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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Judge Haley Fromholz, retiring this week, issues one last order to stop Salesians from holding up entire LA settlement

By Kay Ebeling

Judge Haley Fromholz retires this week and his last act in the Clergy Cases was to stop the Salesians from holding up all 500-plus payments in the $660 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

In a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Fromholz’ court, attorneys for Salesians Religious Order were denied their motion against the July settlement. Salesians argued the payout will be illegal as it includes payment to the 17 cases involving their religious order which are yet to be resolved, because the Salesians refused to settle. The judge shot them down one last time.

In the courtroom yesterday it was Hennigan’s firm for the Archdiocese on the defense against Steve McFeely and Robert Leventhal from Foley & Lardner for the Salesians. Several plaintiff attorneys were in the viewing area, occasionally jumping up to join the fray in front of the judge.

Tony DeMarco, plaintiff liaison, explained: the archdiocese is guaranteeing payment of the 17 Salesian cases “but plaintiffs are still obliged” to go forward pursuing their case against the religious order. The settlement as it is written is “a guarantee of payment by the archdiocese.” He added that the checks will go out to all the LA plaintiffs soon after December 1st.

The Salesians can better understand by watching more daytime TV. You know, like the commercials for pre-settlement loans, the archdiocese is saying: “If, and only if, you are successful with your case will you be required to repay ---. If you lose your case, you would owe us nothing!”

Judge Fromholz issued a 15-page tentative order, for one last time taking apart an already specious argument put forth by a church attorney. The Salesians continue a marathon of motions to obstruct progress toward the jury trial for their 17 cases, which was supposed to begin November 5.

City of Angels predicts the Salesians cases jury trial will just be beginning two years from now November 5, 2009, and McFeely will lose 20 more pounds from all that tap dancing.

Goodbye, Judge Fromholz, enjoy your retirement, and thank you for all your hard work.

My favorite part of Judge Haley Fromholz’ November 27 order was on Page 3:

“Further complicating matters is the fact that the Salesians ‘overlooked’ an email containing the revised agreement, and consequently did not address the revised agreement in their opposition brief.”

Judge Fromholz writes on Page 1 of the November 27 tentative:

“The Settlement Agreement provides that the Archbishop will make a payment of $504 million by December 1, 2007, a second payment of $28 million by March 25, 2008, and a potential third payment of $128 million five years after the effective date of the Agreement.

“This third payment is to be reduced by the amount received by the plaintiffs from non-settling defendants.”

So there really was no need for the hearing yesterday.

That didn't stop Robert Leventhal for the Salesians from saying, “The Salesians should be captains of their ship.” He stood up and declared that at least seven times. “The archdiocese is captain of its ship and is allowed to settle for whatever amount it wants to pay. Just like they are captains of their own ship, the Salesians likewise should be captains of their ship.”

Leventhal went on a good 15 minutes saying:

The archdiocese has no right to seek comparative indemnity for amounts it paid for several claims

It has no right to impede the Salesians’ ability to settle its own claims

There are No joint interests

The settlement agreement violates law and public policy

The archdiocese has no right to decide the amount of claims against Salesians.

Most of the time Leventhal slipped into a babble of corporate insurance gobbled language:

Can’t agree to third party ownership of claims with several indemnity, claims to right damages not subject to assignment under California law -- claims with several liabilities not intended for joint liability claims -- blah-blah-blah insurance liability indemnity co-joint -- several indemnity claims to right damages not subject to assignment under California law

Such is the state of corporate religion in America today.

More from Leventhal after this:

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Leventhal went so far as to say:

“The plaintiffs are serving as the archdiocese’s front man and we need to be able to have meaningful face-to-face negotiations with them without the archdiocese being involved.

