Lt. Dwayne Johnson said Thursday that no physical evidence or witnesses could be found to support the allegation made last month by Flora Mae Hickman
, who said she
was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Hickman, 51, of Fresno, claimed that Mahony sexually assaulted her when she was a student at San Joaquin Memorial Catholic High School in 1969.
Defense says women not credible; prosecution says priest abused position San Francisco district attorney asks archdiocese for records linked to sexual abuse Orange diocese
says priest accused of abuse was sent from Milwaukee
was knocked unconscious while fighting with students and woke to find her
skirt and panties removed and Mahony, then a monsignor in Fresno, "over her
." Police interviewed teachers who worked at the Catholic school at the time, sought any documents supporting the woman's claims and considered her credibility.
"In this case, we had no evidence," Johnson said."Of course we're going back 32 years.That makes it difficult.A victim's ability to recall can present some unique difficulties."
Hickman's claims were murky and numerous.
went to Fresno church officials with her
allegation on March 20, several weeks after news stories began reporting on Mahony's refusal to name a number of priests involved in past abuse cases but who were only recently dismissed from the Los Angeles archdiocese
Mahony revealed that he
was the target of the Hickman accusation on April 5, after a Los Angeles radio station obtained and broadcast some of the cardinal's internal e-mail traffic that referred to her
claim.Mahony denied the allegation and saw to it that the claim was reported to police.
Through a spokesman, Mahony said he
was grateful to Fresno police for their investigation and was pleased with the result. Hickman
insisted the incident happened, but said Thursday she
would not pursue the case.She
said two boys were witnesses, but she
didn't know their names and wasn't going to try tracking them down.
"I told the story, what I believed," she
told The Associated Press
."I wouldn't have made it up.Maybe if I'd come out a long time ago, maybe something would have been done." She
was "a little upset" with the church but not bitter.She
planned to return to the church after a four-month hiatus that was due to health problems.
had been looking for compensation to cover her
filed for bankruptcy two years ago and said her
disability payments were cut.
The AP does not normally identify alleged victims in sexual assault cases, but Hickman
gave permission to use her
originally told her
story to the pastor of St. John's Cathedral
in Fresno on March 20.He
reported it to police, but later said he
doubted the allegation was true.
claimed that happened with 40 different youths watching," said Monsignor John Esquivel."There's no way that is going to happen in front of all those people."
Mahony, 66, became the head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
in 1985 and was elevated to cardinal in 1991.