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Priest files could show LA cover-up

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - Updated: 5:32 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Prosecutors who have been stymied for years in their attempts to build a criminal conspiracy case against retired Los Angeles Archdiocese Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church leaders said Tuesday they will review newly released internal priest files for additional evidence.

"The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office will review and evaluate all documents as they become available to us," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said in a brief statement. She declined to comment further.

Thousands of pages from the internal disciplinary files of 14 priests made public Monday show Mahony and other top aides maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark.

Some of the documents provide the strongest evidence to date that Mahony and a top aide worked to protect a priest who acknowledged in therapy to raping an 11-year-old boy and abusing up to 17 children, many of them the children of illegal immigrants.

Legal experts who have followed the case, however, said even if the documents contain new proof of conspiracy or obstruction of justice, it will be almost impossible to prosecute because of problems with the statute of limitations. It's also unclear whether prosecutors, who received some documents via subpoena years ago, already have seen some or all of the files made public Monday.

GOP lawmakers seek new abortion limits

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Abortion opponents marked the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision Tuesday with workshops, prayers and calls for more limits on the rights established by the Supreme Court in the landmark ruling that still defines one of the nation's most intractable debates.

Many in the anti-abortion movement looked to Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a series of tough anti-abortion measures during his first two years in office. Other states with GOP governors and Republican-controlled legislatures have taken similar steps.

"There's joy in what you're doing and keep it up," Brownback urged hundreds of fellow abortion opponents at a rally outside the Kansas Statehouse. "Keep marching. Keep moving."

Abortion-rights groups observed a quieter anniversary -- a possible reflection of the reality that it's far rarer for lawmakers to expand access to abortion. The National Organization for Women planned a candlelight vigil at the Supreme Court to commemorate the 1973 decision, which created a constitutional right to abortions in some circumstances and prevented states from banning the practice.

President Barack Obama issued a statement reaffirming the decision's commitment to "reproductive freedom" and the principle that "government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care."

Obama wouldn't stop 3-month debt bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says it won't oppose a House Republican proposal to increase the nation's $16.4 trillion borrowing authority for only three months, even though President Barack last week decried such short-term measures as harmful to the economy.

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a statement Tuesday saying the GOP measure "introduces unnecessary complications, needlessly perpetuating uncertainty in the nation's fiscal system."

But it says the administration is encouraged because Republicans backed off their insistence of one dollar of spending cuts for every dollar of increase in the debt ceiling.

Exit polls: Netanyahu, hard-line allies win

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party emerged as the largest faction in a hotly contested parliamentary election on Tuesday, positioning the hard-liner to serve a new term as prime minister, according to exit polls. But a lackluster performance by Likud, along with surprising gains by a centrist newcomer, raised the strong possibility that he will be forced to form a broad coalition.

The exit polls aired on Israel's three major TV stations all forecast Likud along with its traditional hardline and religious allies, capturing a shaky majority of just 61 or 62 seats in the 120-member parliament. With official results trickling in throughout the night, it was possible that the two sides could end in deadlock.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said he would reach across the aisle and try to form a broad-based coalition.

"According to the exit polls, it is clear that Israel citizens decided that they want me to continue to serve as prime minister of Israel, and that I form the widest possible majority (coalition)," he said. "Already this evening I will begin working toward the widest possible government."

Probe ongoing into Warren Jeffs' sect

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says there is an ongoing criminal investigation into a polygamous sect along the Utah-Arizona border.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' leader, Warren Jeffs, is jailed in Texas for life after being convicted of sexually assaulting two of his underage brides.

A 26-year-old woman who claims Jeffs forced her into marriage at age 14 has now fled the group. She says she and her six children were held against their will for years.

Horne says her allegations of forced underage sex, among other things, are part of the ongoing case, but he declined to provide details.

Jeffs was convicted in Texas after similar allegations were leveled against him and others following a 2008 raid on an FLDS ranch in Texas.

     

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