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, September 01, 2009

Father Rucker, what are you hiding by invoking the Fifth Amendment over and over again?

By City of Angels

Went document diving last month, and found this gem filed in March 2006 by Donald Steier, attorney for George Neville Rucker, a priest with numerous pedophile accusations from the L.A. Clergy Cases settled in 2007. The “Defense Separate Statement of Issues" argues that the predator priest has the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment over and over again, by virtue of the fact that Rucker has invoked the Fifth Amendment in the past over and over again. I found the document in the L.A. Supeior Court Archives downtown.

Most of the 172 pages of the brief are direct quotes from a deposition of Rucker, the time and location of which is unidentified, but several attorneys for both sides were present, as well as several of Rucker’s accusers. In all 165 pages or so of transcript, Rucker answers one or two questions: benign ones, such as, yes, he’s seen that report, but then no comment on what the report says. Every other question asked of Rucker, his attorney instructs him not to answer, invoking the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution right not to incriminate himself, as well as the Sixth Amendment rights to privacy.

As so often is the case with sex crimes in the Catholic Church, the legal documents tell the story, no need to editorialize on my part, or even give character notes, as you can sense the personalities between the lines as the deposition takes place. Beginning with the first question where, on “Father Rucker’s Assignments, Residences,” Anthony DeMarco, liaison attorney for the plaintiffs asks, “Where was your first assignment out of the seminary?”

MR. STEIER: I'm going to object on a number of different grounds, primarily the Fifth Amendment. If I might make a statement with regard to the Fifth Amendment, we won’t need to repeat it each time in the future that I state the Fifth Amendment.
MR. DEMARCO: Please.
MR. STEIER: If there is any possibility of a tendency to respond in a manner that would incriminate the witness, he may invoke his Fifth Amendment. It requires a liberal application and especially when I’ve not been provided discovery.
He is not going to respond to anything that would provide a link in the chain of evidence that could possibly tend to incriminate him or lead to a clue. He need not acknowledge who he knows or corroborate the existence of any fact that could be in that link of chain.
I won’t have him answer questions that in m mind could lead to a possibly of incrimination.
Therefore, if you're asking him where he was assigned, in any assignment, it would be akin to asking somebody who was at a shooting in wedding where you have witnesses and maybe video, to answer whether they attended that wedding. And of course the problem with that is if you went to a trial in a criminal context and the witnesses were not available to be called and the video was seized illegally under the Fourth Amendment, the response of your client saying, “I went to that party” might tend to incriminate him.
So if you understand in that context why you don't place people at scenes or in relationships or provide corroboration, you can understand the reasoning that I’ll be employing this afternoon.
Having said that, I'm going to instruct my client not to respond, to remain silent, and in this case, I'm going to ask you to read the document that I’ve placed in front of you.
THE WITNESS: (GEORGE NEVILLE RUCKER) I assert my right to remain silent and decline to answer that question.
Q: BY MR. DEMARCO: You assert your right under the Fifth Amendment?
MR. DEMARCO: I’d like to put on the record also that you referenced 803 G as a possible source of criminal liability. As you're probably well aware, the court, the Supreme Court of the United States in Stogner versus the State of California ruled that acts committed many years in the past could not be revived for criminal liability under the ex post facto provisions of the Constitution.
Therefore, acts which occurred during the time frames that the lawsuits now pending address would be not subject to criminal liability, and the statute of limitations has run on those. I am unaware of any accusations being raised of any conduct which has occurred at Sacred Heart in Los Angeles.
So just with regard to Sacred Heart I would have a hard time understanding why that might fill in a missing link.
I’d also like to point out on the record that aside from communication a few minutes before we went on the record today, I was not informed in any detailed fashion as to the extent to which you would be claiming the Fifth Amendment here today, nor the legal basis for doing so.
So with that said, not having the precise legal authorities brought to my attention ahead of time, it was a little more difficult to engage in a sufficient meet and confer before this deposition commenced.
MR. STEIER: Are you finished with that?
MR. DEMARCO: yes, sir.
MR. STEIER: Let me just say a couple of things, and again I think it will be helpful. The Statement I made is quite consistent with the response filed in the Coughlin matter. …
MR. DEMARCO: Sejas was not cited to my recollection in the Coughlin case, was it?
MR. STEIER: I believe it was, but you know what, it is what it is.
Number 2, the statute of limitations with regard to alleged conspiracies, I don't know if that has run or not, and I am not in a position to assume it has. More importantly, and I think most instructively, the case of Michael Wempe will be of help here.
Wempe was in exactly the same position that George Rucker finds himself. All Michael Wempe’s cases were also, were dismissed pursuant to the decision in Stogner. In that case there was some anger about the man being released from jail pursuant to Stogner, and in that case a young man came forward with what I can only claim is a false allegation because we know Michael Wempe has passed several lie detector tests where -
Mr. MANLY: That's enough. We're not doing that. That's not - you're not putting that on the record so you can get it into the public domain.
MR. STEIER: Let’s just say this. Even a false claim, if there were one brought in this case, could lead to prosecution, which we know. And under those circumstances we know the district attorney has and would use any statement that they made to prosecute a person charged in the future.
It would include any statement he would make here today. Or in Wempe’s case, if he had made a statement in his deposition, they would be using that against him in the current prosecution. And it doesn't have to be a righteous claim. It can be any claim.
MR. DEMARCO: That said, there’s no evidence presented, you've presented no indication that there’s any claim that's been made that under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Stogner would be permitted under 803G to be brought criminally. So there is no outstanding criminal allegation against him.
MR. STEIER: I have no discovery; so I'm not the man to ask. Number 2, I have not been made privy of investigations that have been conducted by the police because they very seldom run them by me. So my job is to think of a possibility.
And the court used that. The court itself used this standard in relating to confessions, whether or not information related to whose confession was heard. And he said it’s possible that there could be a policy that the archdiocese has, and it goes on to come up with some theory that might have been and that would justify knowing whose confessions were taken.
I'm using the exact standards that Judge Fromholz uses. I'm trying to think of the possibilities that exist, not necessarily being made privy to the details.
MR. DEMARCO: would it be a fair statement to say, Mr. Steier, that you're going to object to any further questions directed in any manner to his assignment history?
THE WITNESS: That's correct.
MR. STEIER: and you will follow my instructions and not answer the questions.
MR. DEMARCO: So any question about where he worked as a priest you will object and instruct him not to answer on the Fifth Amendment?
MR. STEIER: Yes, that's correct.

