Nation & World Briefs Los Angeles police looking for crimes in clergy abuse files


LOS ANGELES -- Police were scanning the personnel files of abusive priests to see if leaders of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles committed crimes including failure to report child abuse, authorities said.

Investigators will focus on the cases of about a dozen previously investigated priests and audit past probes to make sure nothing was missed, Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Tuesday. The department will also look at the files for all 122 priests made public Thursday by court order after priests fought for five years to keep them sealed.

Thousands of pages of confidential files kept by the archdiocese on priests accused of molesting children show how retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top archdiocese officials protected the church by shielding priests and not reporting child sex abuse to authorities.

"Now what's being alleged is a failure to report, those kinds of things, so there's a new emphasis -- it's not just the person that's accused of the behavior," said Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who heads the detective bureau. "We're taking a fresh look on cases we've already handled to make sure we don't have reporting issues that got past."

Michael Hennigan, an archdiocese attorney, declined to comment Tuesday.

Mahony, who retired in 2011 as head of the nation's largest diocese, was publicly rebuked Thursday by his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez.

The same day, Bishop Thomas Curry, a top Mahony aide who made critical decisions on abusive priests, requested to resign from his post as an auxiliary bishop in charge of the archdiocese's Santa Barbara region.

Both Mahony and Curry have publicly apologized for their dealings with pedophile priests.

Could be up for vote today: The Boy Scouts of America's policy excluding gay members and leaders could be up for a vote as soon as today, when the organization's national executive board meets behind closed doors in Irving, Texas, under intense pressure from several sides. BSA announced last week it was considering allowing troops to decide whether to allow gay membership.

CIA operates drone base in Saudi Arabia: The CIA conducts lethal drone strikes against al-Qaida militants inside Yemen from a remote base in Saudi Arabia, including the strike that killed the U.S.-born al-Qaida operative Anwar al-Awlaki. The location of the base was first disclosed by the New York Times online Tuesday night. Associated Press first reported the construction of the base in June 2011 but withheld the exact location at the request of senior administration officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because portions of the military and CIA missions in Yemen are classified. Any operation by U.S. military or intelligence officials inside Saudi Arabia is politically and religiously sensitive. Al-Qaida and other militant groups have used the Gulf kingdom's close working relationship with U.S. counterterrorism officials to stir internal dissent against the Saudi regime.

Graham: Hagel "seems clueless" on Iran: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday Chuck Hagel "seems clueless" on U.S. policy toward Iran and he urged the Obama administration to reconsider its defense secretary nominee. In a statement, the South Carolina lawmaker stopped short of saying he would filibuster the choice if the president pushes forward as expected. No Democrat has come out in opposition to Hagel and he picked up more support on Tuesday as Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., announced that after meeting with Hagel, that she would vote for the former two-term Republican senator and decorated Vietnam combat veteran.

To be honored with medals: Presidential medals will be awarded posthumously to the six people who died protecting children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, officials said Tuesday. The principal, school psychologist and four teachers who were killed in the Dec. 14 massacre will be among the recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, according to a White House official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the honorees have not been officially announced. The staff members slain inside the Newtown, Conn. school have been credited with protecting the students when a gunman attacked the building. Some rushed toward the gunman while others used their bodies to shield children from gunfire.

Propose limiting use of drones: Lawmakers in at least 11 states are looking at plans to restrict the use of drones over their skies amid concerns the unmanned aerial vehicles could be exploited to spy on Americans. The American Civil Liberties Union said state legislators are proposing various restrictions on the new technology. The Montana Senate looked at two bills Tuesday that hinder the use of drones, most often associated with overseas wars. The chamber is preparing to give initial approval to one bill that bans information collected by drones from being used in court. It also would bar local and state government ownership of drones equipped with weapons. The 10 other states with active legislation are California, Oregon, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, Florida, Virginia, Maine and Oklahoma.

Flint closing Delphi plant: Delphi Automotive says a plant in Flint with about 327 employees that makes instrument systems for General Motors Co. trucks and vans will close. The United Auto Workers union says production is moving to Mexico. Delphi vice president Lindsey Williams tells ( ) that the plant formerly known as the Delphi Flint East will cease operations in November. Williams says the plant remained open under a 2007 agreement among GM, its former parts-making subsidiary Delphi and the UAW. Williams said the deal originally expired in September 2011 but was extended. The plant makes instrument clusters used in GM vehicles such as pickup trucks, SUVs and large vans.

Seeking masked attackers: Authorities have information they hope will lead them to the gang of armed, masked men who raped six Spanish tourists in the Mexican resort of Acapulco, the attorney general in the southern state of Guerrero said.

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