“And we should be the captain of our ship --

Before the hearing could begin there was a good hour of argument whether they should even be there in the first place. Since the Salesian jury trial was transferred earlier this month to the courtroom of Judge Emilie H. Elias which is in a whole different part of town, there was some confusion. Just as I walked in Steve McFeely was chiming out, “I want to be clear, judge, I’m talking about the meetings with Judge Elias and liaison council, we weren’t even there.”

Judge Haley Fromholz: The result wouldn't have been any different. Judge Elias didn't feel she was in a position to hear the motion and wouldn't be for a reasonable time. So the chief justice restored the cases to me through the 27th.

Goodbye, Judge Fromholz, and it's been a pleasure watching you work.

Cards can be mailed to:

Judge Haley Fromholz,
LA Superior Court Department 20
111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Fromholz’ 15-page tentative will most likely be his last Order in the Clergy Cases I, II, and III. Now the dog and pony show that is Steve McFeely and Robert Leventhal from Foley & Lardner defending the Salesians against those pesky 17 plaintiffs moves to Dept. 308, Central Civil West Courthouse, 600 South Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, Judge Emilie H. Elias and no one knows where the documents will be located for public viewing.

But in civil cases the documents are open to the public.

The CCW Courthouse is the one just off Wilshire near Lafayette Park. City of Angels is studying the Metro schedule and will be there next week.

Gotta go back to my other job now
More to Come. . .

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Dear Cardinal George: Please take my call

By Kay Ebeling

I have new hope with Cardinal Francis George stepping in as President of the American bishops, either new hope or I’m totally spun by the Roman Catholic Church PR machine. We'll see.

What gave me this hope was a show of spontaneity by George as reported by John Allen in National Catholic Reporter November 20th: The John Jay Report had just excused pedophilia in the church as no worse than in other places, plus free love in the sixties is the real culprit. Allen wrote, “Just as the session was drawing to a close, George, unprompted, signaled that he wanted to add something.” George said:

"The question is whether or not the church herself, particularly priests and bishops, should be held to a moral standard higher than the general populace. Is religion an independent variable? Or is it simply reduced to a cultural reality? If that's the case, secularists shouldn't be disturbed about religion, because it has nothing original to say anyway, and it's not going to impose itself on anybody's behavior.”

Cardinal George can show he has something original to say by taking my call next week.

You see, a few weeks back my landlord, Whiplash West tried to scare my daughter and me into moving so he could cash in on LA’s fired up rental market. I was in a frenzy until I got hold of LA legal aid. For the first time in my life, I think, I experienced the RUSH of getting help from an attorney. Endorphins all over me -- I wanted more.

So I jumped on the phone next day and tried for the seventeenth time at least to get a legal case going in Chicago for the abuse my sister and I went through there at the hands of a dilettante priest Father Thomas B. Horney c.1950-55.

But I ran up against the Statute of Repose. Didn't get that endorphin rush for my case after all. Still there’s hope in Cardinal George: More after this.

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The Statute Of Repose
It sounds like it would be good, but. . .

In spite of my renewed legal pursuits, we face not only the statute of limitations but also

The statute of repose

With the SOL there’s always wiggle room, a way to add a year or a month or two, up to a certain point.

Then it’s, lady, look in the mirror, see how old these allegations are. THAT'S ENOUGH already.

Our perp, Father Horney, died in the 1980s -- he got us going in the late forties early fifties when we were preschoolers, and neither my sister nor I stopped until around 1993. Today she and I are both dotty old ladies with wavering memories -- plus I don't know if I want a church attorney barking at me --

in my face

Wanting to know details of my sex life from 1955 on,

etcetera. . . .


As several attorneys in Chicago told me last couple weeks

I can still contact the Chicago Archdiocese Office of Victims Assistance. See I need therapy.

I used to say writing the blog was therapy
Now I may need therapy because of writing the blog.

I can’t stop writing the blog though, because I’m not really writing it. It’s a motor generating inside me and I can’t stop it. This stuff will keep me awake all night unless I write it and post it.

It’s a kind of weird karma -- Penance on Earth.


