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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 22:19 GMT 23:19 UK
Mexico cleric quizzed over abuse
By David Willis
BBC News, California

Cardinal Norberto Rivera
Cardinal Rivera says the LA court does not have jurisdiction over him
Mexico's leading Roman Catholic cleric has been questioned by American lawyers in connection with an ongoing child abuse inquiry.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera is being investigated for allegedly protecting a Catholic priest who abused a Mexican altar boy.

Cardinal Rivera was once seen as a possible candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II.

His diocese is one of the largest in the world.

The cardinal is accused of sending a priest named Nicolas Aguilar to Los Angeles knowing that Aguilar had raped a former altar boy in Mexico.

Conspiracy alleged

Lawyers from California met Cardinal Rivera at the headquarters of the Mexico City archdiocese.

They are trying to establish whether the cardinal can be sued by the altar boy in a Californian court, along with the Los Angeles cardinal, Roger Mahony, whose archdiocese recently agreed to pay out $660m in compensation to victims of child abuse.

Cardinal Mahony is accused of conspiring with the Mexican cardinal to allow Nicolas Aguilar to flee to California.

Cardinal Rivera has argued that since the incidents referred to in the altar boy's allegations all took place in Mexico, the Los Angeles court does not have jurisdiction over him.

Mr Aguilar is currently on the run in Mexico and wanted on multiple charges of sex abuse in the United States.

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