that there were some moments of joy for you in our relationship, but ultimately it caused you much significant pain.”
Father O’Loghlen goes on to say that since Ms. Malcolm filed her complaint, he has undergone psychological evaluations, which determined that he is “not a pedophile” or a “sexual predator.” But, he adds, “I do have a sexual addiction.”
Copies of the letter and other documents were provided to The New York Times by Joelle Casteix, the southwest director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who had received them from Ms. Malcolm.
Father O’Loghlen, 74, was ordained in Ireland in 1961. He began teaching at Bishop Amat later that year and remained there for six years. In 1967, around the same time of his involvement with Ms. Malcolm, he moved to Damien High School, a boys’ school nearby, where he was vice principal and principal for more than 10 years.
In 1995, Father O’Loghlen became the provincial leader in the western region for the religious order of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. After he contacted Ms. Malcolm in 1996, leaders in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and officials with the religious order based in Rome exchanged several letters.
According to copies of those letters, Father O’Loghlen admitted to molesting Ms. Malcolm and told his superiors that he was undergoing counseling. Msgr. Richard Loomis, then the vicar for clergy in Los Angeles, told officials in Rome that he would not remove Father O’Loghlen from the archdiocese but that his service should be limited.