Another quote from Cardinal Francis George in the National Catholic Reporter story: “The media not only report, they also select, and in that sense they create a reality.”

(Me: Huh? Did Francis Cardinal George spend time with Tim Leary in the sixties?)

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Yes The Media Do Create Reality --
Especially in the Wide Open World of the Web and Blogs.

Especially New Media like Blogs
Anything goes here. I mean:

The Cardinal was born in Chicago to Francis J. and Julia R. McCarthy George,

Charles McCarthy my uncle was born in Chicago

My dad was born in Chicago -- his name was George. . .

Three degrees of separation . . . and apply some wicca philosophy to it.

I did spend time with Timothy Leary in the sixties.


Can the Archdiocese of Chicago help? Can we tell you our stories and how they lead us to have the needs we have today that the archdioceses can provide --

And set up recovery centers around the country for survivors?

Can the Chicago Archdiocese set an example for the rest of the country, now that the Chicago bishop is president of the American bishops,

In the name and my sister and me,

Show that the Catholic Church can be “Held to a moral standard higher than the general populace”?

Can we approach the archdiocese with our story and get results, even if our cases don’t fall within “general populace” law?

The Chicago Archdiocese victims assistance ministry office at 312 -- 751-5205 has a new director, Matt Honeycutt.

I’m going to call next week to see if they are interested in helping me and my sister or better yet all the thousands of survivors who can’t file lawsuits, all over the country, who still need help.

We'll see.

The Archbishop of Chicago was made president of the American bishops in November 2007 and he seems to be able to think on his feet.

The first week of December seems like a good time to call.

So, Here’s my idea in advance, Cardinal George.
Therapy for the crime victims at least as good as the church provided for the criminals

The American Catholic Church can create regional recovery centers with all the therapies and treatments given to perpetrator priests -- recovery centers of the same caliber as the Paracletes in New Mexico, but for the priest rape victims.

Therapy for the victims, not the criminals.

God knows we need it worse than the perpetrator priests do. . . .

Cardinal George, I need six months in a spa . . . so do a lot of my fellow “survivors”

Stay tuned to see what happens when I call.


AS TO SNIDELY WHIPLASH WEST: I dedicate the following to my Beverly Hills slumlord:


By Tyrone Greene
As performed by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live c. 1981

Dark and lonely on a summer's night
Kill my landlord
Kill my landlord
Watchdog barking
Do he bite?
Kill my landlord
Kill my landlord
Slip in his window
Break his neck
Then his house
I start to wreck
Got no reason
What the heck
Kill my Landlord
Kill my landlord
my l a n d l o r d


Just Kidding
I don't plan to blow up any churches either. . . .

On a more spiritual note:

This is the post I was looking for when I wrote the story about Mike Shoemaker in Arizona last February.

For the past 20 years or so I always wondered why Jesus Christ made a special point of calling a child over to him, placing the child on his knee and saying, "If anyone hurts one of these, it would be better that a millstone be tied around their neck and they be tossed into the sea".

I realized about a year ago or so that it was prophetic. He saw this coming.

Then, literally as I was typing this post, I realized something else; it was also intended to comfort us. To let us know that He most definitely sees what is going on, that He is not happy about it at all, and that He will be dealing with these perpetrators. Severely.

I don't know about you all, but this just gave me some peace.

Thanks God.

I'm actually kind of frightened for these guys now. Oh well, God knows best.

-- Mike Shoemaker (Spring 2006)

More to come. . .

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Salesians Trial Update

As of November 14th the Salesians Jury Trial has moved moved to Dept. 308, Central Civil West Courthouse, 600 South Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, Judge EMILIE H. ELIAS. No trial date has yet been set. Key persons in that court are on vacation until the end of the month. City of Angels will get more details soon. Happy Thanksgiving. . .

