Several people here and elsewhere have criticized Archbishop Gomez, He has been in charge of the Los Angles archdiocese for two years - why did he wait until now to do anything, as Mahony himself asked.
My guess is that events passed something like this:
When Gomez began archbishop, it took him a while to assimilate what had happened. He had enormous new duties as archbishop, the paper trail ran to tens of thousands of pages, and the leftover staff from Mahony’s years was not in a hurry to point out how compromising the documents were.
When Gomez realized what had happened, he knew he had to do two things: release the documents and rebuke Mahony.
They had to be done simultaneously.
He could not release the documents without rebuking Mahony - that is clear.
He could not rebuke Mahoney without releasing the documents, because Mahony and his defenders would claim that Gomez’ s actions were not justified by the evidence.
But he could not rebuke Mahony publicly without getting the Vatican’s consent – and that would take time and negotiation.
In the meanwhile he had to let the lawyers continue their legal maneuvers so that the documents would not be released without a simultaneous rebuke of Mahony.
As soon as he had Vatican consent, Gomez released the documents and rebuked Mahony – that is all that Gomez himself could do.
That is my guess about how things developed.