Mahony Resources – April 1–5, 2002
IRVINE -- A woman who settled a lawsuit for $1.2 million after alleging that a Roman Catholic priest got her pregnant when she was 16 and paid for her abortion said today she will file a crime report against him.
Lori Haigh, 37, who lives in Northern California, met reporters in her lawyer's Irvine offices to talk about the settlement reached yesterday with the Orange and Los Angeles dioceses. The suit had been filed in December.
Haigh said the Rev. John Lenihan's assurances that he will ask to be defrocked by Pope John Paul II is not enough.
"I feel better knowing that Father John has agreed to be defrocked," Haigh said. "However, he belongs in jail. I am going to the police today to report these crimes."
Haigh said that after the abortion, she turned to the priest at Holy Family Cathedral for consolation. She said the Rev. Lawrence Baird began to hug her after she told him about Lenihan.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I could feel that he had an erection. Father Baird was kissing me on the mouth. I pulled away in shock, and tried to leave his office."
She said he gave her his telephone number and told her to call him if she needed to talk again.
Several weeks later, she said, she went to the Rev. John Urell, who asked, "How long have you been telling these stories? Who else have you told these lies to?"
Haigh said Urell told her he did not ever want to see her in the church again.
Both men, she said, are now high-ranking monsignors in the Diocese of Orange. Baird is communications director, whose duties include commenting to the media on matters involving the diocese, including priest molestations.
Urell, she said, was assigned "chief investigator of the `sensitive issues team' which is supposed to investigate allegations of priest molestations," she said.
The team released a report Friday declaring that the diocese had gotten rid of all priests accused of molestation.
Marie Schinderle, the diocese's director of human resources, denied the allegations regarding Baird and Urell.
"We have investigated those allegations and found they are not substantiated," Schinderle said. "We invited Ms. Haigh to come in and talk to us about it but she has not."
Schinderle said Urell heads the team that investigates complaints, but she denied that he told Haigh to leave the church.
Haigh, who lived in Villa Park while growing up, said Lenihan molested her from 1979 to 1982 -- starting when she was 14.
When she turned up pregnant, she said, he urged her to get an abortion, then withdrew the money from his bank account to pay for it.
"I cannot begin to explain the emotional torment I've lived with all of these years," Haigh said.
"I struggle with the thoughts that my first sexual experience was with a man twice my age, who was trusted by my parents and other families because he was their priest. I have never been able to reconcile the fact that the priest who preached on subjects like `abortion is a mortal sin' was the one who told me to have an abortion.
"Right about that time," she said. "he started backing off. I think he moved onto somebody else."
While confirming the case is over and revealing the name of the suspected priest, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles -- which paid 20 percent of the settlement -- stressed that the alleged sexual contact occurred about 20 years ago.
According to the Archdiocese, discussions between Haigh's lawyer and the Archdiocese "did not yield specific enough information to identify this person or confirm whether the events described by Ms. Haigh ever occurred. The Archdiocese, nevertheless, reported the allegations from Ms. Haigh's complaint to the Los Angeles Police Department."
Tod Tamberg of the Archdiocese said it "settled the case based on the estimated cost of defending against the lawsuit, not on the merits of the allegations regarding the unidentified priest."
In her lawsuit, Haigh alleged that the Orange and Los Angeles dioceses "knew that Father Lenihan had molested another girl before Father Lenihan began molesting Lori in 1979.
The dioceses knew this because the stepfather of the other victim wrote to the dioceses, warning them that Father Lenihan was having `intimate physical relations' with his 15-year-old stepdaughter," according to the plaintiff's statement.
The Los Angeles archdiocese will pay 20 percent, or $240,000, of the settlement to Haigh. The rest will be paid by the Diocese of Orange.
Katherine Freberg, who represented Haigh, also represented Ryan DiMaria in a case against the Los Angeles Archdiocese, the Orange Diocese and Monsignor Michael Harris.
In that case, the two dioceses ended four years of litigation by paying DiMaria $5.2 million and agreeing to adopt 11 policy changes, including the "zero tolerance policy" that recently resulted in the removal of up to a dozen priests from the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to the plaintiff's statement.
By Richard Winton
Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives are investigating complaints that youths at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Azusa were molested by an adult. Authorities have interviewed more than a dozen altar boys.
The allegations were brought to the attention of detectives by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles after it received a tip on its hotline for sexual abuse.
Detectives said their investigation led to conversations with alleged victims. But they declined to name the suspect, the number of victims, or which of the clergy and staff had been interviewed, saying only that the suspect is an adult associated with the church.