(CITY OF ANGELS: Throughout this deposition, Steier sounds like he thinks this is all a game. “I won,” he’s smirking.)

MS. FREBERG: Mr. Steier, does that also include any reasons why he was assigned to a particular position?
MR. STEIER: If the reasons were to be dealing with anything that arguable would be relevant to our concerns, that is by hypothetical, if he were reassigned because of a problem that he had in an area that affects the lawsuits, then obviously I wouldn't let him talk at all about any conversations at all.
That's the distinction I have to draw. And if it didn't have anything to do with that, then it probably wouldn't be terribly relevant to these proceedings.
Mr. LEIB: My name is Daniel Leib. I represent two plaintiffs in Clergy 1 (cases later moved to San Diego). Mr. Rucker is a named defendant in both cases. I’d like you at this time to at least put on the record what your understanding is of any information concerning any threats of prosecution of your client as you are aware of them today. I’d like you to list for the record any knowledge you have of any threat or actual particular threat of a prosecution.
You had mentioned that there’s a grand jury-
Mr. LEIB: - forming but if you could do that right now, so we could clarify the record.
MR. STEIER: Anything relating to the grand jury quite frankly I'm not really privy to release.
On the other hand, it’s an ongoing investigation and they don't share all their details with me. If you're asking whether or not I'm aware of a current investigation involving my client, I could say that I know there’s an ongoing grand jury. I’ve been told that they are including more than the original two that we have fought in the appellate courts.
And they have not advised me anymore detail at the district attorney. I’ve asked but I don't get an answer. So I'm not privy to respond to it. I can say that I'm not actively aware or defending him in any criminal matter. I can say that. But I also can say I would have said the same thing about Michael Wempe, and the fact there speak for themselves.
MR. DEMARCO: He asked you to state all your basis for thinking there may be a threat of criminal prosecution. Have you done so?
MR. STEIER: I'm not going - to answer the question more accurately, and I could, (but it) would require me to explain to you why I'm concerned about my client here today, and where I see his risk as distinguished from answering is there a specific investigation or name. I have a legitimate concern about risk.
Mr. LEIB: Risk is not the standard though.
MR. STEIER: Incrimination is the standard and all I know is we've got civil complaints. We've named him as a party. They're alleging criminal conduct. Conspiracy alone would be enough for me to take the position, but I'm not standing on conspiracy alone.
I'm standing on the combination of conspiracy and ongoing potential problems and always will be subject to future prosecution. That's the best I can do to answer.
Do I have a legitimate reason to be concerned? I have reasons that I worry about at night, but nothing I can share without going into violating my client’s privileges.
I hope that answers it as best you can.
Mr. LEIB: It doesn't but we have a record.
MR. STEIER: thank you.
Q BY MR. DEMARCO: At any point in time after you graduated from Saint John’s did you reside at 611 North Marengo?
MR. STEIER: You can answer that question.
THE WITNESS: I came home for summer vacation.
Q BY MR. DEMARCO: When was that?
A: It would be the summer of, the summer of 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.
Q: You went home - you lived at 611 North Marengo each of those summers?
A: Yes.
Q: For how long a period of time each summer?
A: From beginning of June ‘til beginning of September.
Q: And did you attend Saint Andrews in Pasadena during those summers?
MR. STEIER: You can answer.
THE WITNESS: You mean -
Q BY MR. DEMARCO: Either as a deacon or as a parishioner?
A: A parishioner yes.
Q: Did you ever attend there as a deacon?
MR. STEIER: Could I inquire what the relevance would be of this? Does this have anything to do with these allegations?
MR. DEMARCO: Absolutely. I'm looking to find out where he was at and who he would have served with.
MR. STEIER: I'm sorry, I thought you were asking if he was a parishioner somewhere.
MR. DEMARCO: The second question was whether he served there as a deacon and that's the question I believe that's pending.
MR. STEIER: And that's relevant to these allegations in some way?
MR. DEMARCO: OH yes, certainly it will lead to discovery of possibly other witnesses to Mr. Rucker and who he knew.
