23 Aug 2014
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Defrocked Lynwood Pastor Worked For L.A. Schools

Joseph Pina, who in archdiocesan papers admitted to falling in love with an eighth-grade girl, has been working at the Los Angeles Unified School District, it was reported Sunday.

Defrocked Lynwood Pastor Worked For L.A. Schools

A former Lynwood pastor who in documents released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles admitted to a criminal relationship with a girl in one of his parishes until Saturday was employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Joseph Pina, 66, was working Saturday as a daily-hire event organizer for the facilities division of the LAUSD, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Pina reportedly organized the ribbon-cutting for a new LAUSD education center in Bell on Saturday, just two days after his name surfaced in the files of 122 church priests who may have had sexually abused children over past decades.

In documents released Friday, Pina is quoted as saying that he had fallen in love with the young girl when he saw her in a Snow White costume and it "triggered" something in him.

During his tenure as a priest in various Los Angeles County parishes, Pina received counseling, then in-patient treament, in the sex offender unit of a hospital, for "psychosexual disorder with addictive and exploitive features," the documents state.

That was when he resigned as a priest, in 1998.

According to The Times, Pina had retired from a full-time job last year but was working as a temporary hire, the newspaper reported on its website.

Superintendent John Deasy said he would investigate how Pina was hired as a staff worker after being fired by the Catholic Church's Los Angeles Archdiocese, the newspaper reported.

"And I also want to understand what knowledge that we had of any background problems when hiring him, and I don't know that yet,'' Deasy was quoted in The Times.

One item of criticism directed at the church was that its refusal to prosecute sexual predators allowed the men to get jobs at other institutions.

But today's report gave no indication that Pina had worked with any children in his LAUSD administrative job.

The news came as priests at the Archdiocese's 288 parish churches read a letter of apology from the new Archbishop, Jose Gomez.

The archbishop's message said he found the records of 122 complaints of sexually-abusive priests to be "brutal and painful reading.''

"The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil,'' the archbishop's letter, released Thursday, said.

Former Cardinal Roger Mahony, a member of that North Hollywood parish, was not at the early-morning service at his church.

Mahony was publicly rebuked Thursday by Gomez, who replaced Mahony at the head of the church in 2011.

Mahony fired back with a letter to Gomez that said the archdiocese that Gomez inherited from Mahony was aggressively combating sexual offenses within its ranks.

However, an exhaustive reading of the documents released by the church indicate that Mahony repeatedly signed off on counseling for his errant priests, rather than prosecution.

The letters were described as an unprecedented public dispute in the highest ranks of Catholic Church leaders.

Documents also indicate that the archdiocese helped pay for attorneys hired by some of the priests accused.

--City News Service contributed to this report.

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