Sgt. Ron Waltman of the Sheriff's Family Crimes Bureau said church officials are cooperating with the investigation. "This is not going to be a protracted investigation. We're going to resolve this quickly, so that this cloud does not hang over the parish," he said.
Waltman said children at the church and adjacent school are safe. "We have no information that the offending party is at that church now," he said. Father Roque Fernandez, associate pastor, declined to comment on the probe Monday and referred questions to the archdiocese. He said the pastor, Father David F. Granadino, was unavailable for comment.
Tod Tamberg, archdiocese spokesman, said, "The archdiocese is cooperating with the sheriff's detectives, and they've asked we refer all questions to them."
Last Monday, without naming the parish, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said at a news conference that the archdiocese had turned over information from the hotline to the Sheriff's Department about an alleged incident of abuse.
The news conference followed a Mass where Mahony apologized for "the sinful and deplorable actions of a small percentage of priests" and said he had adopted a zero-tolerance policy for child abusers.
In investigating the Azusa complaint, Waltman said, sheriff's detectives on one evening last week swept across the San Gabriel Valley city and simultaneously interviewed altar boys and other youths about the allegations. "We tried to speak to as many people as we could so they could not discuss it with each other," he said.
Interviews will continue this week, Waltman said. There are about 75 altar "servers" at the church, the majority being boys in grades 5 through 8. About 200 families attend St. Frances, and 300 children attend the K-8 school.
One parishioner, Joe Rocha, an Azusa city councilman, said the probe was not mentioned during church services over the weekend. "Most of the parishioners are aware of the investigation," he said.
The archdiocese hotline on sexual abuse was established in August. It was one of 11 items required of the Los Angeles and Orange archdioceses in settling a $5.2-million lawsuit last year over sexual molestation charges involving an Orange County priest and one of his high school students.
Los Angeles -- Cardinal Roger Mahony compared the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal to a cancer and said that he refused to disclose details about priests dismissed from the Los Angeles Archdiocese at the request of police and victims, it was reported Wednesday.
Mahony, who oversees the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that the church will not be able to move forward until the "last injurious cell" is removed.
Police have launched an investigation to determine if there are any sexual abuse cases involving Catholic priests in the archdiocese. The investigation is in response to a recent Times report that said Mahony removed six to 12 priests accused of sexual abuse dating as far back as 10 years.
In the interview with the Times, Mahony did not elaborate how many priests had been dismissed or what kind of abuses had been committed. However, he did note that none of the priests were part of any ministry involving children and their cases were decades old. Most of the priests already were retired and living outside the diocese, Mahony said.
Sexual abuse allegations arose in January when it was discovered that a Boston-area priest had been accused of molesting more than 130 children in six parishes over a 30-year span. John Geoghan was sentenced to nine to 10 years in prison for groping a 10-year-old boy.
Mahony said there are only two current sex abuse cases in the archdiocese. One was reported last year, involving a permanent deacon, and another was phoned in to the archdiocese's hot line. That case includes alleged abuse of youths at an Azusa church, but it has not been determined whether it involves a priest.
Mahony said the church has complied with the law that mandates all suspected child abuse and neglect be reported to authorities.
"Our No. 1 job is to protect children and young people. Our second job is to reach out to victims in the best way we can," he said.
Mahony said two victims in the sex abuses cases asked him not to release the priests' names. One victim, who was abused as a boy, thought the revelation would damage his marriage. The other victim said he did not answer an employment question about any history of abuse. If his employer found out, he could lose his job, Mahony said.
"It's been a very, very difficult thing for me because I really sincerely believe what they (the victims) told me and the anguish of their hearts," he said. "I promised them I wouldn't do it."
Mahony denies that homosexual priests were responsible for most of the abuse and that the church's requirement of celibacy from priests is to blame.
"I think it has nothing to do with homosexuality, heterosexuality or with celibacy," Mahony said. "It is a problem of sexual maturation on the part of the priest. That's where the problem is. It doesn't make any difference who it is or what line of work they're in."
By Larry B. Stammer
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, in his first interview since the priest-abuse scandal broke, said Tuesday his refusal to give details about priests dismissed from the Los Angeles Archdiocese was based on requests from police and victims.
The cardinal, the archbishop of Los Angeles, requested an interview with a Times reporter to clear the air about the archdiocese's role in the sex abuse cases. He compared the church's sexual abuse crisis to a cancer, saying that until the "last injurious cell" is removed, the church will not be able to move on.