MR. STEIER: Under those circumstances, I'm going to advise him not to answer that question. Because I'm not privy to other witnesses. I don't know what you know. I don't know what they are going to say and I don't want my client to acknowledge knowing them. So under those circumstances, I'm going to instruct you not to answer that question.
MR. DEMARCO: I'm not going to go-
MR. STEIER: Read that.
THE WITNESS: I’ll assert my right to remain silent and decline to answer that question.
BY MR. DEMARCO: Under the Fifth Amendment?
A: Yes.
MR. DEMARCO: Would it be a fair statement, Mr. Steier, to say that any questions directed at Mr. Rucker t relate in any way to other individuals or possible witnesses you will object to on the Fifth Amendment?
MR. STEIER: That is correct. That would be correct.
MR. DEMARCO: So any folks, any priests that he was assigned with at any of his assignments you will instruct him to take the Fifth Amendment
MR. STEIER: That would be correct for the reasons I’ve already stated.
MR. DEMARCO: And any nuns that he was assigned around at any parishes, asking any details about their identities you will object and instruct him not to answer based on the Fifth?
MR. STEIER: Anything that would tend to corroborate or acknowledge their existence I would instruct him not to answer.
MR. DEMARCO: And the names of any parishioners at any parish that he’s ever been assigned at, asking any questions relating to them, you will instruct him not to answer the question based upon the Fifth Amendment, is that correct?
MR. STEIER: Yes, yes.
MS. FREBERG: Before we move forward, I think in order to make a clear record in regard to recent comments made by Judge Fromholz, as to every area where Mr. Steier is directing the witness not to answer based upon the Fifth and by Father Rucker taking the Fifth, I think we probably need to do a stipulation on the record. That we stipulate that the parties 0 that we do not have to ask the complete realm of questions as to each of the subject matters.
MR. DEMARCO: Mr. Steier, as to each of the subject areas which we've just been addressing in which you've indicated you will be taking the Fifth, can we have a stipulation on the record that we do not need to ask every single possible question that we might had you not taken the Fifth broadly?
MR. STEIER: Yes the areas that we just discussed included where he was assigned, who hd knew at those assignments, including both parishioners and co-workers, and although not asked, probably residents where he resided during those periods of time.
I would think any of those would clearly require me to instruct him to take the Fifth Amendment. And I would join that stipulation.
MR. DEMARCO: So stipulated? Anyone else have any objection to that stipulation? Hearing none, I’ll go on.
Q BY MR. DEMARCO: Why did you retire?
MR. STEIER: I'm not going to allow him to answer that question.

We are now only at page 20 OF 172 from Defendant George Neville Rucker document filed March 2006: Statement in Opposition of Motion to Compel Depo of Father Rucker, filed by Donald H. Steier or Guzin & Steier, 4525 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 201 (note they are still in the building that used to be owned by the Archdiocese, and reportedly the building was sold in order to help pay for the 2007 settlements. Now the building is owned by someone who rents the offices to the Archdiocese.


Before the Deposition Tanscript begins, the introduction states:

Defendant George Neville Rucker submits the following Separate Statement of Issues in Opposition to the Motion to Compel his answers to deposition questions.
This case (the 2007 civil cases against Rucker) involves specific allegations that defendant is involved in an ongoing criminal (defendant’s emphasis) conspiracy to obstruct justice, cover-up felonies, and other illegal acts. The criminal SOL for such allegations has not expired.

In addition, extensive public statements have been made, including by the District Attorney of Los Angeles County and others working in law enforcement, that they suspect such a conspiracy exists, and they will prosecute whatever the evidence may show.
Clearly any answer to any pertinent question could incriminate defendant, and thus, his assertion of the Fifth Amendment must be sustained.

An answer need not be directly incriminating to be covered by the Fifth Amendment, but answers are also protected by the Fifth Amendment where they might provide a link in a chain of evidence against a defendant, or provide a clue that could lead law enforcement to find evidence.

Further, Evidence Code 1108 provides for perpetual presumptive admissibility of sexual offenses, even for which the statute of limitations has expired, in the prosecution of any future sexual offense.

Defendant has never waived and is not placing medical or psycho therapeutic procedures in issue, and the assertion of priviliege must be sustained.