Monday, November 19, 2007

No date yet for Salesians trial so reading about Mahony’s lies under oath, predators in Confessionals, priests who skin cats alive -- I need a break

By Kay Ebeling

The Salesians cases November 5 jury trial still has no trial date and if that sounds Alice in Wonderland to you, it’s regular MO for the Salesians, according to Joey Piscitelli who battled the religious order in 2006 in San Francisco.

“Haven’t you noticed,” Piscitelli said, “there were hundreds of cases in LA that settled without even beginning depositions, those orders just accepted the agreement and settled, but not the Salesians.

“They take depositions of your cousins, uncles, parents, grandparents, grade school teachers, and they try over and over again to get the case dismissed.”

When I called the court clerk November 6th, he said, “Oh that case is trailing, it happens all the time. They're just waiting for a room to open up.” When I called last week his answer was more like, I have no idea what's going on. So I called Joey.

“They're stalling,” he said. “The first court date I had was in 2004, they postponed it to 2005. There were three different dates in 2005 that got postponed and then two different court dates in 2006 and then it finally went to trial.

“Any reason to drag it out, any reason to postpone,” he said as his signal was fading.

“They don’t want a settlement,” Joey said, “they want to take on each plaintiff, and they spend as much money as possible fighting and filing motions.”

“There’s no limit to what the Salesians will spend to fight a victim,” Joey said and then I lost his signal.

What happened to the blog the last few weeks?

I had ten word files going at once developing stories for this blog. The McGuire File: the Jesuit who now faces federal charges in Chicago held retreats all over the country including LA and Orange County. Father Donald McGuire was your plain vanilla pedophile back in the 1960s. But when the Catholic Church allowed him to get away with his blatant flagrantes over and over again, he got brave and pushed it to the limits. By the the 1990s he was raping little boys at family weddings where he’d just officiated, and creating victims in several states as conducted retreats all over the world.

McGuire’s travel agreement was to always have an adolescent male companion who assisted him even sleeping with him in his bedroom. What does it take for someone in Catholic Church hierarchy to notice criminal behavior?

McGuire got to many of his victims through the Confessional which is one way my perp got to me in Illinois in 1955, as did George Neville Rucker in LA in the seventies.

This blog has not forgotten you

Rucker, who preyed in South Central LA, also took little girls and boys behind the altar where, as the original complaints filed in 2003 and settled last summer read, his victims remember statues of saints glaring down at them as they were being raped.

Some say using the confessional to prey on a target is more than pedophilia, it’s also sacramental abuse, or to push the line further, ritual abuse.

So I dug in my notes and called back a few people and now I have three women, one in Ohio, one in Pennsylvania, and one in California whose stories include several priests in black robes skinning a cat alive --

Skinning a cat alive? To frighten their target? As two woman remember it, as they skinned the cat they said, “This is what we'll do to you if you talk.”

Ritual abuse seems to be rooted in Pennsylvania, Ohio, other woodsy areas.

My Perp Father Thomas Barry Horne came to Illinois by way of Pennsylvania in the 1940s.

All this stuff was whizzing through my head, plus there’s a strike rattling my job security at work.

I’m trying to write all these stories at once clicking to bishopaccountability about ten times an hour trying to keep straight which perp is in which city which years --

And I crashed, FMS flare up -- pain all over the body haven’t been able to move now for a couple weeks. It’s okay though


Since the Salesians Religious Order trial is still “trailing,” maybe someone upstairs wants me to take a break for a few weeks. Or if Joey is right, two years before the Salesians cases finally begin jury selection.

Some Roger Mahony testimony after this:

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I’m trying to get smart on the crimes of Father Titian Miani whose victims brought the complaint that led to this trial, five years later, that trial still is trailing as of a phone call I just made to Superior Court Dept 20.

I’m reading about Titian Miani and I find myself buried in trial testimony by Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles -- the man of God who blatantly lies under oath.

Q. Cardinal, when is the first time in your
12 entire life, as a layperson, as a deacon, as a priest,
13 that you ever heard of a cleric molesting a child?

