**********The City of Angels is Everywhere*********

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stall tactics, needless pleadings, as church tries to strike Rucker cases and avoid production of documents in pedophile priest civil hearings


Hearings next week reveal the ongoing battle as church attorneys try to get cases thrown out of court and set up roadblocks to cases in progress. Meanwhile plaintiff attorneys have to file motions over and over again to get the church to turn over documents that have already been ordered produced by this court.

Thursday morning Judge Haley Fromholz declared more than 70 cases ready to be combined for jury trials. His upcoming order will detail the calendar of additional trials. Liaison attorneys from both sides met in chambers Thursday in a status conference. These 70-plus cases, where discovery has progressed since November, will likely go to trials before December.

Church attorneys are stalling a case that is set for jury trial August 6, 2007. In the “Pepito & Uranga” case in a hearing April 17 plaintiff attorney Katherine Freberg requests a court order “compelling the custodian of records of St. John’s Seminary, Monsignor Helmut Hefner, to produce documents requested of him at a deposition which documents the deponent failed to produce.”

Judge Fromholz ordered the entire St. Johns Seminary file turned over last year in cases regarding prolific pedophile priest Lynn Caffoe.


8 months late, church attorneys decide they need mental examination from plaintiff

Instead of complying with subpoenas and turning over documents from St. Johns in case #BC307225, church attorneys filed a motion on March 13th ordering the plaintiff to get a mental examination by a defense psychiatrist. The hearing on this motion to compel a mental examination is on calendar for the day after Freberg’s motion to compel these same attorneys to turn over St. John’s Seminary files, April 18.

Hennigan Bennett & Dorman filed this 11th hour demand for the plaintiff to see their psychiatrist because last July plaintiff said in a deposition that he had been on medication and in treatment for a variety of mental and physical ailments as a result of being raped by a priest.

In plaintiff’s answers in interrogatories he lists about 50 psychological and physical ailments he’s lived with most his life such as stomach problems, alcohol and other addictions, trust issues, guilt, isolation and disgust, anger managements issues, low self esteem, self destructive behavior.

(Sounds like a post I or some other survivor wrote one day any day on a priest rape survivor message board…)

Hennigan's church attorneys say they can't prepare for trial now in April 2007 “or evaluate Plaintiff’s claim without a defense mental evaluation,” writes Church attorney Donald Woods, since plaintiff mentioned in deposition July 6 2006 that he’s seen doctors for these problems and has been on medication.

Why didn't they think of that in August?

So the day after Freberg asks attorneys in BC307225 to turn over documents from St. John’s, church attorneys will be demanding this mental examination of one of the plaintiffs in BC307225.

Sounds like stalling, curve-ball throwing, last-minute diversions to me.


More than 70 cases will be combined and set for jury trial before December as a result of liaison attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants meeting in chambers with Judge Haley Fromholz Thursday morning.

The status conference April 12 drew 20 to 25 attorneys to the courthouse, including old man Hennigan himself, towering with his bony face, white hair, and bow tie over a gaggle of a dozen or so church attorneys. Fromholz heard about 15 other civil cases with an unusually heavy calendar in the hour before the status conference.

Tony DeMarco and Ray Boucher were the main lawyers there for plaintiffs but there were two or three others.

Church attorneys outnumbered plaintiff attorneys about three to one.


(City of Angels Lady wants to take an aside here to say I’m so green, so new at this, so gushy still at people who I think of as celebrity attorneys in these cases. I was talking to one this morning and had a great opportunity to ask critical questions like a real journalist. Instead I was all gah-gah -- now I have to wait for the judge’s order to come online and read what happened at the status conference.

(So I promise to get more professional and relaxed by the time jury trials start this June. Right now I’m having trouble figuring out how to be right-sized, figuring out where I fit in this story as it unravels - plus I have all those compulsions of my own from living in the mania of nympho all my adult life as a result of being raped at age five by Father Thomas Barry Horne in Bartlett Illinois {1953 to 54}.