Defendant also asserted his constitutional Right of Privacy. Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a compelling need for such disclosure, nor have they shown that there is no less intrusive means available, both as required by law.

Finally, under the unique facts of this case, the global stay prevented defendant’s attorney from following his typical practice to prepare for the deposition by prohibiting him from conducting discovery.

Thus he cannot be adequately prepared to let defendant be questioned on matters that almost certainly will find their way into the prosecutor’s hands, because of the ongoing, intimate level of cooperation and sharing of deposition transcripts between the civil attorneys here and interested prosecutors.

This document was filed in March 2006

MR. STEIER: I'm not going to allow him to answer that question.
MR. DEMARCO: Based upon the fifth?
MR. STEIER: Based upon the Fifth yes. The Fifth, the Sixth, right of privacy. And you'll follow my instructions, won’t you?
Q BY MR. MANLY: Who was the pastor at Saint Agatha’s when you served there?
MR. STEIER: I’ll instruct my client based on our prior conversation not to answer questions that could tend to incriminate him and he’ll follow my instruction.
Q: Have you ever served with anybody as a priest who later became an auxiliary bishop or a bishop, without telling me where you served?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer the question. The reason - let me tell you my reasoning behind that. There are so very few auxiliary bishops that if an auxiliary bishop were to come forward to say I had the following conversation with George Rucker at some place, I think that would, because of the nature, tend to provide a link in the chain.
I'm going to instruct you not to answer that question.
MR. MANLY: I'm not asking him if he had conversations with somebody who was already a bishop. I'm simply asking did he ever serve with anybody as a priest who later became bishops.
MR. STEIER: I do understand the j. As asked, again, there are very few who later became bishops.
MR. MANLY: There’s a boatload, Don, who became archbishops or bishops in this diocese. They're all over the country.
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him now not to, but I suspect we'll have another opportunity to meet, and if-
MR. MANLY: can I have the instruction?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer on the Fifth Amendment.
Q BY MR. MANLY: Can you read it, Father? Father, are you alright? You seem to be grabbing your nose. Are you okay?
A: Yes, I assert my right to remain silent and decline to answer that question.
Q: Who was the pastor, who were some of the pastors you've served under, Father?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct as previously directed pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, right of privacy, Sixth Amendment. You're instructed not to answer that question. You can read the statement.
THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent, decline to answer that question.

Invoking the Fifth and refusing to answer goes on for questions about his work record, or anyone he worked with... Katherine Freberg, another plaintiff attorney present, asked an interesting question:

Q BY MS. FREBERG: Did you work with Father Harry Trauer at any time?
MR. STEIER: he’s not going to answer who he worked with. I’ll instruct him not to answer pursuant to the Fifth Amendment.
MS. FREBERG: I understand, Don, that you have entered into a stipulation with liaison counsel that all questions relating to assignments are preserved eeven though we don't ask every specific question here?
MR. STEIER: yes.
MS. FREBERG: I had a few questions that I wanted to ask about documents that were produced by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These are documents from the personnel file of Father Rucker.
May I have a stipulation that all of those questions relating to any documents produced by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles related to Father Rucker are preserved at a later time after a motion to compel and that I don't have to repeat or ask every one of these questions here now?
MR. STEIER: Yes, I agree to that stipluatino. And I would just add that we have litigation still pending with regard to some of the personnel files that are involved and that you referenced. So those are unresolved as we sit here. But a part of it goes to the Fifth Amendment, yes.
And I’d also incorporate any written objections that I filed regarding personnel filed if and when those are appropriate.
MS. FREBERG: And the basis for your objecting and instructing your client not to answer any questions that any of the plaintiff lawyers may have regarding documents produced by the Archdiocese regarding Father Rucker is the Fifth Amendment?


Q BY MS. FREBERG: Father Rucker, have you ever read the proffer that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles prepared in relation to you?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to let you answer. Did you ever read the proffer?
THE WITNESS: I only read information that my lawyer gave me.
Q BY MS. FREBERG: Do you know what I mean by a proffer?
MR. STEIER: You can answer that question.
THE WITNESS: I'm not sure what it is legally.
MS. FREBERG: There was a document prepared by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that outlined your various assignments. It also provided information regarding allegations that you had molested little girls.
That’s the document that I'm referring to when I say “proffer.” Did you ever review that document?
MR. STEIER: To the extent that it would have been something that he got through his counsel, then he’s not going to answer that question.

They show Rucker the proffer then:

MS. FREBERG: Mr. Steier, it is my intent to ask various questions regarding this proffer. Is it going to be your instruction to Father Rucker not to answer any questions?
MR. STEIER: Yes it is, and let me just put on the record my thinking on that too. As I look at this document, it reflects, other than the ordained date and the born date, it reflects assignments, it reflects police investigations of abuse, it reflects complaints regarding abuse. And therefore, and other than the alst entry which deals with where he is in residence currently, they would all be invasive of the Fifth Amendment. And therefore I would be compelled to go ahead and have him invoke the Fifth. . .
MR. DEMARCO: I'm not sure, but from looking at what I see in front of Ms. Freberg, that appears to be what was available publicly.
MS. FREBERG: I think it was.
MR. STEIER: In any event, I object to him answering any questions related to the subjects I just went over.