14 A. The the best of my recollection would be in 1981.

Oh come on, Mahony, how could you rise from priest to bishop in California and not hear about priests’ inappropriate contact with children, when there have been thousands of cases settled and paid for by your own Church?

Father Roger Mahony was a social worker in Fresno before he went hierarchical; this guy is lying so outrageously why didn't the DA do anything about this perjury?

20 Q. When is the next time in your career as an
21 Ordinary, Your Eminence, that you had a priest in a
22 diocese that you were in charge of molest a child?

23 A. The next time, to the best of my recollection,
24 was sometime in the early part of 1984.

With priests bringing boys into seminary rectories up and down the Coast, Mahony never heard of another pedophile priest for three more years?

Mr. Mahony, you took an oath to God before you told that lie.

2 Q. Your Eminence, my question is a little simpler
3 than that. I probably didn't articulate it well.
4 Did you conduct any kind of investigation or
5 inquiry upon finding out the accusation against
6 Father Munoz?
7 A. No, because Father Munoz was in Tijuana; he
8 was not in the Stockton diocese at the time.

Thank you for being so proactive.
For the entire text of Deposition of Cardinal Roger Mahony November 23, 2004, go to


He’s not my cardinal.
Maybe Mahony’s the one who sicced Snidely Whiplash West on me and my daughter. After this:

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Google Rocks

I’m reading about Titian Jim Miani and trying to track down Jesus "Jesse" Armando Dominguez whose cases are set for trial January 28, 2008, another priest who escaped to Mexico, a Salesian this time.

Glad I didn't have to raise my kids in Mexico.

Meanwhile my landlord, Snidely Whiplash West is in his Beverly Hills high rise office scheming up reasons to put my daughter and I out of our apartment as soon as possible so he can raise the rent by 50 percent and cash in on the post-fires rental disaster that's happening in LA right now.

All this at once, and oh, yeah, the holidays, and I end up sick.

Damn PTSD induced body weirdness that so many priest rape victims live with. Sometimes no matter how many long deep breaths you take you can’t fight back the pain. I’m crippled totally, can’t walk -- haven’t left my block in weeks.

Last week I beat myself up a while for not posting anything in so long. Now it’s this week and I’m still sick and that's just the way it is. This is all there is for now.

In November 2006 I went to blogger dot com, but could not follow the instructions to start a blog at all. Then January 2007, I went back to try again.

Over the holidays last year Google bought Blogger and created Blogspot with Dashboard. So in January 2007 it only took me ten minutes and three clicks to start this blog. I put my personal story up first at cityofangels1.blogspot.com.

For about 13 years I’d been trying to write my own story but couldn't figure out who was the audience. Then I got on blogspot and just told my story to the world. Once I got it out one last time I left it there at cityofangels1 and never went back.

Then I wandered down to Superior Court to see what was going on in the civil cases pretrial hearings and covered a motion to dismiss on January 16, 2007, and the rest is history.

Or the rest is pre-history.

Imagine what we can do here in 2008.

I have no idea where the blog is going in 2008.

Soon I will have a digital camera and a travel budget so I can go around the country documenting stories and posting them as video blogs.

I have to get past this PTSD-FMS flare in time to cover the Salesians trials when they finally take place.

So I’m resting. Probably won’t post again until after Thanksgiving, but wanted to check in, say thank you to everyone who emails me and encourages me to keep writing.

City of Angels Blog hasn’t even been here a year. I think it’s okay if I take a short break. I never put up a post unless I’m moved to, so until I get moved again. . .

Oh that's part of the story of the blog. Every single one of these posts since January 16, 2007, has written itself. I’d just open a document and see what was there and it would jump up at me.

Well this week nothing is jumping up at me, other than low fat turkey stuffing recipes.

Right, low fat stuffing. . . denial, anyone?

More to come. . .

