The deposition also shows that the official, Cardinal William Levada, insisted he had given complete information to the pastor of the parish about the history of Father Joseph Baccellieri. Documents provided by the archdiocese show his position was parochial vicar, an administrative, not pastoral post.
The archdiocese says there were limits on his ministry that no other abuse allegations against him arose. However, there was nothing in records e-mailed by the archdiocese to The Associated Press on Friday showing there was any explicit prohibition on contact between Baccellieri and parishioners. The documents also show that over the years Baccellieri had also been named pastor and co-pastor, before retiring in 2002.
Levada was archbishop of the Portland Archdiocese from 1986-95. He now is head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and has become a central figure in defending the Vatican in its handling of abusive priests.
In 2006, Levada gave a deposition as dozens of Oregon sex abuse lawsuits were pending against the church.
In a transcript of his testimony released Friday by one of attorneys in those cases, Levada said Baccellieri had gone through therapy and the recommendation was that "he was not at risk for reabusing and that it would be prudent to reassign him."
Jeffrey Lena, a California-based attorney for Levada, deferred immediate comment and told The Associated Press he would try to send a statement about the release of the deposition on Friday but it did not arrive. Lena was traveling over the holiday weekend and had limited cell phone reception.
There was no answer Saturday at Levada's Vatican office; most Vatican offices were closed for Easter.
Some Baccellieri case details had been released earlier but this is the first word of Levada's testimony on it.
Levada said in the deposition he did not think parishioners needed to be told about the priest's history.
"It might give people the implication that if they are being told this, that I am suspecting that he
- he may be at risk - he may be a risk to their children," Levada said during questioning by Kelly Clark, one of the attorneys for dozens of men who alleged they were abused by Oregon priests.
The deposition was released by Erin Olson, another attorney who represented abuse victims in the Oregon lawsuit and who was instrumental in getting the testimony from Levada. Olson said parts of the deposition were redacted that made reference to three individuals involved in pending litigation.
Olson said she decided to release it because she was angry over Levada's defense of the way the Vatican handled a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting as many as 200 deaf boys.