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

Monday, July 16, 2007

Settlements are just the beginning of the story. Mahony is already lying to the press.

By Kay Ebeling

Note to Roger Mahony: Settling with this relative handful of victims is not going to make this story go away. The jury trial begins this week here on this blog. We'll go through the Hagenbach cases and then the Kreutzer cases and report the plaintiffs’ stories right here as though each crime victim were testifying on the stand, only there’ll be no church attorneys to holler out objections.

Mahony has made much of meetings he had with plaintiffs in the last weeks, so after the settlement hearing I sought out crime victims who had sat in that room with Mahony to see what it was like. One woman said he was surprisingly charismatic and she seemed to still be in some kind of trance. Another plaintiff who sat in the room with Mahony said he was hostile from the moment she walked in.

“There are angels everywhere,” another plaintiff quoted Mahony as telling her, “all around me there are angels,” and she imitated how he’d fluffed his arms around to demonstrate angels flapping wings around his head.

(Maybe that's why he apologized to a roomful of cameras yesterday, I guess those are his angels.)

This is only the beginning of an amazing tale of second and third generation pedophiles running seminaries in Southern California, the “rural” dumping ground for problem priests of America and sometimes Ireland and countries to our south. If Mahony thinks the details of corruption and organized crime in the archdiocese of Los Angeles are all going to slide under a pile of soil in the next earthquake, sorry, Card, you did not slip off the frying pan this time.

I repeat: The jury trial begins this week here on this blog. We'll go through the Hagenbach cases and then the Kreutzer cases and report the plaintiffs’ stories right here as though each one were testifying on the stand, only there’ll be no church attorneys to holler out objections.

At a gathering afterwards almost every plaintiff was talking about a different priest predator. There’s Father John Salazar from Our Lady of Grace. “I have an unusual sense of justice compared to the other plaintiffs since he’s in prison” that plaintiff stated. There’s Father Nocita from Van Nuys who drove his 16 year old abductee to several locations in LA. One guy mentioned St. Gregory’s on Wilshire. First time I saw that church I said, I’ll take that one.

To me a real settlement would be to give each of us a church, a piece of real estate, especially since most of the Catholic ones will be empty soon…. I have this fantasy about owning St. Gregory’s on Wilshire Boulevard some day.

This story can’t go away.

Here is what happened.

The Cardinal made a wise fashion decision and went with the cocktail pants instead of the full length cossack ensemble, but he still insists on wearing that blinding cross. Most prayerful persons shine the light of god through their eyes so I can see why the cardinal has to communicate his Christian-ness in this manner but does the jewelry have to be so gaudy and large? I mean, we get the message, okay, you're a Christian.

We’d all rather have a demonstration of Christian-ness in behavior and action rather than that garish sparkling brassy 12-inch long cross resting on the cardinal’s inverse chest.

I didn't even realize Mahony was in the room.

Here’s how it happened. About 75 people were in the courtroom with more arriving, plaintiffs with red eyes and their pictures as children dangling round their necks mingled with plaintiff attorneys and as far as I could see no church attorneys were anywhere.

Then this guy with an American flag pin and little wires going in and out of his ears appeared with two sheriffs behind him saying, everybody out of the room, everybody out of the room. We all had to walk outside and wait in the hallway, then come back in again. (I called out, “Clear the court, clear the court, the cardinal is coming the cardinal is coming.” I have no inhibitions left in me. What more can happen to me.)

Then they let us all back in and apparently Mahony slipped in during that time everyone was in the hall, and there were so many suits everywhere blocking view of the tables up front I didn't even know he was in the room until the hearing was almost over. . . .

So the hearing began and Judge Fromholz opened with a remark that unlike what you read in most of the press, I’m not here to decide the settlement, but to establish that there is indeed a settlement, it covers the cases and this settlement is the desire of the attorneys for both sides -

“So that the trial dates can be vacated.”

Plaintiff and defendant liaison attorneys made statements. It was a bit ceremonial so of course I was getting turned off.

Ray Boucher said we should at least acknowledge the plaintiff victims of Clinton Hagenbach and a row of tall good looking men behind me stood up.

Boucher was almost in tears as he asked for a moment to remember the plaintiffs who did not make it through the five years from filing the original complaints to this day. The room got quiet (except the LA Times reporter kept on tapping his keys, nothing stops the LA Times).

The judge articulated the amount of the settlement is 660 million dollars and I wanted to jump up and yell “No, 666, 666,” just because I’d seen it in a couple comments here and there on the internet last night.

Then it was time for Michael J. Hennigan to speak

HENNIGAN: To the victims, it is our deep regret that this took so long.


JUDGE FROMHOLZ: This is a hearing not a trial, it’s not okay to testify.

