AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week But critics who have been following the case called the release of the summaries a “public relations ploy” designed to move 560 sex abuse cases closer to a settlement before damaging testimony in the upcoming sex abuse trial of former priest Michael Wempe and the possible release of personnel files to the Los Angeles County district attorney, who is investigating clergy abuse in the nation’s largest archdiocese. The state’s 2nd District Court of Appeals recently rejected the archdiocese’s attempt to keep those files from prosecutors. The archdiocese has appealed to the state Supreme Court and expects to learn within weeks if the high court will hear its case. “The question for the archdiocese is not money because the archdiocese has enough,” said Richard Sipe, an expert witness in some clergy abuse cases and a former Benedictine monk and author. “The question is the documents, and the truth that’s in the documents that may very well send some archdiocesan officials to face indictment.” Among those priests accused, 28 have ties to churches in the East San Gabriel Valley dating to 1931. Of those, 15 have been accused only once. Some charges were determined to be unfounded, and some priests have died or retired. In the case of the Rev. Theodore Llanos, previously with St. Louise de Marillac in Covina and Church of the Epiphany in South El Monte, criminal charges were filed twice and then dismissed. Llanos, who committed suicide Dec. 30, 1996, had 21 complaints filed against him, according to the diocese files. Pat Balog, a parishioner who came to St. Louise’s after Llanos, said she prays for the accused priests every night. “I pray that they will do God’s will and not their own,” Balog said. Jorge Rosales, a member of St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Azusa where the pastor was removed in March 2002 because of allegations of sex with a minor, doesn’t think the church should be investigating itself. No charges have been filed against the pastor. Rosales emigrated from Mexico where people didn’t talk about sexual abuse. “No one ever spoke bad about a priest. No one would have believed them in the earlier years,” Rosales said. District Attorney Steve Cooley did not address the latest document release in the civil cases, but said in a statement issued Wednesday that his office was “looking for … evidence and investigative leads, not institutional mea culpas” from Cardinal Roger Mahony, head of the archdiocese. The clergy abuse litigation in Los Angeles is the largest such litigation that remains unsettled nationwide — and that, too, increases pressure on Mahony and the archdiocese, said Marci Hamilton, a professor at Cardozo Law School at New York City’s Yeshiva University who consults with plaintiffs on constitutional law. “The handwriting is on the wall. I think what’s going on is the Los Angeles Archdiocese knows that it’s either settlement or very extensive trials with extensive damages,” she said. “They’re trying to manage the crisis by releasing these descriptions. Then they have deflated some of the news coverage at that point.” Hennigan said the church released the documents in good faith and said suggestions to the contrary were “nonsense.” He said the church fully expects to go to trial in several cases before the archdiocese’s 12 insurers agree to a global settlement that some attorneys have speculated could be worth upward of $500 million. Hennigan said attorneys were working with the courts to identify nine cases that will go to trial within the next 12 months. “I am totally committed to settlement but we believe at this point we may need some trials and the rush of preparation for trial to get there,” he said. “We will need their enthusiastic participation and so far that enthusiasm has not been as strong as we would like it to be.” The papers released Wednesday summarize confidential personnel files but do not go into some of the wrenching detail that other dioceses — notably Boston, where Cardinal Bernard Law was shamed into resignation — were forced to make public. A total of 245 priests have been accused of abuse in Los Angeles, Hennigan said, and about 30 remain in the ministry because the allegations against them weren’t credible. The documents cover cases dating to the 1960s, including allegations that the archdiocese allowed at least eight priests to remain in contact with children after receiving complaints from concerned adults. — Staff Writer Marianne Love contributed to this story.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LOS ANGELES — Newly released documents detailing sex abuse allegations against Roman Catholic priests could help speed hundreds of lawsuits toward settlement as the Los Angeles Archdiocese faces potentially damaging developments on other fronts in the abuse crisis. The archdiocese posted summaries of the confidential files of 126 priests on its Web site at midnight Tuesday, even though they weren’t expected to be made public for several weeks. The archdiocese said it released the summaries to help victims heal and to make good on a deal made with plaintiffs during nearly three years of settlement talks. An appeals court ruling last month made it possible for the church to post the summaries, said Michael Hennigan, an archdiocesan attorney. “I think what we have here is a church that is embarrassed, that is contrite, that is ashamed of what happened in the past and is committed to reforming it to the extent that it is humanly possible to do so,” he said.