Source: Reagan Babe
More than eight years ago in 2010, Kamala Harris, then-San Francisco District Attorney, was running for California Attorney General. And for some reason, her record of covering up sex abuse records belonging to the San Francisco Archdiocese was never part of the political news of her record. Today, Harris is a United States Senator, with an eye for running for President in 2020.
She was San Francisco District Attorney from 2003 until her election in 2010 to State Attorney General.
Reporter Matt Smith at San Francisco Weekly reported in 2010 that Harris rebuffed reporters’ efforts for five years to view her office’s files on Catholic clergy sex abuse under the state Public Records Act, despite statements by former San Francisco DA Terence Hallinan saying they should be released.
The files in question involve the San Francisco Archdiocese files on clergy abuse, and contain details of how the church dealt internally with alleged pederast, homosexual and pedophile priests going back as far as 80 years, according to a second SF Weekly article. Cardinal William Levada was archbishop of San Francisco until 2005.
Matt Smith reported:
Portions of this record came to light in stories by then–SF Weekly staff writer Ron Russell in 2005 and in a May 5 story in The New York Times that recounted elements of Russell’s reporting. By sifting through documents made public as a result of lawsuits, Russell learned that during the 1990s and 2000s, Levada helped keep allegations against pedophile priests shrouded in secrecy. Alleged abusers included Salesian Brother Salvatore Billante, who police alleged had sexual relations with at least 24 children, but charges were dropped after the California Supreme Court overturned a state law extending the statute of limitations for pedophiles. And so the full contents of archdiocese clergy abuse files obtained by prosecutors were never revealed at trial.
Relatively unscathed by his San Francisco legacy, now-Cardinal Levada is the chief Vatican official charged with responding to global allegations of clergy abuse.
In response to Smith’s Public Records Request, Harris’s office said her investigative files were not subject to California’s Public Records Act, and claimed her office essentially enjoys a blanket secrecy privilege.
Smith sent Harris’ response to California Newspaper Publishers Association legal counsel Jim Ewert. “That’s flatly untrue,” Ewert said. The District Attorney’s office “can release them if they want to. But they have decided not to.”
As of 2010, the Archdiocese of San Francisco settled 101 abuse cases and paid $68 million in settlements since 2003, the New York Times reported.
Image Credit: New York Magazine