HENNIGAN (Cont’d): It’s been the most complex undertaking I’ve ever done in my career. This last week seemed to be endless we worked so hard. I’m indebted to the court for helping us reach this conclusion that we all hoped would occur but feared it might not so thank you

We have reached a protocol re those that may be controversial and in the way we were able resolve those

(I’m sorry I can’t hold him back, here comes the King of Hearts, it’s Hennigan, he’s the King of Hearts here at this very merry un-jury-trial.)

Back to the settlement hearing:

JUDGE: This is D Day we're either vacating trial date or going to trial.

None of the attorneys speaks.

JUDGE: I’d like to get written notice from liaison counsel that renders an account of all the names -- All defendants and any remaining defendants case by case. When can I expect something like that?

BOUCHER: Two weeks?

(I can’t wait to see it. It’ll basically be the outline for season one of a TV series on pedophile priests.)

Stay tuned.

Side note: When I started this blog in January I had the self esteem of a slug who really wants to be a snail. Somehow dumping all my anger on this blog and sending the link to some people I know has developed into this thing, almost a new business I’m creating, and in that room this afternoon about 17 people in one way or another were telling me what a great job I’m doing. “Invaluable” one person said and I wanted to chime in, oh is that why you never click my PayPal button, but I kept my lip zipped.

One more side note: The Biltmore downtown where we gathered post-hearing used to be Western Federal Savings, and my dad was the manager of the building in the mid-1960s in one of his many. He used to hike up the hill a few blocks to the old cathedral every day at noon for Mass. In June 2006 the Catholic bishops had their national meeting in the Biltmore and activists played a slide show on a building wall across the street, in their faces. Those bishops had no choice but to see those slides right outside their hotel rooms. Just a little history for the buffs.


At the Biltmore event: “I probably would have committed a homicide if it hadn’t been for my blog,” I mentioned dunking a cookie into coffee, and no one around me blinked. Been there, done that, it’s great to finally be in a room with people who are almost as screwed up as I am, and in the same weird inimitable way.

Thing that really made me start takig notes at the post hearing event was almost every plaintiff had a case concerning a different priest predator. There’s Father John Salazar from Our Lady of Grace. “I have an unusual sense of justice since my perpetrator is in prison," that plaintiff said.


Miani is an order priest so that case will go forward with a trial date in September.

BOUCHER: Most of the victims will not forgive the cardinal but I’ve seen him as he’s met with many clients and began to try to start the healing process. He took stteps that I think he could only take and went to Rome several times in the last weeks to get ready to settle these cases. It was his decision to ttell the church and lawyers to follow his guidance and his lead and as a result of that we were able to settle these case.

BOUCHER CONTINUED: I hope that given his contact with clients he’ll become a leader in the world to prevent child abuse.

HENNIGAN: I’d like to say that reform in the church was going to happen anyway and I can’t say that. These cases have forever reformed the archdiocese of Los Angeles and it will never be the same.

JUDGE: I think that completes our business here this morning.

The hearing is over. It’s over.

A few people move and I realize Mahony has been sitting there at the table next to Hennigan all this time.

Of course. He came in while all of us were outside. They made us empty the room so Mahony could walk in without the rabble being able to see him, then they crowded around him during the hearing so no one could even see him sitting there.

I finally got to see Mahony, his profile from the back. His hair combed over a bald spot, little wrinkly neck like a cartoon character with no chin. With an expressionless face he watches as the attorneys say their ceremonial words.

He wears a black suit with a minister’s collar and that garish cross in front of his chest.

People mill around talking. I overhear that the Carmelites and the Oblates are the biggest problem post settlement so far, as several orders are not going along with the settlement. As of now there are still trials on the calendar. City of Angels Lady will iron it out later.

(But I have to spend the rest of the week working on a new show called American Gangster. Hmm.)

Watching the cardinal schmooze. He lifts his eyebrows talks civilly standing next to his attorneys shaking hands like a regular person. Almost.

All of a sudden I realize the cardinal is staring at me. My neck jerks and my head turns away from him. I run almost a hundred percent on instinct these days and my instincts were to not look at him. I regret it now as I can’t write what the expression was on his face. I just know I did not want to look into his face.

Boucher runs out he’s got to get a victim to MSNBC

The Cardinal slips out a door upstage right surrounded by men in suits…


By this afternoon

Mahony was already lying.

This was in his interview with the Daily News LA today:

MAHONY: Up until even a week ago we had list of John Doe 1 through 1,000 with no names. We ended up with a lot of wrong identifications. For example, "Fr. John," "Br. Steve," or "Br. Mike," that kind of thing. It took an enormous amount of time.

That's a blatant lie. They had that list of John Doe 1 through 1000 since the complaints were first filed. The archdiocese just sat on them until a few weeks ago.

More to Come. . .

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