Church officials also reportedly discussed announcing Baker's abuse in churches where he had worked, but Mahony rejected the idea.
'We could open up another firestorm — and it takes us years to recover from those,' Mahony wrote in an October 6, 2000, memo. 'Is there no alternative to public announcements at all the Masses in 15 parishes??? Wow — that really scares the daylights out of me!!'
The aide, Monsignor Peter Garcia Richard Loomis, noted his dismay over how higher ups were handling the matter when he retired in 2001 as vicar for clergy, the top church official who handled priestly discipline. In a memo to his successor, Loomis said Baker's attorney disclosed the priest had at least 10 other victims.
'We've stepped back 20 years and are being driven by the need to cover-up and to keep the presbyteriate & public happily ignorant rather than the need to protect children,' Loomis wrote.
'The only other option is to sit and wait until another victim comes forward. Then someone else will end up owning the archdiocese of Los Angeles. The liability issues involved aside, I think that course of complete (in)action would be immoral and unethical.'
But Mahony preferred targeted warnings at schools and youth groups to a blanket warning read at Masses, Hennigan said. Parish announcements were only made two years later.
Baker was paroled in 2011 and is alleged to have molested 20 children in his 26-year career. The newly released files show that Mahony worked tirelessly to keep molester priests out of state to avoid criminal and civil consequences.