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

‘It terrified me, I knew it was going to happen again.’ Ryan DiMaria, in his own words, about his 1997 case and Michael Harris, “Hollywood priest"

(Nov.17: I'm sick, hope to post again after Thanksgiving--kay)

By Kay Ebeling
Ryan DiMaria held a gun to his head. He was 25 years old in a college dorm his head reeling. Father Harris had said he wouldn't really go to hell if he killed himself, but Father Harris, in that same role of priest and counselor, had also assaulted DiMaria sexually over and over again from his sophomore to senior year at Santa Margarita High School. Somehow DiMaria put down the gun that day and instead called his parents and told them everything. As devoted Catholics would do, they contacted the diocese.

Six years later Ryan DiMaria's 1997 case in Orange County settled for $5.2 million and DiMaria became a plaintiff attorney himself, attending law school as his case went through Orange County Superior Court. When he first approached the church there was no intent to file a lawsuit. Even after years of talking to blank faces and getting no response from church hierarchy, the DiMarias were still asking the church for help.

It was when Harris, finally removed from the priesthood, began operating non profit mobile home parks for low income families, with lots of playgrounds and activities for the children, that DiMaria became the aggressor. "I knew it was going to happen again."

Coincidentally DiMaria's family ran mobile home parks. So he had that conversations with Harris when he was in high school. He knew why Harris wanted to run mobile home parks for low income families.

He filed his lawsuit.

Recently he talked about the betrayal, the despair, trying to get his church to listen to his family's reports about Michael A. Harris, "the Hollywood priest."

The summer before his sophomore year in high school DiMaria’s friend kille,d himself. DiMaria was tormented, fearing his friend's soul was now doomed for eternity, as he'd been taught in the church. (I planned to write his story as a great work of novelization when I realized it was best told in Ryan DiMaria's own words:)

“My parents had heard all these wonderful things about Father Harris. They thought he might be the guy for me to talk to. He said, your friend is not going to hell.”

Harris was blue eyed, tanned, with brownish blond hair, “One of the most charismatic individuals I'd ever seen," DiMaria said.

"Adult women adored him. But girls were never around him, it was always just boys."

I went to talk to him about that stuff, first meeting, and he said, your friend is not going to hell.

It started with him as my therapist and spiritual counselor and there was a period there when it was good, the entire time that I knew him, the counseling was good.

Right after that first meeting we went downstairs and he pulled out his day planner and said to my parents, when can Ryan meet with me next. So we started a counseling relationship summer after my freshman year.

He suggested Santa Margarita High.

(The deadlines were long past.) Harris said, Let me see what I can do about the entrance exam and application deadlines.

Let me see what I can do?

Counseling sessions went all the way through to DiMaria’s Junior Year. Harris was known in upscale Newport Beach Catholic homes as “The Hollywood Priest.”


DIMARIA: He would take a group of kids out to dinner, to a game, and that was absolutely the most common thing.

His house operated like a dormitory.

It was a residential 3-4 bedroom house, every room was set up.

One night I went to an event with him and I’d just gotten my license. We were going to be out late, so Harris called my parents and said, why doesn't Ryan stay overnight.

My parents thought that's reasonable. Ryan will be with not only a priest but the principal of the school.

That night Harris pulled DiMaria aside.

He said, Do you want to sleep in my bed? I could see new recliner chair he’d gotten, his big screen TV in his bedroom. The chair had a woofer underneath it and speakers on the wing tips

It was going to be the “True movie experience” he’d be showing me the movie with the sound the way it was in a theater.

I was tired.

He said do you want to sleep in my bed and I said no -- and went to the other room. I woke up and he was rubbing my chest talking to me and started making bigger circles and ultimately . . .

(Edited to frustrate anyone reading this to get aroused.)

I was thinking he’s going to be so embarrassed that that happened. I went downstairs and took a shower. He was sitting in the front room. I said, “I don't understand what happened I don't want it to happen again.”

He said no it won’t

I said, I feel like I’ve almost blocked it out. He said oftentimes when we feel something traumatic we block it out.

