LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A United States Catholic cardinal stripped of his duties said on Friday he did not know how to handle sex abuse claims, as he had not learned about it at college - drawing withering criticism from victims.
Retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote on his blog that he was not taught about child sexual abuse, a day after was relieved of all administrative and public duties" by the current archbishop of LA.
On Thursday the LA archdiocese also released files on more than 100 clerics, as required under a 2007 lawsuit deal over alleged sex abuse.
"Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem," Mahony wrote, in an open letter to LA Archbishop Jose Gomez, who succeeded Mahony in 2011.
"In two years (1962-1964) spent in graduate school earning a Masters Degree in Social Work, no textbook and no lecture ever referred to the sexual abuse of children," he said.
"While there was some information dealing with child neglect, sexual abuse was never discussed." But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) immediately dismissed the letter.
"Vindictive victims, greedy lawyers, salacious reporters, inept therapists, unfair laws - these are among the many targets of (Mahony's) favorite hobby, blaming others for (the) ongoing clergy sex crimes and cover up.
"Today, he's added another culprit: his allegedly poor education.
"This may well be Mahony's wildest claim yet. Even grade school drop outs know that laws prohibit child sex crimes and that when we know about or suspect child sex crimes, we are supposed to call the police. Period.
"When Mahony was in school, there was probably no mention of gang rape or identity theft or child porn either. So because Mahony took no course in these crimes, it's OK if he enables and conceals them?" On Thursday, Archbishop Gomez announced the measures against Mahony, and that Mahony's former top adviser on sex-abuse issues, Thomas Curry, had stepped down as a regional bishop.
The archdiocese reached a US$660 million (S$817.9 million) settlement with about 500 alleged victims in 2007. As part of that deal, the archdiocese agreed to release the personnel files of clergy accused of abuse.