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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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sworn Enemies of Catholic Church got CA law amended, then he settled in 2007 due to prejudice and bad publicity, Mahony claims in letter to Court

(UPDATE Aug 12: Slammed at work, will post Ken and Udo story Thursday [hopefully])

By Kay Ebeling

Cardinal Roger Mahony understood that the cases settled in 2007 were going to be the last lawsuits about sex crimes in California Archdioceses, his lawyer claims in an April letter to the state's highest court. "Irrespective of merits," the letter states, the L.A. Archdiocese settled all 510 claims in 2007 because plaintiffs were creating bad publicity and prejudice against the Church.

In the letter quoted in depth below, Mahony joins the corporate Catholic Church in its campaign to get the Supreme Court of California to de-publish Quarry v. Doe 1. That appeals court decision says adults can continue to sue corporate entities for decades old child sex crimes when the corporation was negligent and allowed the molestation to take place. In cases at issue, Delayed Discovery took place after the 2003 one-year window in the California statute of limitations, in other words plaintiffs were not even aware in 2003 that a child sex crime was the cause of their adult problems.

"Quarry undermines and destroys the Archbishop’s settled expectations," Mahony's attorney writes.

“In 2002, a scandal broke out in the Archdiocese of Boston regarding the handling of charges of childhood sexual abuse against a Priest named John Geoghan,” writes Lee Potts, pictured left, Mahony's long time mouthpiece in Los Angeles. “Mishandling of such claims by other Dioceses became the subject of massive nationwide publicity.”

(Um, I think it was a bit more than “publicity” that resulted from Boston.)

Below are direct quotes from Letter in Support of De-Publication of Quarry v. Doe 1, from the Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman law firm, whose actions in court we've been covering here since 2007 when we started City of Angels and began covering the L.A. Clergy Cases. Lee Potts, who signed the letter, usually appears at hearings to litigate for the L.A. Archbishop.

Part 1 of this story was here yesterday, after this we will continue to post more quotes from Defense and Plaintiff letters to the Supreme Court, then run the story of Ken and Udo, two men who lived through sex assaults by the same Catholic priest in Los Angeles in the 1950s. One man got a settlement in 2007, the other is awaiting the Quarry decision to see if his lawsuit can go forward.

As usual, mixed in with quotes from the documents are comments by City of Angels in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS surrounded with asterisk rows **************. We get a strange kind of satisfaction from posting these stories, though little compensation, only what friendly readers send us in High Fives... No matter, we will continue to do this blog until Ebeling is about ninety years old, because it will take that long to uncover all the crimes these pedophile enabling felons committed.

From Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman for the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Letter to CA Supreme Court (We have included the mailing address for those with a bent to chime in to the Justices, with letters giving the plaintiffs' side of the story.)

Honorable Ronald M. George, Chief Justice
And the Associate Justices
California Supreme Court
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco CA 94102

In support of Bishop of Oakland’s request to de-publish Quarry.

April 21, 2009

“The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, a corporation sole, supports the petition for Review of Quarry v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland (sic)

WHY SIC? Because the name of the lawsuit is Quarry v. Doe 1, because attorneys for the Bishop of Oakland fought hard and won the battle to keep the name “Bishop of Oakland” out of the lawsuit, honest, you’d think a fellow Church Attorney would know that. Hennigan letter then goes on to say: "On the grounds that Hightower...” and we SKIP THAT because Hightower is moot and irrelevant, see yesterday’s post
HENNIGAN continued:

“In 2002, a scandal broke out in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston regarding the handling of charges of childhood sexual abuse against a Priest named John Geoghan. Additional charges of mishandling of such claims by other Dioceses became the subject of massive nationwide publicity."

*** PUBLICITY!? ***

“In California ‘sworn enemies of the Catholic Church’ helped draft and secure passage of Legislation to revive otherwise time barred claims."

SWORN ENEMIES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH worked for the legislation??? Note the Church Attorney put those words in quotes. Does the Cardinal begin to sound like he’s getting paranoid here living in his bunker behind the cathedral? MAKING CHARGES THAT CAN’T BE PROVEN? Just who are they claiming is a “sworn enemy of the church” in quotes? Plaintiffs filed lawsuits after years of trying to get pastoral help and getting none.
HENNIGAN continued:

These sworn enemies of the church “helped draft and secure passage of legislation to revive otherwise time barred claims against employers of abusers (the 2003 one-year window in the SOL). Although the statute was worded in neutral terms, the target of the legislation in floor debates and committee reports was always the Catholic Church.

"Among Catholic entities, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles was a focus of particular attention.”

