LOS ANGELES — When the Rev. John Anthony Salazar arrived in Tulia, Texas, in 1991, he was warmly welcomed by the Roman Catholic community in the Texas Panhandle. What his new parishioners didn’t know was that he had been hired out of a treatment program for pedophile priests.
Salazar had been convicted for child molestation and banned from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for life.
Over the next 11 years, Salazar would be accused of abusing four more children and young men in Texas. Today he awaits trial on one molestation charge, while his accusers and former followers seek a way to move forward.
Many details of Salazar’s past are contained in a confidential personnel file that was among 120 such files the Archdiocese of Los Angeles made public this year after a legal battle with abuse victims. But those records tell only part of the story.
On Tuesday, attorneys return to court to argue over the release of records for about 80 priests, including Salazar, who belonged to Roman Catholic religious orders that kept their own personnel files on accused clergymen.
The hearing will address in what form and when those files will be made public, and involves orders such as the Jesuits, Salesians, Vincentians, and Dominicans.
The documents are critical to understanding the full scope of the clergy abuse scandal, said Ray Boucher, who represents Los Angeles-area victims.