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, February 13, 2009

Lobbyists paid by Church claim soup kitchens run by Church would close if SOL opened...

(And Maryland State Senate listens to them. Here is a conversation with David Fortwengler about hearings last week on SB236 before the Maryland State Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would open the Statute of limitations on negligence in sex crimes. Related videos at City of Angels 6 )

“Sometimes when you hear the church arguments, I'm glad we don’t have a system like the British where you can get up and yell in parliament, because there’s a whole bunch of times survivors would like to stand up and yell bull----. One priest gets up every time and says, If this legislation passes all these things would close, his parish and the soup kitchen.”

ME: If an organization the size of the Catholic Church really cared about poverty, there would be no poverty.

“James Brochin, a Senator from Baltimore says, Well, Monsignor, you sound very familiar with this argument. Let me ask you, what are the approximate assets of the diocese and what would the amount of judgments have to be before you were bankrupted?

“The priest just sat there, how can they answer that. The point is for the church it is all about the money.”

ME: It has been ever since the beginning? My body was sacrificed in the name of protecting church assets. Wait, let me write that down.


“Like the Peoria bishop he’s afraid to get up and reveal-

ME: Another stab wound on my soul. Gotta write that down. All the damage they did, they're doing it again with this PR campaign to belittle the sex crimes. That Matt Abbott column this morning made me so mad.

DAVID: You can see what they've degenerated to. All they want to do is limit being accountable in a court of law. The same arguments they've always had.

ME: Who?

“The people for the archdiocese including the Chancellor of the Washington diocese, they're a professional lobbying group. The Maryland Catholic Conference

The Maryland Catholic Conference

“They have a whole website on their objections to this legislation because it’s anti-Catholic. Their argument is it’s just not fair.”

ME: Oh it’s not fair? WHAT was ever fair about anything they did concerning rapist priests they didn't turn into law enforcement? Tell me more, David.”

“They never talk about their negligent supervision

ME: (interrupting again) And Duplicity. What do these Catholic lobbyists look like?

“They're all professional, all employees of the Diocese, they have to say who they work for when they get up. Everybody who spoke up against was from Washington Diocese.

ME: Everyone?

“Yeah, no Episcopals, no one from the Boys and Girls Clubs, or daycare centers, all of those organizations would be affected by this bill. But they never show up to testify against it.”

SB238 to open up the statute of limitations for child sex crimes has been before the Maryland State Senate six times now since 2003.

“Everybody in that room has been educated by now and accepts the fact that it takes time for a victim to come forward about child sex crimes.

“The issue is whether the church should be held accountable for their crimes. I'm talking about - that's the only reason the church is objecting to this bill.

ME: Tell me more.

“When victims do testify, they tend to get emotional, the church is testifying about not wanting to go bankrupt. You see them saying it’s not fair.”

ME: It’s not fair?! It’s not fair!?

“I sat there in that hearing. It’s like the way you have blown up on the past couple posts. When you sit there and hear those arguments your blood pressure goes up, your heart rate. Then all of a sudden you're on a microphone in front of those people and

“It’s not like I haven’t had therapy. But even ‘cleansing breaths’ can’t keep up with the absurdity of the church’s arguments.

ME: Who else spoke for survivors?

“Vicki Polin, she’s been there every year since 2003, she works in Awareness Center in Baltimore, Paul Livingston came all the way from California, Al Chesley who I met last year at the DC SOL Hearings, an amazing man, a Chicago Bulls football player, and survivor of a police man at a boys and girls club - his point is with SOL. Why should there be an exemption.”

ME: What is the bill exactly?

“To extend the civil SOL which currently is age 25 and take it to age 50 and includes the same provision

ME: Why fifty? Isn’t that still just an arbitrary number?

“In Maryland, there’s no SOL on criminal cases, remember I was able to see my perp go to prison. That's one of the church’s arguments. They say, you can always put the guy in jail, why sue. Well, you can only sue the abuser or an institution that was negligent.”

“My question always is, the word Catholic doesn't appear anywhere in the legislation, it only affects institutions that were negligent in supervision of children. So why is the Catholic Church even there?

Me: Isn’t that another reason for hearings in itself like on a federal level? Why is the Church going to such great lengths to prevent transparency? What kind of group of thugs won’t release files under subpoena?

We take a break promising to talk more about the Bishop of Peoria. Recent Illinois court decisions “may make our legal situation even more difficult in the future.” For the Catholic Church,” said the bishop of Peoria in the news that week, agreeing, good, because the Church has had lopsided overweight justice on their side for too long.

I go make coffee too and in the kitchen experience spontaneous weeping again, loud sobs from deep in the throat carry out into the apartment patios, a language my neighbors understand - the universal language of the downtrodden who every step they try to make to pull themselves up, the very entity that trod on them in the first place is billowing over them trodding them down again.