BISHOPS ALWAYS CLAIM THE CHURCH IS A TARGET when people point out what's wrong with the church and its handling of pedophiles, instead of fixing what's wrong with it.


“With extraordinary swiftness a pre-existing Bill SB 1779 was turned into an amendment of CCP 340.1 on May 2, 2002, and passed in June 2002.

“The 2002 amendments removed the 26th birthday cutoff to allow suits against certain non perpetrator Defendants within three years of the date a Plaintiff reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury was caused by abuse.”

THE DEFENSE ONCE AGAIN WRITES in a way that makes me think they're making the plaintiffs’ argument. It’s amazing how often lawyers defending the Church end up sounding like they are writing for plaintiffs, PROBABLY because no matter how the Church tries to fine tune and change what the law says, the plaintiffs filing suit against the Church are inevitably correct and right.

Hennigan: “There was no provision (in 340.1) for retroactive application of delayed discovery” before 2003.

DUH IT’S DELAYED, meaning it happened after 2003!!!!

OKAY, FOLKS, HERE IT IS BELOW, the real reason the Catholic Church in Los Angeles IS TOTALLY FREAKED that these additional delayed discovery cases, discovered after 2003, MIGHT BE ABLE to go forward:

Because THERE ARE MORE VICTIMS out there:

HENNIGAN Continued:

“Following enactment of the 2002 Amendment of 340.1 nearly a thousand cases were filed against Roman Catholic institutions in California and coordinated under the rubric, ‘Clergy Cases.’

“Although numbers are difficult to come by, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reported there were a ‘smattering’ of claims against non-Catholic entities.

BECAUSE MOST NON CATHOLIC ENTITIES don’t aid and abet pedophiles and other perpetrators in record numbers!!!
HENNIGAN: Continued:

“The avalanche of cases against Catholic entities included nearly 600 cases against the Archbishop of Los Angeles. The unbounded lock-back effect of the revival allowed claims to be filed alleging misconduct


“- misconduct all the way back to the 1930s. in many cases, everyone connected to the case except the Plaintiff was dead, unreachable, incompetent, or unascertainable.

“Insurance coverage was meager and was disputed by the insurers.”

OH POOR DEFENDANTS even their insurance carriers got fed up with them (so the corporate Church had to create its own insurance companies).

As we said before, PLAINTIFFS FACE THE SAME CHALLENGES in proving decades old crimes took place. That doesn't mean these crime victims should be denied even a try at justice.

HENNINGAN and other law firms bring up the case of Shirk vs. the Arcadia School District, where a girl who had sex at 16 with her teacher filed a delayed discovery case, in 2003, and the Court rejected her delayed discovery claim in 2006.

The Court and the rest of the world had yet to see the avalanche of lawsuits against the Church in California, which though filed in 2003, did not settle until 2006-2007. So probably the Shirk decision will have to be overturned if the Court decides not to depublish Quarry. Well, OVERTURNING ONE CASE is better than denying justice to hundreds of other crime victims. THOUSANDS of plaintiffs came forward in only that one year window in 2003 in California. There are probably hundreds maybe thousands more crime victims in the state, feeling cut off from justice.

HERE WE GO AGAIN BELOW, the true reason the Church wants to stop Quarry, because there will be more lawsuits BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE VICTIMS.

After four years of hostile pre-trial motions in the L.A. Clergy Cases, and long hard fought efforts to dismiss and delay cases in 2006-2007 the months before trials were on calendar, Lee Potts attorney for the Archbishop writes:

“The cost of defense in time, money, and public opprobrium in cases like childhood sexual abuse places extreme pressure on Defendants to settle cases irrespective of their merits.

“That pressure is necessarily exacerbated as the number of cases reaches into the hundreds and the Defendants are relentlessly held up to public scorn, ridicule, and contempt by the mass media.

***********HUH? WHERE IS MASS MEDIA CONTEMPT??? Other than Comedy Central, just about the only place where real news is reported in the USA today’*****************

“The only solace for Defendants in the Clergy Cases was that all otherwise time barred claims be brought by the end of 2003.”

******** Mahony: BECAUSE WE SAID SO *************

“After the Second District decided Hightower, the Coordination Trial Judge began dismissing cases that were not filed within the revival window.”

******** JUDGE EMILIE ELIAS’ MISTAKE, not the plaintiffs’ **************

Elias’ dismissal of new cases “sent a signal to Plaintiffs that passion and prejudice against the Catholic Church would not always be sufficient to prosecute claims to successful judgments."

*** WHAT??? Because you are A SEX CRIME VICTIM, you have PASSION AND PREJUDICE against the Catholic Church? ***

“- and placed pressure on Plaintiffs to settle the cases in bulk without incurring costs of law and motion practice, trial preparation, and trial.”

