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Child-Sex Protest In Cathedral

A PROTESTER claiming to be a victim of sex abuse in the Catholic Church was arrested after handcuffing himself to the chair of the Archbishop of Los Angeles during mass, officials said.
James Robertson, 58, was arrested on suspicion of disturbing a religious ceremony after attaching himself to Cardinal Roger Mahony's seat in Los Angeles's cathedral, according to Officer April Harding of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The incident took place as about 200 survivors of sex abuse by priests demonstrated outside the new $US189-million ($246 million) cathedral to protest against what they say is a cover-up by Cardinal Mahony of sex abuse crimes in the church.
Cardinal Mahony was standing about 4.5m away from his chair, which is next to the altar, when Mr Roberston rushed up and cuffed himself to the seat, archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg said.
"We placed security (staff) behind the man," but he was not taken into custody until after the service, Mr Tamberg said. "We didn't want to antagonise him."
The arrested man was one of the protesters attending the rally organised by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, but organisers said they had no idea he was going to cuff himself to Cardinal Mahony's chair.
Mr Tamberg said the church planned to press charges against the man.
SNAP protesters outside the cathedral wore sashes made of yellow crime-scene tape and placed life-size cardboard silhouettes of children's bodies on the pavement to represent "molestation victims who committed suicide," according to SNAP spokeswoman Mary Grant.
The demonstration, and similar ones outside local churches run by priests accused of sex abuse, were meant to raise public awareness of alleged crimes and to pressure the church into punishing the perpetrators and releasing documents related to the cases, Ms Grant said.
But Mr Tamberg said the "church has gone to great lengths these past several years both to ensure the safety of children and to work co-operatively with the courts and plaintiffs' attorneys to get them the information they need to verify their claims."
Los Angeles diocese is the second largest in the United States, where the Catholic Church has been rocked by a big child sex abuse scandal since early 2002.

The Australian (27-6-2005)




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