I read more from the bishop of Peoria and dash out an angry City of Angels post. “Noting his duty to work as a “prudent steward” of diocesan finances, Bishop Jenky charged…” Yes bishops are CEOs first and foremost. Da-da-da-da-da-da then call Dave back and he says:


Conversation with David continued:

“It’s the same timing as with the steroids. The crimes of the church are coming out in the same pattern as the steroids. It was known on the inside first, though everyone denied it, over the years information trickled out, and now Barry Bonds is being indicted. Now Bonds is on trial for lying to a Federal Grand Jury

“But put a bishop under oath and all they say is I don't know, I don't remember that.”

ME: Tell me more about the Catholic lobbyists in Maryland.

“Okay, so all of them are professionals on salary, none of them are ever nervous or having their blood pressure go up. At the end of the day they all went home proud of what they did, testifying against the Judiciary Committee protecting the church.

“I wish I had been as cool and collected. I was second to the last person on the list so I was at the end of the day, and after hearing all those arguments, church lobbyists talking on and on and on -

“Basically whining, Every one of their arguments is, ‘It’s not fair.’

“After sitting there hearing all that stuff, I didn't even read my testimony. Just got up there and said, Petrella was hired in 1964, in 1966 he admitted molesting boys and he was still molesting boys in 1967. So by 1977 I would have had no rights.

“I turned and looked at them and said, so you're right, that's fair, my rights expired

“In 1977 at age 21 - 3 years from age of majority, I would have had no idea that raping a priest wouldn't get you fired. They got away with it, you win, it wouldn't be fair for me to go back and sue them.

“But you know what else isn’t fair, from 1977 to 1989, he was still serving as a priest in Washington and still molesting kids, and I don't think that's fair either.

“Clearly the coverup is successful. I had no idea that he would just be transferred to another parish.

Paul Livingston talked about his life in the nineties, his substance abuse and being homeless, and how he couldn't figure out why he could never complete any projects. Then when window opened in 2003 in California, he decided to tell, he got a settlement. His point was- Money is not the issue.

“But the money did help him change his circumstances, it is important. Livingston said, Obviously I would prefer to have my childhood back, that's what I would have preferred. It has been meaningful for me, it has made it possible for me to travel around and speak on child sex crimes and justice for survivors.

ME: How do you get to speak at public hearing?

“It’s not that hard, most are like Maryland I imagine. You have to be there at least an hour early, sign in and let them know who you are, identify yourself. Then sometimes it’s required, you submit written testimony and you have to have enough copies for all of them and turn it in an hour early.

ME: That's all you have to do?

“It’s your right as a citizen. In fact before this bill they were hearing testimony about the red light cameras that they put up

ME: Does it do any good to testify in hearings?

“It’s a factor and a show of, of something. The senators really do sit there and listen, lot of them are informed, they had Marci Hamilton’s book.

“On victims side at least are voters, citizens, people who aren’t getting paid to be there, just doing it for a sense of justice.

“A girl was there testifying about being raped by foster parents. She’s got an opportunity with the window opened, to finally take some kind of legal action against the families, and that may be denied her because of the Catholic Church’s overwhelming desire to keep their secrets.

“Survivors who were there were testifying for SB 238 in Maryland were from everywhere."

Foster families,
Boys & girls club
Survivors of rape by rabbis
Along with priest rape survivors

ME: All looking for the same justice, and now with everyone understanding that it often takes years for child sex crimes to be reported-

“The senators kept asking, why do you wait so long, looking for some sort of empirical evidence. You could tell the one’s who were opposed.

“In Maryland there is no other offense that is three years from age of majority, except child sex crimes, because the Catholic Church keeps paying lobbyists to fight any change in the law.”

To read Maryland SB238 go to:

Announcing the Photo Project

As part of our campaign to reach the new U.S. Department of Justice - Send City of Angels a photo of your face, as a child the age of the sex crimes by a priest, or as an adult in recovery.

We will post EVERY PHOTO on a City of Angels site (number to be decided) (maybe City of Angels 1 and I'll move my story all of it over to 2)

Because we have unlimited space on a blog, with electronic expansion, the site full of pictures will just keep growing and growing. All the photos will be in one entry, so a person can just scroll down and keep seeing more and more and more and more

Crime Victims

Of Pedophile Priests who were allowed to operate out of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

We will help the Justice Department get a grasp on just how many crimes took place, and how many lives were affected.

American lives. The people the Justice Department works for.

The Department of Justice works for us.the taxpayers...

Send photos as jpg or scanned in, etc. to or ask for the mailing adress of City of Angels headquarters in Hollywood, California.

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