********* OH, THAT'S WHY THE 510 CASES IN L.A. SETTLED ALL IN ONE SWEEP IN JULY 2007? Because so many of the plaintiffs were just filing out of passion and prejudice against the Catholic Church, a Church who threatened to fight them tooth and nail through every trial? Not because the plaintiffs had real claims? OH NO WAIT, Below is the REAL REASON MAHONY SETTLED those cases in 2007.

Headline for this story could be:

Mahony claims 2007 cases were supposed to be the last

But, SORRY, POTTS, YOU MUST HAVE MISADVISED MAHONY if that's what the Cardinal thought. Again not the fault of plaintiffs.
HENNIGAN for the Cardinal, continued:

“In reliance on Hightower and Shirk, the Cardinal entered into what it understood to be a Global Settlement of all cases arising out of the revival legislation. (The Cardinal) agreed to settle all the outstanding cases for $660,000,000.00.”

“Quarry undermines and destroys the Archbishop’s settled expectations, reasonably drawn from the terms of the statute, Shirk, and Hightower, that claims of pre-2003 abuse were forever barred" (after 2003).

********** BECAUSE THE ARCHBISHOP HAD AN EXPECTATION that all other lawsuits would be barred? **********

“In Quarry, six brothers filed a Complaint in 2007 when they ranged in age from 43 to 49. They alleged that they were sexually abused by a Catholic priest starting in 1972, but did not discover the wrongfulness of the abuse until the latter half of 2005 and did not discover that the psychological injuries were caused by the molestation until March 2006.”

ARGUING that 340.1 does not allow new claims to be filed, the Church can only use phrases out of context to make its points. MAHONY’S ATTORNEY WRITES: “Quarry is in manifest conflict with Shirk and Hightower.” It's pretty clear Hightower doesn't apply and Shirk is questionable, still this argument goes on for pages full of obfuscatious language, which as we mentioned earlier, you rarely see in Plaintiffs’ briefs because it is so plain and simple to see what is just and right:

“The Judge in the remaining Clergy Cases sustained demurrers without leave to amend based on Hightower, but then decided to enter judgments in those cases based on Quarry."

THERE IS ANOTHER CASE: "KJ" that the Supreme Court is waiting to read, until its decision on Quarry:

"In KJ v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton, a 48 year old Plaintiff alleged he was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest from 1967 to 1971. He claimed that his 2007 Complaint was timely because he ‘immediately repressed all memories’ of the abuse and his claim did not accure until June 2004, when he ‘began remembering’ it.”

THE CHURCH ATTORNEY THEN ARGUES that the Third District held for the defense in this case because it’s exactly the same as Hightower, when it’s not.


Then YES!!

Potts cites 340.9 (THERE IT IS! I’ve been looking for it) the other time a one-year window opened in California, and plaintiffs could file decades old claims against insurance companies for construction defects in houses that were destroyed in the Northridge Earthquake, long after an ordinary SOL on construction defects.

Claims after A ONE TIME EVENT, like the Northridge Earthquake, do not equate with hundreds, maybe thousands, of crime victims who want to come forward with claims about child sex crimes.

WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, not buildings.

You'd think a Catholic bishop could see that.

The Northridge Earthquake is similar but not the same as an epidemic of pedophilia hidden inside a religious institution.

BUT I'm GLAD to have that reference to 340.9 as eventually in next 30 years I want to write about that fight in the State Capital as well, where they opened a one-year window against insurance companies when houses fell apart in an earthquake after the SOL expired. . .

The 340.9 one year window was the precursor to the one-year window for sex crime victims in California, and, well, we all saw where things went after that. The battle for homeowners after Northridge was a noble fight that has not been written about much at all. A fight, I believe, fought by the same lawyers as the lead attorneys for plaintiffs in the Clergy Cases,Ray Boucher et al in Beverly Hills, you gotta hand it to ‘em.

THE EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE AND children raped by Priests are not equal, because THOSE ARE HOUSES, NOT HUMAN BEINGS that were damaged in the earthquake.

BUILDINGS THAT FALL DOWN ARE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT from children being raped during their performance as altar boys or while trying to go to First Confession.

You’d think the Archbishop would be able to see the difference between damage to property and damage to children,

The Hennigan firm letter to CA Supreme Court is signed Lee W. Potts

Next post, more quotes from letters to the California Supreme Court from both plaintiffs and defense.

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God it's hard to write about this stuff without ending up in long convoluted run-on sentences!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mahony will go down in Church history as corrupt and evil as Torquemada and Richelieu, and hopefully cell mates in Hell, where he long ago belonged.