Disgraced: Former L.A. Catholic Priest Involved in Sexual Misconduct Went to Work at LAUSD
BURBANK, CA -- February 2, 2013--KCETLink's award winninghard-hitting award-winning nightly new program SoCal Connected revealstonight that Joseph D. Pina, who was a Catholic priest for 26 years in SouthernCalifornia until he left the church after repeated admissions of a sexual
relationship with a minor, later went to work at Los Angeles Unified School District
(LAUSD). According to recently
released church documents, The Los Angeles Archdiocese was aware as early as
2009 that Pina was working for LAUSD, despite his extensive record of
sexual misconduct as a Catholic Priest. It's unclear if church leaders informed
the district of Pina's past.
Pina, whose last assignment was at St. Emydius Church inLynnwood, resigned from the priesthood in March 1998. A review of the
LAUSD website shows Pina has worked as a community organizer for the school
district as early as February 2002.
In an email to SoCal Connected LAUSD Director of
Communications, Thomas Waldman, confirms former priest Joseph Pina is "the
same Joseph Pina" who has been working at the district. Waldman did not have
employment dates or Pina's current employment status. As a community organizer
at LAUSD he organized and attended dozens of community outreach events
through the city.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, for a new
occupational center in Bell, an event Pina reportedly organized for the
district, a man told SoCal Connected that he worked with Pina who served
"as community rep for this project." When asked if he was aware Pina was a former priest involved in a sexual
misconduct case with a minor, the man, who declined to give his name, said he
didn't know the personal life of Joe 'at all.' Afterwards he shrugged his
shoulder and said he had no further comment.
Tiffany Mansour, who was helping community
organizers at the Bell event, reviewed a website photo SoCal Connected
show her and recognized Pina as an LAUSD employee who has worked with her
mother for a number of years. She recalled Pina used to be a priest, but was "shocked" to learn that he has been
involved in a sexual abuse case.
It is not known whether LAUSD knew anything of Pina's
background when he was hired. In Waldman's email to SoCal Connected
he said he "has no information of any conversation between the Church and LAUSD
regarding Mr. Pina's past in the priesthood."
Calls to the Church's public information officer were not
returned at press time." SoCal Connected also made numerous attempts to
locate Pina, but neighbors told us he didn't come home Friday night, and they
had not seen him.
The once-confidential church documents reveal Pina sought
treatment on several occasions for sexual misconduct. An Oct. 8,
1993, psychological evaluation written to Monsignor Timothy Dyer said Pina
"remains a serious risk for acting out." The document goes on to say, "Over the years he's
perfected his method, and his behavior suggests that single Hispanic female
mothers and possibly minors are at risk for becoming victimized." The
evaluation's author concludes with a recommendation, "I would advise the
Archdiocese to take appropriate measures and precautions to insure that he is
not in a setting where he can victimize others." The archdiocese sent him
to at least two in house treatment centers and a halfway house for sexual
also returned him to several parishes, until he resigned
The documents reveal the church stood behind Pina and
offered words of support and comfort. Support also came from the man at the
very top: then Archdiocese Roger Mahoney. "Dear Joe," wrote Mahoney in June
1990. "I just want to renew in writing my esteem, affection and prayers for you during these days
of some trial." Mahoney ends the letter writing, "you continue to have my
prayers, my support and my friendship." The Pina files raise serious questions
about the extent of the church's systematic cover-up, and whether any steps were taken to
inform LAUSD of the former priest's troubled background while he was working
for the nation's second largest school district.
In his resignation letter to the parishioners of St.
Emydius dated March 14, 1998, he wrote "the time has come for me to seek more
serious help for my personal issues. For some time now I thought that I was
working on my recovery issues diligently and honestly. However, I was not."
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