My fear was he was going to go tell someone and I was going to get in trouble. I said promise you won’t tell anyone and he said it’s our little secret.

His victim feels sorry for him

RYAN DIMARIA CONT’D: So here I am I’m feeling horrible for him. It’s my fault. He’s almost a perfect human being.

He worked so hard to cultivate his persona

After that night, he’d sit next to me on a couch during the counseling sessions. When someone does that, you take it as, this person cares, not a sexual advance.

Then after some personal talk, he’d touch me on chest and . . .

People don’t understand why you go back.

I was always -- every time I went back I was hoping, I gotta talk to him to make sense of this in my mind. I was caught:

The only person who could understand was the perpetrator who was also my counselor, So maybe he can talk me through it.

After the second time it happened I was thinking it must be something I’m doing. I told him I didn't want it to happen and it’s still happening.

So I thought what is most powerful thing I can do and say that he can’t misunderstand.

I’m thinking he thinks I want this.

So I said to him, I don't understand why you keep doing this, I’m going to kill you. That's the most clear cut way you can say I don't want this to happen.

Harris managed to manipulate the situation so the abuse still continued. I asked DiMaria to tell me more about Harris.

DIMARIA: Harris would drink, but he was not a drunk. He drank in social settings.

With Catholics and non Catholics in Orange County, he would be invited to the biggest parties and the plays. (He now lives in Oceanside in a normal house.)

Harris had boys at his house all the time -- he had that movie theater in his house, it was the late eighties.

Going to Harris’ house was a real special thing. We’d have movie nights sodas, chips, ice cream, and everybody knew and felt special if he got invited to the principal’s house to watch movies.

Never ever once did I see or hear of a female being invited over there.

That's the way that I first came to know him, he’d call parents and say hey would Ryan like to come

During my freshman year I went to public school and I started there at Santa Margarita my sophomore year.

By the way he was friends with Michael Baker.

They were suite mates.

I think it was Llanos, Harris, a parishioner and I think Baker, he was suitemates at St. Johns Seminary in Camarillo

DIMARIA: What I believe is it (pedophilia) was and is such an acceptable part of the culture in seminary and priesthood that I think for these guys like Baker and Llanos they know it’s bad but it’s all done with a little bit of a giggle.

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DiMaria was close to suicide in his college dorm, when he called his parents and told them the whole story. They went to Monsignor John Urell to file a complaint through the diocese.

How did it go with Urell?

DIMARIA: It was surprising to me. There was no remorse or apology or sorry this happened. It was basically he asked questions and took notes the whole time and that's how it went. One question answered then another asked.

My parents weren’t supposed to come in, it was he and I only.

That's when Monsignor Urell said those famous words:

“Wow we've never heard allegations like this before.”

DIMARIA: There was no inkling given, even though at the time they’d been in four and a half years litigation over another plaintiff who’d complained about Michael Harris.

Many victims came forward a decade before me

He was very insincere.

I got together with a friend from high school where Monsignor Harris was principal. He went to Harris’ house (then on Lido I$le)

He went to get a jacket he’d left there and he said, Ryan has something to tell you.

Harris was living on Lido Island and this was after he was on administrative leave. He was living in a wealthy individual’s home who was allowing him to live there.

My friend went in and grabbed his jacket and this house was right on the water. Harris was there and my friend said Ryan has something to ask you

So I confronted him. I said, “I just want to know why you molested me?”

His response was “I thought that's what you needed at the time. I thought you needed a little extra attention.”

I immediately exploded and said what about counseling.

Harris said to me, I’m lucky to be alive and lived through this and quite frankly you are too.

DIMARIA AND his friend reported this incident and what Harris had said.

DIMARIA: So I’m thinking now the bishop has what they need, now he’s admitted it in front of two people

That wasn’t the original plan but it dawned on me afterward. So we called bishop and we met with him and I’m not sure if Urell was there.