More of the same then:

B: Reasons Why Further Responses Should Not Be Ordered:

This case involves specific allegations that defendant is involved in an ongoing criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice, cover up felonies, and other illegal acts. Etc.

2: Father Rucker’s Personal Interests and Hobbies, Questions and Answers:

Q: Father Rucker, while you were an active priest, did you have any hobbies?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer… I don't know what charges have been made… as farfetched as that may sound to the lay mind, from a legal point of view, from a criminal legal point of view, I'm very comfortable in asserting-

THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent. I decline to answer that question on the basis of the Fifth Amendment.

It goes on like that for another 140 pages.

EXAMPLE, of Church Attorney’s arrogance in mutilating the American Justice System to protect pedophile priests and other perversions:

MR. DEMARCO: Father Rucker, have you ever cooked your own meals?
MR. STEIER: You can answer that question. See, I'm not unreasonable.
THE WITNESS: in cases of emergency.
Q BY MR. DEMARCO: only in cases of emergency? I'm sorry?
A: When maybe the cook got sick or some such.
MR. STEIER: Okay you've answered the question.
MR. DEMARCO: Would it be a fair statement then to say that cooking has never been a hobby of yours?
MR. STEIER: What would the relevance be of that question?
MR. DEMARCO: There’s certainly personal activities at issue in these cases that that might bear relevance upon and I'm not going to go any further on that.
MR. STEIER: I don't understand how cooking a meal goes to notice. If it does, then I’ll probably instruct him not to answer, because obviously there’s something I don't know.
MR. DEMARCO: I'd like to mark as Exhibit 2, a photo, class photo, and I’d ask that the witness take a look at it for a moment.
MR. STEIER: You can look at it but don't say anything. … the pictures are people who could potentially be witnesses, and his mere acknowledgement would be incriminating.
Finally after 48 pages of this:
MR. DEMARCO: I want to make sure we have on the record the date that this deposition was agreed to between liaison counsel, presumably with Mr. Steier, which I'm fairly well aware had agreed to the date more than a month ago. The letter you referenced and attached as an exhibit to the deposition in no way says your client is going to be taking the Fifth as to the vast majority of any testimony he might offer today.
MR. MANLY: Just for the record, I want to make clear, I'm not done. I'm not saying you're right to assert objections. I understand what you're doing and you're a very good lawher.
But this is the second time that basically we've come to a deposition and brought victims. And you don't have to accept their allegations as true.
But just out of sensitivity to them, it sure would be nice - and I'm not saying you did it intentionally, I'm not; I think others have but you haven’t.
I will just ask that you and counsel for his eminence just be sensitive to that.
We went to a lot of expense to fly somebody in here. Had I known it was going to be handled this way, I wouldn't have done it. and I would extend you the same courtesy.
MR. STEIER: And to that extent, in the future I'm going to do my very best to communicate that a little better. … what I'm trying to do is listen to each question and invoke as I feel right. If it was going to be a blanket invocation of the Fifth Amendment, I would have immediately notified everybody that he’ll answer no questions. I have attempted here to answer questions - we can disagree-
MR. MANLY: I think the Archdiocese once again, just for the record, I think there’s a pattern and practice of basically making people travel a long way with absolutely no intention of having them give a deposition. And I think you set the date. You knew this was going to happen. It’s wrong.


MR. DEMARCO: can we get a stipulation that any questions in any way relating to any activities he might have engaged in relating to sexual abuse of children, that you're going to instruct him not to answer based upon his Fifth Amendment rights?
MR. STEIER: Most assuredly.
MR. MANLY: Father, Rucker, my name is John Manly and I represent the lady in the red sweater down there and (NAMES THREE WOMEN WHO ARE PRESENT). That lady alleges that you molested her as a little girl. Did you do that.
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct my client not to answer that question for the Fifth, the Sixth, the right of privacy.
MR. MANLY: Did you ever work with Mary S after she became a nun?
THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent…
MR. STEIER: I might add with all due respect, Mr. Manly, that you can rest assured that every question dealing with specific misconduct will receive the same response.
MR. MANLY: I'm just making my record.
MR. STEIER: I'm just telling you that.
MR. MANLY: I'm not surprised.
MR. DEMARCO: That's for all victims?
MR. STEIER: All victims.
MR. MANLY: Father Rucker, did you ever place your hand or finger inside Mary D’s vagina?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer…
MR. MANLY: Father Rucker, did you ever at Saint Agatha’s stand out in front of the school on a walkway where the boys and girls had to go by and stop girls and put your hand down their shirt and in their panties?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct my client not to answer…