(So I find myself one of the only females among all this testosterone of men in suits, powerful men, and some of them even connected to the church. I have to beat down my own beasts while I’m trying to take on the persona of a journalist and help get this story out. I hope more professional journalists will cover these cases by this summer when hearings begin. Meanwhile I’m growing into my shoes and finding my size so I can get it right.

(So, even though I should have the whole story today, news about the new upcoming jury trials as a result of Thursday morning’s status conference will be on this blog next week.)

There should be an order from Fromholz in the next few days outlining the calendar of new trials that combine these 70-plus cases.


Church attorneys are trying to stymie plaintiffs with one stall, one 11th hour harassment after another -- putting off the inevitable.


The Baker & Baker law firm, representing various parties in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, filed a whirlwind of motions to strike on March 7th, mostly cases represented by Arthur Goldberg for victims of pedophile priest George Neville Rucker. Goldberg’s firm Working People’s Law Center is in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles.

One of these cases under attack by Baker & Baker was in a lot of news stories in 2003, a family in Los Angeles with three daughters all raped by the same priest George Neville Rucker.

There is a string of cases where Rucker raped young girls and sometimes young boys while at St. Anthony’s school and parish in El Segundo in the early 1960s and then in 1967 at St. Agatha’s school and parish in Los Angeles not far from El Segundo at 2646 S. Mansfield Ave.

Rucker is one of many priests who was released from prison in 2003 when the Stogner decision erased the criminal convictions from decades back. Today he is in his eighties living somewhere in Los Angeles in a priest retirement home.

One of the cases church attorneys are trying to get thrown out in a hearing April 18th involves the Kennedy family, three daughters and a mother. Jackie Dennis, one of the daughters, was a spokeswoman for local survivors in 2003, quoted in numerous news articles when the civil case filings began.

Her case is especially alarming to me, because in my family there were three sisters and Father Horne got to two of us, but he liked them younger. He dumped my older sister when she turned 9 or 10 and came after me at age five.

The Kennedy cases, along with the cases of several other women who’ve filed through Arthur Goldberg for molestation by Father Rucker, are under attack by Baker & Baker with motions to strike, where church attorneys ask Judge Fromholz to throw out the entire cases, now, four years after they were filed and months before they are set for jury trial.


Word Processed paragraphs from church attorneys in two different firms are interchangeable.

Baker & Baker’s argument is eerily similar to the motions to strike filed by Lee Potts against cases he’s handling for Hennigan et al.

Baker & Baker’s Donald Woods signed several of these motions filed March 7th.


Even as they try and fail over and over again to prove 340 isn’t constitutional in appeal after appeal

In these motions set for hearing April 17 like so many other Motions to Strike, no matter by which firm, church attorneys argue that certificates of merit were originally filed on each defendant separately instead of on each individual defendant.

Apparently in the months and weeks before the year long window to file civil suits closed in 2003, plaintiffs filed cases against unnamed “Does.” In almost all these cases plaintiffs filed amended complaints within months, even weeks, naming the defendants, and in some cases defendants are still unnamed.

When the Doe Defendant is identified the certificate of merit gets served. Simple. But church attorneys have latched onto this tiny detail and used it as a reason to file motion after motion to strike.

One after the other motions to strike, filed by Hennigan or by Baker, it doesn't matter, use this same argument that certificates of merit weren’t timely under civil code 340. Defendants weren’t served right away they were served later.


The Certificate Of Merit issue has already been decided in plaintiffs’ favor.

Judge Fromholz threw out 10 of these motions to strike recently denying motions filed by the church through demurrers using this same argument, because plaintiffs showed they had filed the certificates of merit naming one “Doe” defendant “MF” under circumstances almost exactly like the rest of the cases in Baker and Hennigan’s motions to strike.

In an April 4 order Judge Fromholz wrote:

“The original complaint did not name MP as a defendant but plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (a few months later) in which MP was added, so motion denied….”

So (if City of Angels understands this correctly), these motions to strike and more motions to strike are just another stall tactic on the part of church attorneys. Their arguments about certificates of merit being filed wrong are a waste of time and energy --

Church attorneys use their endlessly deep archdiocese pockets to force plaintiffs to fight motions that have actually already been decided.

