April 22nd, 2010
01:06 AM ET

Suit alleges Catholic officials covered up abuse

A Mexican citizen who says he was sexually abused by a priest as a child is suing the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Los Angeles and Mexico's top-ranking Catholic cleric, alleging they aided and abetted the abuse by moving the priest between dioceses as allegations piled up against him.

The suit does not name the alleged victim, identifying him only as a Mexican citizen. It alleges that Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera knew the priest - identified in the suit as Nicholas Aguilar Rivera - was abusive but authorized him to move back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. and to continue serving in parishes.

The priest, a Mexican, faces dozens of accusations of sex abuse and was defrocked by the Vatican last year, according to various media reports and to the law firm that filed the suit. The church has not commented on Aguilar's status, but it has not countered reports that he was defrocked.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles' federal court, says that the anonymous plaintiff was sexually abused by Aguilar when he was about 13 years old.

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