MR. MANLY: Did you know -


MS. FREBERG: Father Rucker, what was the most flagrant act of molestation that you ever committed?
MR. STEIER: He’ll be instructed not to answer that pursuant to the Fifth Amendment.
Q: Hi, my name is Arthur Goldberg and I represent a series of people from Saint Agatha Church and I want to ask you background questions. Do you see the woman sitting at the end?
Q: She was sitting next to me.
Q: Do you know who she is?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer…
Mr. GOLDBERG: The Fifth Amendment, meaning that the answer to whether he knows the woman who just stood up could tend to cause him to have criminal charges filed against him?
MR. STEIER: No. Could tend to incriminate him, yes.
Mr. GOLDBERG: So how would a person knowing another person cause incrimination even potentially?
MR. STEIER: If a person makes an allegation against you and you acknowledge knowing that person, then you tend to corrobarte that, yes, he even knows that person. It’s possible he could be, he could have committed the crime that she also is alleging. That information subsequently could be used pursuant to 1108 in a subsequent prosecution pursuant to 803 G.
Mr. GOLDBERG: So the theory is by merely knowing someone, according to your exercise in the Fifth Amendment, that is sufficient to exercise the Amendment?
MR. STEIER: Under the circumstances of this case, absolutely correct. . . It’s one more link in the chain to tend to corroborate and support allegations..
GOLDBERG does not have any better luck with Steier getting Rucker to answer:
GOLDBERG: You're saying by identifying that person, it could show some form of overt act in its very nature to carry out a conspiracy, merely by identifying the person in this case?
MR. STEIER: A link in the chain, that's the standard, that's right.
Mr. GOLDBERG: For the record, I do not believe that is the law, and I believe that that link is so unlinkable that it cannot cause identity without more evidence, and there’s been no showing here today of the possibility of that, of the conspiracy. But I’ll make that for the record and we'll go on.
MR. STEIER: Thank you.
THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent.

More Examples of obfuscated justice:

Mr. GOLDBERG: Did you ever pay tuition for the three K sisters when the mother said that the father was out of work, in order to keep them in your presence, if you will, at Saint Agatha’s Church?
THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent.
Q: Did you ever have a confrontation with the girls’ father in 1974 or 75 at which time he accused you of molesting J, one of his daughters?
THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent.
Q: Did you then leave immediately the next day the parish and not return?
A: I assert my right to remain silent…
MR. STEIER: Let me just make a note here. some of these answers might very well be no’s. We are in a position right now, we can’t say no without running the risk of somebody claiming a waiver [of the 5th Amendment right]. So that's an unfortunate situation we're in.
Mr. GOLDBERG: And some of the answers might be yes.
MR. STEIER: That's would be the reason for the Fifth Amendment.
Mr. GOLDBERG: It would be the reason to find out the truth of what's going on.
MR. STEIER: Right. We can’t draw that distinction unfortunately.
Mr. GOLDBERG: Mr. Rucker, were you ever known as Rub A Dub Rucker at Saint Agatha’s school during the 1970s when you were there?
MR. STEIER: I'm not going to allow him to answer that question as…
Mr. GOLDBERG: One last question in all seriousness, Mr. Rucker, did you feel at times when you were at St. Agatha’s Church that you sort of lost control of yourself? That you found it difficult not to sexually molest the young girls at the school.
MR. STEIER: Same objection. …


