The Los Angeles Diocese has agreed to settle sex abuse claims filed by 17 victims for $13 million just before the trial of father Nicolas Aguilar Rivera was scheduled to begin. Santa Barbara’s former auxiliary bishop Thomas Curry, who has been accused of “thwarting” the police investigation of the crimes at the time they were first reported in the late 1980s, was slated to appear as witness in that trial, as was former Cardinal Roger Mahony.
According to church and police documents, Curry — at that time Mahony’s right-hand man — met with the accused priest after two families complained to him. Curry notified Aguilar the police had been alerted and “that he was in a good deal of danger.” Aguilar said he would return to Mexico — where he was from — and Curry made no effort to dissuade him or alert authorities. Later, Mahony would insist the archdiocese did everything within its powers to get Aguilar to return to face his charges.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have argued that Mahony and Curry had to have known Aguilar had a history of pedophilia given the coded warnings made by Aguilar’s superior’s in Mexico at the time he transferred to Los Angeles.