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

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

'We are not done,' said the LA DA. No wonder people want to beat up Mahony when they see him on the street

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By Kay Ebeling
After Michael Baker’s sentencing Monday, the DA said, “I have reason to believe there are other victims who have not identified themselves to law enforcement, or to our office. I hope those victims will be willing to disclose to sheriff’s investigators what happened to them.”

In other words if we want Baker to stay in prison longer than two years, and other priests and hierarchy to join him, more victims have to come forward and talk to the Target Crimes division of the DA’s office.

Meanwhile, it's no wonder people want to beat up Roger Mahony when they see him on the street, after watching the Cardinal orchestrate limp justice in the clergy cases the past five years.

Former priest Michael Baker, who preyed on Southern California and Arizona parishes for decades, looked healthy and happy in court Monday as he was sentenced to 10 years 8 months, knowing that with time off for good behavior he’d be out in about two years. Baker was clean and fresh, serene, self-assured. Plus his sentencing was cut and dried, a bureaucratic procedure really. For the first hour or so a prosecutor stood at a podium droning out rote wording, “You will report to your parole officer within five days of your release, you will report every time you change addresses.”

Baker got away with brutally raping little boys on church grounds, even after he’d been ordered to stay away from children. Will California’s wimpy criminal justice system keep him down? Will “a couple” years in a California leisure prison reform Michael Baker?

At the press conference after Baker’s sentencing, it was the lone broke blogger, me, with my Goodwill tape recorder that, yes, worked -- in a room full of mainstream media reporters -- it was the broke blogger who asked the tough questions. When I realized the rest of them had no idea what to ask, I piped in:

“Now that we know Mahony lied under oath in depositions, since what he said does not match up with the truth that's come out in civil case documents, and now that we see he continued to transfer Baker and other known predator priests to parish after parish,

“When are you going to indict Cardinal Mahony?

A laugh trickled around the press room but I wasn’t joking. DA William Hodgman, seemed surprised at the question at first. He chuckled too, then answered, “We have to follow the evidence and we will go where the evidence takes us.”

He added: “As far as cases in the future, we are not done.”

Every time I see Hodgman I get a visceral reaction. Sorry, but I can’t help it. Hodgman headed the OJ Simpson prosecution, his face was on Court TV as we all watched OJ get off for murder. OJ walked out of court a free man with much the same saunter as Michael Baker’s lilted gait as he left court Monday afternoon.

Unless more Baker victims come forward and talk to the DA, Baker will be a free man in “a couple years” Hodgman said.

Hodgman said., “All along the way despite popular sentiments, we have to be ethical, we have to be professional, and we have to proceed responsibly. To date we have brought cases where ethically we could have brought cases, and where we have cases where we have the evidence to do so--“

(I’m reminded of Marcia Clark’s endless droning in long drawn out sentences that didn’t say anything throughout OJ’s prosecution.)

Hodgman, cont’d.: “The Baker case is a fine example. The sheriff’s department did an amazing job. The sheriff did an amazing job with follow through with the investigation, developing the corroborative evidence that we needed so we could bring the Baker case.

“As far as cases in the future, we are not done. Our work is not done.”

“As far as cases in the future, we are not done. Our work is not done.”

Hodgman repeated that. He WANTS more crime victims to come forward. He wants to slap Baker and others with more charges and keep them in prison for more years.

He needs more victims to come forward. We need more victims to come forward.

Hodgman: “I have to be necessarily circumspect about where we will go. But I can tell you this, we will be consistent like we've been before.

More on Baker and Mahony after this:

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Most likely Baker will go to a privately financed leisure prison.

In California thanks to overcrowding and a totally out of whack justice system, a guy who sells a bag of crack to feed his habit does hard time for ten years -- but if you have money you can pay your own way and go to an “outsourced to the private sector” leisure prison.

California prisons are so crowded there can be 110 men sleeping in what used to be a utility room, with cots on the floor and true Third World hygiene conditions -- (You know someone is dead by the blood spilling out on the floor).

However, in California, because of the overcrowded public prisons, and our Third World Economy and current power structure, people with money--

Like former priest. Michael Stephen Baker,

almost always go to private prisons, where they pay their own way.

These are the prisons where the guys play tennis and cook their own gourmet food

That's where people with money go to serve prison terms in California --

CARDINAL MAHONY, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT but that people will want to attack you when they see you?

When you play PR games with the justice system.

You take part in a national legal strategy that causes a SMALL FRACTION of your church's crime victims to be able to come forward and go through legal processes and you pay them with

puny portions of your church’s fortune.

At the same time the Catholic PR machine puts out a major lie in the national and international media--

Mahony has said, “We hope these victims can now find closure.” He and the rest of church hierarchy now want to turn their backs on all of us, including the thousands who never filed lawsuits and haven’t been able to file criminal charges.

Mahony thinks he can go back to business as usual.

Cardinal M,

YOU ALLOWED little boys to be brutally raped, forcibly sodomized with their screams muffled in your priestly garments shoved in their faces.

YOU PROTECTED predator priests and let children leave your rectories with blood draining from their bodies.

