In a 2004 letter to the Vatican, Cardinal Roger Mahony revealed that a priest within the Los Angeles Archdiocese was a danger to children and must be dismissed.
"(Father) Caffoe has not truly resolved his inner anger and sexual tension, so that he remains a real threat to minors. This is confirmed by his subsequent behavior," Mahony wrote to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.
"He is a master at manipulating people's feelings."
The letter dated Nov. 8, 2004, was written as part of a request to remove Father Lynn R. Caffoe from the priesthood. It was sent almost three decades after the first allegations of inappropriate behavior were raised about Caffoe, dating back to his first posting as a young priest in Garden Grove in 1975.
It was also written more than a decade after Caffoe had been sent to a treatment center for pedophile priests and after he had disappeared, later to be considered a fugitive from justice.
According to Caffoe's personnel files, which were filed with the court this month in a lawsuit against the archdiocese, church officials knew for decades of allegations against Caffoe of inappropriate behavior with minors.
Caffoe graduated from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo with a C average and was ordained as a priest in May 1971. The faculty at St. John's called him gracious, kindly, friendly and recommended he be placed in a busy parish.
Yet in those early files, there also were some signs of concern.
"He has a tendency to gather young people around him," an evaluator wrote in 1971. "Pastor may have to keep an eye on him, lest he spend too much time with the chosen few."
In recent years, however, news reports and lawsuits indicated that a parent of one of the altar boys had complained to the parish priest at the time that Caffoe had molested her son, including touching his genitals and putting his tongue in the child's mouth.
Those specific descriptions, however, are not contained in the personnel files and it is not clear if they were forwarded in such detail to higher archdiocese officials at the time.
But in any event, in 1991, letters filed with the Los Angeles Archdiocese portrayed a drastic evolution in Caffoe's behavior:
"When it comes to anger, we're talking Charlie Manson," one nun said of the priest.
"At this point there is testimony concerning a lot of suspicious activity and a few things clearly against policy," wrote Father Timothy Dyer to then Archbishop Mahony. "(Example) minors in his room. As you know, (Father) Caffoe has been called into the office on two occasions (January, 1975, and May, 1989) for similar activity."
Still, Caffoe was transferred from one parish to another and became a priest in at least four churches, including in the San Fernando Valley, La Cañada and Redondo Beach.
But all along, he had left a trail of abuse.
In the letter to Cardinal Ratzinger, Mahony wrote that there were an estimated 100 "instances of masturbatory and copulative acts" Caffoe had with one boy. Mahony also wrote there were instances of lengthy embraces, and sharing the same bed (with no physical abuse) in a hotel room.
Memo after memo showed Caffoe's desires had escalated into inappropriate episodes with boys.
He was sent to a treatment facility called St. Luke's in 1992. By 1994, he was reportedly out of church life, and working for a cab company. He died in 2009. An online obituary lists him as living in Arizona at the time.
In his letter to Cardinal Ratzinger, Mahony said the acts only recently surfaced after lawsuits and newspaper accounts emerged beginning in 2003.
"Several civil lawsuits and newspaper accounts establish the public notoriety of the accused, and the public good of the Church requires the strongest action to be taken," Mahony wrote.
Mahony never called police, saying Caffoe had become a fugitive of justice.
"Given the enormity of actions, for his own good and even more so for the good of the Church, he needs to be returned to the lay state as soon as practicable," Mahony wrote."