Q: Father Rucker, when was the first time anyone from the Los Angeles Archdiocese or anyone affiliated with them brought to your attention accusations that you had sexually molested a minor?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer…
MR. DEMARCO: Father Rucker, have you ever allowed a minor to be alone with you in any rectory?
MR. STEIER: He’s been instructed not to answer…
Q BY MR. MANLY: Father Rucker, presently do you have a canon lawyer?
MR. STEIER: That might be a right of privacy, I don't know if the attorney-client privilege attaches.
MR. MANLY: Even if it does, the fact that he has one or not isn’t privileged.
MR. STEIER: Well no, but here’s the problem. If he were to have a canon lawyer, the link in the chain would be that he has a reason to have a canon lawyer because there would be a process against him.
MR. MANLY: That's not true. There could be all sorts of reasons to have a canon lawyer.
MR. STEIER: I have to err on the side of being liberal in my interpretation, and therefore I'm going to have to instruct him not to answer if he has a canon lawyer.
MR. MANLY: Were you assigned to predominantly African American and Hispanic parishes because you were an abuser?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer that question, I think it’s argumentative.
Q By MR. MANLY: Did you ever receive telephone calls from Cardinal McIntyre about complaints?
MR. STEIER: To the extent that I'm presuming it’s relevant to these proceedings, I'm going to instruct him not to answer.
Q BY MR. MANLY: Isn’t it true the Archdiocese knew you were an abuser before you were ordained?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct you not to answer….
Mr. HABEL: Argumentative and harassing
MR. DEMARCO: And the judge has already indicated that we can’t cross examine witnesses in deposition. He said that in a recent order.
Mr. HABEL: I don't object to the form.
MR. MANLY: What's harassing about it, Counsel? Let’s deal with this now. What's harassing about it?
Mr. HABEL: I made my record, objection for the record, I'm not going to debate it.
MR. MANLY: This is for trial. I want to know what the basis is for the objection so I can correct the question. The reality is there is no basis.
Q: Father Rucker, isn’t it true that you abused children when you were a seminarian?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer.
MR. MANLY: Father Rucker, isn’t it true that Cardinal Mahony knew you were an abuser when he placed you in the ministry, in faculties at a parish located in Palos Verdes, Corpus Christi Parish?
Mr. HABEL: Lacks foundation, calls for speculation, assumes facts not in evidenc.
MR. STEIER: I will instruct him pursuant to the Fifth Amendment not to answer…
MR. MANLY: Let me ask you this. Who was the chancellor of the Archdiocese when you retired?
MR. STEIER: That assumes a fact not in evidence that there was a chancellor, but if you know the answer to the question you can answer it.
THE WITNESS: I can’t remember. There have been so many.
MR. MANLY: John Rowden knew you were abusing children, didn't he?
MR. STEIER: I will instruct my client not to answer that question.
Mr. HABEL: Lacks foundation calls for speculation…
MR. MANLY: Isn’t it true, Father Rucker, that it was not a secret while Archbishop Levada was serving in the Archdiocese that you were a child abuser and a molester?
Mr. HABEL: Argumentative, harassing.
MR. STEIER: It assumes a fact not in evidence, but more importantly I’ll instruct him not to answer pursuant to the Fifth Amendment.
MR. MANLY: Isn’t it true that Archbishop Levada knew you were a child molester?
Mr. HABEL: Calls for speculation, lacks foundation.
THE WITNESS: I assert my right to remain silent.
MR. STEIER: My client now doesn't need me to instruct him anymore, he’s beginning to get it.
MR. MANLY: How good for you.


MR. MANLY: Monsignor Connolly knew you were an abuser, did he not?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to object to that. I'm going to instruct my client - I'm going to object to that and instruct my client pursuant to the Fifth Amendment…
MR. MANLY: Father Rucker, who at the Archdiocese was aware at any time of the fact that you were abusing children, molesting children?
Mr. HABEL: Assumes facts not in evidence, calls for speculation, lacks foundation.
MR. STEIER: I will instruct him not to answer pursuant to the Fifth…
MR. MANLY: Father Rucker, are you aware of anybody at the Archdiocese ever reporting you to law enforcement prior to 2001?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer per Fifth Amendment.
Mr. LEIB: What's the nature of the objection?
MR. STEIER: Fifth amendment, why did I object?
Mr. LEIB: Yes.
MR. STEIER: Was he aware that he was reported for child molestation?
Mr. LEIB: Right, how does that implicate his Fifth Amendment rights?
MR. STEIER: Hypothetically, let’s say he was aware that somebody had made a report, and then that person comes forward and says, you know I made this report about George Rucker. My client would be, by admitting that or acknowledging it, would be adding a link in the chain of evidence to incriminate him…
MR. MANLY: Did Monsignor Hawks ever talk to you about allegations that you had abused children?
MR. STEIER: On that question I have to instruct him not to answer. . . .
Q BY MR. MANLY: So, Father, isn’t it true that when Father O’Dowd was pastor at Saint Alphonsus that he repeatedly told you to stop touching children and molesting children?
MR. STEIER: I’ll instruct him not to answer…
MR. MANLY: Isn’t it true that Father O’Dowd reported you to the Archdiocese?
MR. STEIER: I’ll instruct him not to answer that question.
MR. MANLY: Isn’t it true that Father O’Dowd was well aware that you were abusing girls at Saint Alphonsus in Los Angeles while you were an associate there?
MR. STEIER: I’ll instruct my client not to answer…
MR. MANLY: Did Mother McGrury at Saint Alphonsus School talk to you about abusing kids?
MR. STEIER: I’ll instruct my client not to answer…
MR. MANLY: At any point during your career were priests assigned to you to supervise your aftercare because of sexual abuse?
MR. STEIER: I'm not going to let him answer that question…
MR. MANLY: When did Cardinal Mahony as far as you know first know that you had abused children on a massive scale?
MR. STEIER: It assumes a fact not in evidence
Mr. HABEL: Calls for speculation…
Q: Are you aware that the Los Angeles Archdiocese has publicly confirmed prior allegations of sexual molestation involving you?
MR. STEIER: I don't know what the relevance of that would be… It’s a good question but I'm going to instruct him not to answer…
[much back and forth then]
MR. MANLY: Do you deny, wait a minute, do you deny that the Archdiocese has acknowledged that he’s an abuser?
Mr. HABEL: We're not going to get into it.
MR. MANLY: Wait a minute. No, I'm making my record. You're saying they're just allegations. You publicly acknowledge and the proffers acknowledge that he’s an abuser. Do you deny that or not?
Mr. WOODS: I stated an objection to the question. The phraseology is vague and ambiguous.
MR. STEIER: I'm going to instruct him not to answer…

And it doesn't ever get any better, all the way to the end. All you get from George Neville Rucker is: I assert my right to remain silent.

