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The cardinal has apologized for his handling of the sex-abuse scandal and has acknowledged missteps in how he handled several highly publicized cases, including that of former priest Michael Baker.

Baker told Mahony at a retreat in 1986 that he had molested two young boys, but the cardinal has said he didn’t alert anyone because the priest told him the children were illegal immigrants who had returned to Mexico.

That case seriously tarnished Cardinal Mahony’s reputation and prompted a criminal grand jury probe that never resulted in charges.

When the Los Angeles archdiocese settled its abuse cases in 2007, Mr. Boucher, the lead plaintiff attorney, estimated that Baker’s conduct accounted for $40 million of the total.

The former priest was arrested in 2006 as he returned from a vacation in Thailand and later sentenced to 10 years in prison for molestation.