YOU DID NOTHING


And when there was a chance to come forward and admit your crimes and face the public with humility, instead you lied.

You hired legions (actually lesions) of criminal corporate attorneys to protect the assets and asses of Catholic hierarchy, including yourself.

WITH NO CONCERN AT ALL FOR YOUR CHURCH'S CRIME VICTIMS

You showed how shallow is your apology by the way you apologized last July, to microphones, not to human beings.

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? I think even me, with my crippled nerves and lowered upper body strength.

Mr. Mahony, if I saw you unprotected on a street I’d probably pick up the first heavy object I could find and slam you over the head myself.

THAT is the kind of wrath you have incurred in people

BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DID.

What did you expect.

Better lay low for the rest of your life.

OR COME CLEAN and admit what you did

And let the whole story come out.

Every time there’s a settlement before a trial, the only one who really wins is the archdiocese that made the settlement.

BUT THE CRIMINALS ARE STILL IN THE HIERARCHY sipping sherry in very luxurious private rooms, chuckling over what they just pulled off and thinking they got away with.

They didn't.

More from the press conference after this:

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Have a cosmic experience, an ethereal renewal. Click the PayPal button at the top of the left hand column to subscribe to City of Angels Blog 21st Century Style. Send any amount of money you want to my PayPal account for “Readership” to keep the blog and the blog’s producer alive. Also every time you click on a Google ad I make something like 2 cents so Click, click, click.
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Here are my crude notes:

Hodgman: “We're going to proceed ethically, we're going to proceed professionally and we will go where the competent evidence takes us.”

Hodgman: I feel Baker’s sentencing is fair. Our two charge victims were spared the ordeal of having to go through a trial being subject to cross examination and to some degree all that goes along with having to talk about very private things in a very public forum.

So I think the disposition, the sentencing, was very fair. We had to give up something, the defense through their attorneys had to give up something. And it was a fair resolution to the case.

Hodgman, answering a reporter’s question re one of the John Doe’: “There was evidence of trips that were taken by the victim to bring him close to the defendant, but actually it was a family that moved into the vicinity of a parish in Pico Rivera and the then Father Baker befriended the family. There was a number of children. The family turned toward him and that's how it all began.

REPORTER: WHERE WAS HE WHEN THESE TWO SETS OF CRIMES TOOK PLACE

Hodgman: Well that is a little bit difficult to re-create, given where he was during the charges, when the two victims were between 14 and 18. Part of the period of time was at St. Columbkille Parish which is in Los Angeles. And part of the time when he was in the rectory at St. Camillus (de Lellis, Los Angeles). The rectory at St. Camillus.

There were other assignments during that time period as well. (He refers reporter to report from the people of God available at bishop accountability dot org and numerous other places.)

ME: HOW MUCH TIME WILL HE ACTUALLY SERVE, AND WHERE?

“In terms of where he’s going to go, we're not sure, that's up to the Department of Corrections. In terms of actual time, he, of course, gets credit for the time he spent in custody, which is now about 22 months, a little bit more, then if he, in a sense, keeps his nose clean in prison, he will be entitled to 50 percent credits, they do what they call good time work time credits.

Hodgman: “So it appears to be like a couple more years.”

MARY GRANT- will this make it easier for other victims of Baker if there are any, and what would you say to them now if a victim came forward?

HODGMAN: “Well first of all I have reason to believe there are other victims of Baker who have not identified themselves to law enforcement, or to our office. And I would hope that those victims would follow the path of John Doe and John Doe 2 which took a tremendous amount of courage, to be willing to disclose to these investigators what had happened to them.

“Specifically with regard to John Doe 2, the drama and dynamics of how he disclosed to the sheriff’s investigators probably will never come to light, but I can tell you for those who were there it was very, very profound.

“Victim Number Two had never disclosed to anyone prior to being contacted by our sheriff’s investigators, what had happened to him. And it was very emotional, very profound, and even for seasoned investigators an experience that they will never ever forget.

“I hope that other victims not only of Baker but other clergy sex abuse victims will have that same sort of strength and courage to come forward and speak to law enforcement, because the district attorney’s office will be there, as I stated.

“We will go where the evidence takes us. If there’s evidence of crimes that we can charge and prosecute, we will charge them and we will prosecute them.

JOHN SPANO (LA TIMES): How much longer do you think the investigation will last ?

John, I’ve given up any hope of trying to quantify that. In the spring of 2002 I anticipated a couple of years. It’s been well over five and a half years now so I think we will simply follow the evidence. If new evidence turns up at my doorstep tomorrow, then we're going to follow it and off we go again.

SPANO: Any new evidence since the Baker case last year that led to these charges?

HODGMAN: Yes, we have been at work in ways that we can’t address publicly but yes, new evidence has been gathered.

More to Come. . .

2 comments:

Sarah said...

This City of Angels blog today is so well written, so sincere, and so informative, my next donation to an Internet website will be this site - I'm just waiting for my Christmas bonus at work.

Thank you City of Angels lady for your dogged reporting, inspired writing, and general courage which you seem to exhibit almost daily.

Anonymous said...

You'd physically attack the cardinal if you had the opportunity?