Bishop Robert Finn, of Kansas City, Mo., leaves a meeting at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall assembly in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. Finn was indicted in October for waiting five months to tell police about hundreds of images of alleged child pornography that were found on a priest's computer. He is the highest-ranking church member in the sex abuse scandal to face criminal charges. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Los Angeles - The archbishop of Los Angeles has banned his predecessor from all public church duties because of his past attempts to shield priests who sexually abused children, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The suspension of Cardinal Roger M Mahony was said to be unprecedented in the American Catholic Church. It came as the church was forced to publicly reveal the personnel files of 122

priests accused of molesting children. The documents were released as part of a record 660-million-dollar settlement with abuse victims in 2007.

The documents showed that Mahony, who served as the archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese for 25 years, plotted to keep law enforcement officials from learning about the rampant abuse under his watch by transferring them out-of-state and preventing them from seeing therapists who might report their crimes to police.

“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behaviour described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote. “I cannot undo the failings of the past that we find in these pages. Reading these files, reflecting on the wounds that were caused has been the saddest experience I've had since becoming your archbishop in 2011.”

Mahony retired as the Los Angeles archbishop two years ago upon reaching the Vatican's mandatory retirement age of 75. - Sapa-dpa