At age five, 1954, "the Bishop" (Chicago's Cardinal Stritch) stood over me and said, I had to "stop babbling" about what the priest did to me. It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Today, I babble.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Commentary on mainstream media coverage of LA Archdiocese and leak of information

By Kay Ebeling

There was a storm of stories, but look closer. Almost every one of the articles run in media about the investigation of Cardinal Roger Mahony and the LA Archdiocese just copy and pasted from the original LA Times story, even the AP copy and pasted from the LA Times story. For example, notice how many of them mention that US Attorney Tom O'Brien is "personally involved" in the investigation.

What started it all: On its Web site Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times quoted two anonymous law enforcement sources as saying Mahony is among those being investigated by the grand jury to determine if he
failed to keep children safe from predatory priests.

Several reporters did some research on the -- law that was part of the leak. They then phoned an unrelated pundit such as a law professor somewhere to comment on the law. Then other reporters copy and pasted the quotes from law professors and called that a story.

The real story is how much the public and crime victims are thirsting for an investigation, want these crimes prosecuted.
Here is a documentation of the storm, continued from yesterday's list of stories and links:

Archdiocese responds to reports of federal sex abuse probe
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into whether leaders of the Los Angeles archdiocese committed fraud by failing to properly deal with charges of priests molesting children, two law-enforcement sources told CNN.

Cardinal Mahony under federal investigation over abusive priests, sources say
LOS ANGELES (CA)Los Angeles Times
By Scott Glover and Jack Leonard January 29, 2009 The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has launched a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in connection with his response to the molestation of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case

Honest Services Theory Used in Priest Abuse Cover-up Probe
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A U.S. attorney is applying a criminal statute in a novel way as part of a grand jury investigation into the Los Angeles archdiocese and its response to pedophile priests, according to a newspaper report.
The theory is that a cover-up of priest abuse by church leaders, if proven, violates a federal statute that bars conspiracies to deprive others of honest services, the Los Angeles Times reports. The victims would be parishioners who entrusted the safety of their children to church leaders.

U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien is personally involved in the probe, two anonymous law enforcement sources told the newspaper

LA Cardinal faces probe over abusive priests: report
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — The head of the Catholic church in Los Angeles is being investigated in connection with his response to allegations of sex abuse by priests in the region, US media reported.
The Los Angeles Times cited sources familiar with the case as saying federal prosecutors were probing Cardinal Roger M. Mahony to see whether he committed "fraud" by failing to adequately deal with priests suspected of sex abuse.
A Justice Department spokesman in Los Angeles declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP Wednesday. Mahony's lawyer J. Michael Hennigan could not be immediately contacted for comment.

Unholy act? Cardinal Mahony investigated
[with video]
(NECN/KABC) - According to unnamed sources in the LA Times and the Wall Street Journal, a federal investigation will determine whether Cardinal Roger Mahony, and possibly other church leaders, committed "honest services fraud" against parishioners by failing to keep children safe from predatory priests.

"That's interesting; it raises the question: what are the fair and honest services of a cardinal and exactly what did he do or not do to deprive them of that?" Loyola Law professor Laurie Levenson said.

Investigating a cardinal?
UNITED STATESBlogging Religiously
One question I still hear asked about the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal is how bishops who left abusive priests in ministry have gotten off more or less unscathed.

(ME: Here the original leak even gets translated:)

Investigan a cardenal de Los Ángeles por respuesta indolente a casos de abusos
UNITED STATESMundial (Venezuela)
Prensa Web YVKE, AgenciasJueves, 29 de Ene de 2009. 10:12 am
El trámite "apunta a determinar si Mahony, y posiblemente otros jerarcas eclesiásticos, cometieron fraude cuando no trataron adecuadamente a los sacerdotes acusados de abuso sexual de menores", según el diario.

Seven Years On, Enter the Feds
LOS ANGELES (CA)Whispers in the Loggia
In a first since the US clergy sex-abuse scandals began their major eruption in 2002, the nation's largest local church -- the 4.2 million-member archdiocese of Los Angeles and its head, Cardinal Roger Mahony -- is under Federal investigation over its response to reports of abusive clergy:

The probe, in which U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien is personally involved. . .

(ME: At least Gustavo had something original to say:)

Hey, Federales: Don't Forget the Pedo-Priest Protectors from the Diocese of Orange!
Posted by Gustavo Arellano in Ex Cathedra
January 29, 2009 6:52 AM
Comments (21)
When I heard late that the United States Attorney's office is investigating Archdiocese of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony for his role in covering up the rapes committed by his priest, I attributed it to a hallucination brought on by last night's episode of Lost.

But here's the Los Angeles Times story that proves it, and all I can say is: what about the Diocese of Orange?According to Times reporters Scott Glover and Jack Leonard, the feds are accusing Mahony and perhaps other L.A. Archdiocese officials of fraud, and "to gain a conviction on such a charge, prosecutors would have to prove that Mahony used the U.S. mail or some form of electronic communication in committing the alleged fraud" and thus depriving parishioners "of the intangible right of honest services" by knowingly harboring, accepting, and protecting pedo-priests without letting the faithful know. I don't know too much about cases in Los Angeles, but I do know the sordid details Diocese of Orange scandal like I know great Orange County restaurants. And, if the feds are using such a litmus test of mail fraud to get Mahony (what--all that internal correspondence doesn't count?), then all of O.C.'s bishops, past and present (with the curious exception of Dominic Luong) belong in the slammer. To wit after the jump!

William Johnson: OC's first bishop wrote and received many a letter . . .

By copying them here, I also save the HTML code, so I can then copy and paste this story at my other site at Examiner Dot Com - oh well, I guess that's life in the 21st Century.

What really frustrates me is all these mainstream media reporters who file electronic stories by copy and pasting under their bylines are getting a salary - and I am not.

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