Just like plaintiffs have to file motions to compel deposition and production of documents -- the church is stalling, trying to put off the inevitable.

In the end the archdiocese will pay for its decades of neglect, aiding and abetting, protection of assets over children --


In Documents from St. John's Seminary

In documents plaintiff attorneys have been able to get on Fr. Lynn Caffoe so far, his educators wrote that he “spent too much time with a chosen few.” And “there should be someone to keep an eye on his extra-curricular activities.” (From Campbell Decl. Exhibit D)

Re the motion to compel Katherine Freberg wrote: “It would be incongruous to hold in these cases that minor victims of sexual abuse should not be allowed discovery of information about the perpetrators who sexually abused them. “

Freberg adds that records relating to a perpetrators’ education and training revealed critical evidence in clergy cases in Orange County last year.

City of Angels Lady will be at the hearings both April 17 and 18, barring unexpected interventions, so watch this blog next week to see whether Judge Fromholz grants or denies this motion to compel deposition and production of documents by plaintiff, and motion to compel an examination of plaintiff by a defense psychiatrist.

St. John’s seminary produced the following known pedophile priests:


Names we'll all get familiar with over the next year, unfortunately.


"They're not doing anything," said one plaintiff attorney of the church

Since the judge ordered the entire St. Johns Seminary files turned over last summer in the Caffoe cases, this April 17 hearing shouldn't even have to take place. Plaintiffs should have had these files last summer. The church waited until four days before the last deposition of Monsignor Helmut Hefner from St. Johns to let Plaintiffs know they weren’t going to bring anything with them.

Because of church attorneys applying one stall tactic after another it’s taking until mid-April to even get before Judge Fromholz to get an order to produce.


Archdiocese Homeless Outreach Center Half Block Away from Superior Court

The Superior Court building where these hearings and trials take place the next months is half a block away from the Archdiocese Homeless Outreach office. Here thanks to the benevolence of the church, Los Angeles poor and housing challenged can come to get a ride somewhere else twice a day to get fed by other organizations.

You can see the great job the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Cardinal Roger Mahony are doing with this outreach to the homeless by going just a few blocks down the hill into town to Skid Row.

2,750 plus people sleep nearby on the sidewalks

Iust blocks from the archdiocese homeless program LAPD did a census and in one night found more than 2,750 people sleeping in the street -- in boxes, doorways, or just on the sidewalk.

When these cases bring out the assets of the church those who aren’t yet horrified may realize that the billions of dollars in assets the church in Los Angeles has amassed in the last decades are what the Cardinal and others in heirarchy were protecting at the expense of young boys and girls being raped by pedophile priests.

The church transferred these sick priests to new parishes rather than expose the epidemic of pedophilia in the church to the public mainly to protect the billions of dollars in assets they amassed, while more than 2,750 individuals moved into boxes and blankets on sidewalks, just blocks from the archdiocese homeless outreach program.

On any given night about 2,750 individuals sleep on sidewalks in Los Angeles -- blocks away from the archdiocese's storefront Homeless Outreach Center

They do about as good a job with the poor as they did with us, the kids sexualized by priests and turned out into the world to seek the ruin of souls, to use the Catholics own words.

My story is at cityofangels1.blogspot.com/

More to come next week.


JEC said...

Keep up the great work. As one of the 500+ survivors in the civil action against the L.A. Archdiocese, it is very difficult to get the 'blow by blow' information you are providing. Since it seems we are getting closer to the end game, either through mediation or trial (my case has been released for trial), through your eyes and ears I am getting information I want to hear. Most all of us cannot be there during the infighting as you are, so please keep the information coming. As they say, 'It's the next best thing to being there'. My regards, JEC

merjoem32 said...

Great post. I also believe that we should rid the web of any sexual predators that will harm our children I fully support any advocacy campaign that seeks to eliminate pedophilia on the Internet. Let us all help to keep the Internet safe.