MR. STEIER: I'm going to let him answer that question. Did anybody ever teach you it was wrong to have sex with a child at the seminary? Yes or no?
THE WITNESS: The Moral professor.
MR. MANLY: Who was that?
THE WITNESS: Moral Theology.
MR. STEIER: That's it.
THE WITNESS: I can’t remember.
MR. STEIER: He doesn't remember the name of the moral professor. He remembers the moral lesson though.
MR. MANLY: How many lectures were there on not having sex with kids by the moral professor at Saint John’s Seminary?
MR. STEIER: I’ll let you answer that question.
THE WITNESS: The course on the Sixth Commandment lasted a whole semester and took up everything.
MR. MANLY: And the Sixth Commandment is Thou shalt not commit adultery?
MR. MANLY: There was an entire semester course on the Sixth Commandment?
THE WITNESS: I think so.
MR. MANLY: Now, sex with a child falls under the Sixth Commandment, yes, Father? Not having sex with a child falls under the Sixth Commandment?
MR. STEIER: I'm going to raise the objection… [MUCH DISCUSSION THEN]
MR. MANLY: Did anybody teach you in formal education setting, Father, when you and your classmates were there, that there are disciplinary consequences for priests who abuse children sexually?
MR. STEIER: You're talking about at the seminary level?
MR. MANLY: yes.
MR. STEIER: I'm going to let you answer.
THE WITNESS: Not that I remember.

Questions on Rucker’s interactions with

MR. MANLY: If they gave him his Fifth Amendment Miranda rights and they say did you do it, and Father Rucker says yes, I did it, I abused these kids, there’s no Fifth Amendment privilege. It’s waived. I don't know whether he did or didn't, but I want to know the answer.
MR. STEIER: The answer is the Fifth Amendment. I'm going to instruct him not to answer.
Mr. LEIB: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
MR. STEIER: He’s not going to answer that question, it would tend to incriminate him.
Mr LEIB: Don, that's absolute fundamental discovery.
MR. STEIER: You can answer that question.
Q: Have you ever been charged?
MR. STEIER: That's not relevant to anything. .. you have less intrusive ways of getting the answer. Get it somewhere else, not here. If a court orders us to answer that question, we'll answer that question.

MR. MANLY: What you're doing really, saying somebody else might have committed another crime and just because of that, then anybody could take the Fifth, that's not an appropriate use of the Fifth. That's not the law.
And I think at this point, and I mean this with all due respect, you're a part of the defense strategy that the Archdiocese and the Cardinal have put forth, which is don't let anybody answer any questions which might implicate the Cardinal, and that's what this is about today.
MR. STEIER: Mr. Manly, you may perceive that to be what I'm doing. the truth is I'm protecting my client’s interests and if it does overlap with anybody else’s interest, it is of no moment to me.
However, we are in a very unique situation when we are in the area in California dealing with penal code statutes for sexual abuse. There is no statute of limitations.
There is the door open at any time in his lifetime, in my client’s lifetime, for somebody to make allegations. And if those allegations are made, they will be used against my client in a criminal prosecution.
It’s a propensity statute. How many propensity statutes are there in the state of California? There are very very very few. So we are in a very unique situation here that doesn't apply to most situations.
I understand your argument and in most situations it would have more weight in my mind than it does today. Because of the statutes, as crazy as they are, I have to be very liberal in my application. I'm required to do so by the law, and I'm doing so here today.
Because of the conspiracy counts being alleged, I have to instruct him not to answer this question. Those counts should be dismissed, it would be my advice but go ahead. I'm instructing him not to answer and he’ll follow my instruction.
Well, Rucker is now living at Nazareth House on the tony west side of Los Angeles. Would someone from law enforcement please give him immunity and pick him up for questioning?
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POST NOTE: Re the Bishop of Scranton resigning:

The church can no longer pretend it does not believe in Fibromyalgia or other PTSD-induced crippling conditions after the Bishop of Scranton gave his reason for early retirement:

Martino, 63, said he was suffering frequent insomnia and sometimes "crippling" fatigue, and felt he could no longer lead effectively.

Guess what. A high percentage of the TENS OF THOUSANDS of Catholic Priest Sex Crime Victims suffer from "crippling fatigue" and insomnia.

When do I get sent to a retreat for a few years to recover?

Why isn't the Church helping the crime victims as much as it helps the criminals?

By Kay Ebeling
City of Angels Headquarters
Hollywood California

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