"I offered to find a place for him to live until he could make other arrangements, but he volunteered that he would stay with his sister here and leave for Mexico on Monday or Tuesday of this week," Curry wrote Mahony.
"... He asked that his bishop not be told, and I said that would not be possible. I told him the charges as I knew them, although I did not give the names of the families. He denied all, although he admitted that there was a good deal of drinking at Christmas. I told him that it was likely the accusations would be reported to the police and that he was in a good deal of danger."
The documents show no suggestion on Curry's or Mahony's part that Aguilar-Rivera stay in the United States, cooperate with authorities and face the allegations.
Armed with the information, Aguilar-Rivera skipped town before police were notified on Monday, apparently by the school principal. That day, a detective asked an official within the archdiocese if Aguilar-Rivera intended to flee to Mexico.
"I said I was not sure," said the official, who is not named in the documents. "I also said that Nicolas knew that it would probably be reported to the police, and that I had explained that some people were bound to report."
Law enforcement took the allegations seriously and launched an investigation, even accusing the church of not fully cooperating with its efforts -- an accusation that would eventually go public in a story in the Los Angeles Times.
One document says that a boy's relative "had heard" that cops had accused church officials of a cover-up. "The family does not want any trouble," said the memo dated January 21, 1988. "They want [Aguilar-Rivera] to receive help and that he not be able to do this again."
The memo added, "The children are not traumatized."
Five days later, police pushed for a list of altar boys at St. Agatha's, the second parish where Aguilar-Rivera worked. This request sent archdiocese officials into a frenzy.
Curry wrote Mahony that he believed the church should not cooperate. "We have no evidence that Father Aguilar-Rivera was involved with altar boys as such," Curry wrote on January 26, 1988. "All the boys involved were members of families he was friendly with in Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the alleged abuse took place while he was visiting these families or while they were visiting him."
The pastor at St. Agatha, Curry continued, had no knowledge of abuse on his premises and "his concern is that if the police come and interview the boys, the matter will spread around the parish. The parish there is a black-Hispanic one, and he finds his situation as an Anglo pastor a very delicate one."
"The whole issue of our records is a very sensitive one, and I am reluctant to give any list to the police," Curry concluded. "We are being friendly but firm."
At the bottom of the typed letter is a handwritten message from Mahony. "We cannot give such a list for no cause whatsoever," he scrawled on the page, initializing it with "RMM."
He underlined "cannot" for extra emphasis.
None of the archdiocese officials were ever charged with obstruction of justice.
Police eventually got the altar boy list, with no help from the archdiocese. Investigators learned the extent of Aguilar-Rivera's alleged crimes by interviewing boys ranging in age from about 9 to 13.
In all, police said, 26 boys were molested in just nine months, many of them repeatedly. Aguilar-Rivera would eventually be charged in a felony complaint relating to 10 boys, with 19 counts of committing a lewd act with a child.
A Los Angeles Times reporter asked the archdiocese for comment at the time; its public statement stands in direct contrast to what the newly released documents reveal. "He was asked to stay in the country to face the accusations against him, but he chose to leave," said Joseph Battaglia, the spokesman for the archdiocese.
In the article, police said the church was being less than forthcoming with investigators; a father of two of the alleged victims said simply, "The church shouldn't be telling lies."
With the allegations now in the open, the tone of archdiocese officials shifted. Three days later, Curry wrote Aguilar-Rivera's bishop in Mexico and included a copy of the Los Angeles Times' story.
"May I request that if you know of the whereabouts of Father Aguilar-Rivera," Curry said, "you urge him most strongly to return here to answer the allegations that have been made against him."
While on the run, Aguilar-Rivera even called the home of one of the boys he allegedly molested.
"Don't you know everybody is looking for you?" the mother said, according to a March 11, 1988, memo.
"For what?" Aguilar-Rivera responded.
Aguilar-Rivera would remain in the priesthood in Mexico - for another 21 years. He would be dogged of more molestation allegations while there.