And never heard from them after that.

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DIMARIA: We went to the church my mom went to daily St. Timothy’s Laguna Niguel and spoke to Father Bruce there.

My parents were very involved with that church there so they made an appointment to meet with Father Bruce.

Fr. Bruce knew what I was going to tell him.

I walk in and Fr. Bruce hugs and kisses me and says Sorry this happened. To me that was most inappropriate

Fr. Bruce said, How horrible it is that these priests are just being sent off to hospitals.

We knew there was admission in front of another person. We had met with bishop told him that and they said thank you very much see you later


DIMARIA: You only go through that so much before you realize they really don’t care. It was only at that point that we started to look at the church hierarchy in a different manner.

So we looked to law enforcement, looked to a civil suit,


Since the years I knew him, Harris had gotten a PhD at Pepperdine and had actually started a nonprofit in Orange County where they’d buy a mobile home park with government bonds from a private individual and then run it as a nonprofit to provide low income housing.

The thing that alarmed me is I remember him telling me about how great it was that they had these mobile home parks with playgrounds and computer rooms.

And it terrified me. I knew it was going to happen again. The reason I filed the lawsuit was not to get beat up in press and no one had gotten money yet, it was.

After the church did nothing but interrogate me and treat my family like crap, and after having an admission in front of another person and not doing anything,

It was knowing Harris was buying these mobile homes that made me file the lawsuit.


My mom and dad in early sixties and early seventies had invested in mobile home parks and since then had bought more. So we’d talked about them in the past.

I remember driving around the day and I was trying to decide if I wanted to file a lawsuit and I thought to myself this is going to be an unhappy thing and I need to feel like it’s a success otherwise I can’t do it. What if something goes wrong.

What I tell people today is when you get a settlement it’s not as if a light switch comes on and your life is suddenly bright.

I went to law school while my suit was going on, and it helped me understand the process. It didn't make me feel real comfortable but at least I understood the process, what it meant to be deposed. What else could happen.

But I’m still surprised at what the church attorneys do.

A Plaintiffs’ Attorney?

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DIMARIA: I never had the intention of being a clergy abuse or even personal injury lawyer, I actually had to fight to get onto these cases. I came to Manly’s firm as a clerk to do real estate. He never pushed and I never pushed and I never thought of doing it. It came to a point, kind of like how I felt compelled to file a lawsuit myself.

I felt compelled to take on these cases --

You make yourself so good at keeping outward appearances

I did internships, jobs, while going to college. I worked really hard and people thought that I was a success

But I was doing that to avoid thinking about what happened with Fr. Harris.

We now know that a major player in the creation of Church policy for the pedophile priest crisis was Msgr. Alan Placa who now “whispers in Rudy Giuliani’s ear” as his close friend and $100K/year advisor. (See October 30 post.) A decade later in California John Urell was putting Placa’s policy into practice when Ryan DiMaria came with his family to report Michael Harris.



Harris, known as the “Hollywood priest” because of his good looks and charisma, was a wildly popular money raiser. At the 1987 opening of the Orange diocese’s new high school “to a roar of applause from the audience, he ripped open his black clerical shirt to reveal a Superman logo. The S stood for Santa Margarita High. Harris was the guiding force behind the new school and its first principal. He had raised $26 million for the school where he found several good candidates for his bed.”

More to Come. . .

Friday, November 2, 2007

Salesians jury trial "trailing"

By Kay Ebeling

The November 5 Jury trial in the Salesians cases is now "trailing," as there are no courtrooms available, and according to the clerk in LA Superior Court Dept. 20, it will be about a week before jury selection and the trial can begin.

City of Angels Blog will keep you posted. The upcoming jury trial is for cases regarding the Salesians reglious order and Fr. Titian Miani, the last and only holdout of orders that would not agree to the LA settlement from July 16th. A second jury trial re Salesians is now on calendar for January 28, 2008.

We will keep you updated.