However, Mahony did little to clarify the types of abuses committed by the six to 12 archdiocese priests sources said he removed earlier this year. Nor would he say exactly how many priests were dismissed. He said two victims in "heart-wrenching pleas" urged him not to reveal the priests' identities.
A lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department unit that specializes in sexually exploited children cases said based on recent meetings he has attended, the church was never asked not to disclose the number of priests Mahony recently discharged.
While refusing to say how many priests were dismissed, Mahony said that none were currently involved in any ministry involving children or youths. The scandal, which has sent tremors throughout the worldwide church, erupted in January in Boston, when it was reported that a priest who had allegedly molested more than 130 boys had been transferred by superiors from parish to parish.
Boston Cardinal Bernard Law has come under pressure to resign. Mahony declined to take a stand on Law's future Tuesday, but said, "I don't know how I could face people. I don't know how I could walk down the main aisle of the church myself comfortably, interiorly, if I had been [guilty] of grave neglect." He said later in an e-mail that his use of the term "grave neglect" was not a personal judgment, but a frequently used characterization by Catholics in Boston.
While emphasizing that even one case of sexual abuse brought "terrible agony and tragedy" to the victim, Mahony said problems in the three-county Los Angeles archdiocese paled in comparison to Boston.
The cardinal also discussed the demanding regimen of celibacy, saying it was not connected to child abuse. Asked how he models a celibate life for his priests, Mahony said support groups and spirituality are essential.
"We must have a life of prayer. We need a good spiritual director, and I particularly promote the use of support groups, especially prayer support groups. I've belonged to one almost my entire priesthood," Mahony said.
The cardinal said there are only two current sex-abuse cases in the archdiocese. One was reported last year, involving a permanent deacon. Another, involving the abuse of youths in an Azusa church, was recently phoned in to the archdiocese's hotline. Mahony said it has not been determined whether that case involves a priest. Sheriff's detectives on Monday said they were investigating but would not identify the suspect.
Mahony said the paucity of new cases shows that the archdiocese's sexual abuse policy, first put in force in 1988 and strengthened last month, is working.
He said current cases of priestly abuse are handled openly and that there is no hesitancy to inform a parish when circumstances warrant. The church, he said, fully complies with the civil law that mandates that all suspected child abuse and neglect be reported to authorities.
"Our number-one job is to protect children and young people. Our second job is to reach out to victims in the best way we can," Mahony said. Next, he said, parishioners and priests need support during a crisis Mahony called "one of the most difficult things I've ever been through."
Mahony stressed that all of the recently dismissed priests were involved in old cases, many of them decades old, and that they had been through the criminal justice system. Their names, he said, had been known to law enforcement officials.
Two victims in the old cases, Mahony said, pleaded with him not to release the names of the abusing priests because the records would also show the names of the victims. In one case, a man said the disclosure that he had been sexually abused as a boy would threaten his marriage. In another case, a man who was abused told Mahony he had managed to avoid answering an employment question about any history of abuse. If it came out that he had been abused as a youth, the man told Mahony, he could lose his job.
Mahony acknowledged during questioning that it may appear that he is protecting the priests and not the victims. But he said he was convinced by the two victims who feared releasing the priests' names would "lead to their front door."
"It's been a very, very difficult thing for me because I really sincerely believe what they [the victims] told me and the anguish of their hearts. I promised them I wouldn't do it."
Repeating a statement from a week ago, he said that he had no objection if victims want to disclose the names of their priest offenders.
Mahony said he was convinced by church attorneys that it would not be practical to name a specific number of dismissals because there were several reviews of old cases.
The archdiocese, Mahony said, has gone so far as to ask the LAPD to look at old cases that fell in the jurisdiction of other police departments. Mahony said some smaller departments had, in effect, dropped the ball years ago and that the archdiocese wanted to be sure nothing had gone unnoticed. He declined to name the smaller departments he had in mind.
The Times reported on March 4 that six to 12 priests had been dismissed by Mahony in February, according to sources in the church. Mahony at the time refused to confirm or deny the report. Later, he said only that "a few" priests, almost all of them retired, were involved.
"There was no Black Monday when all of a sudden a bunch of people got dumped," Mahony said Tuesday. He said most of them were already retired. Some were living outside the archdiocese. But he said he took action because they receive pensions from the Los Angeles archdiocese and remain canonically attached as priests to the archdiocese.
Some dismissals were delayed until February, he said, to make sure the priests had a supportive environment. "If you just toss them out on the street, and with great trauma, maybe that triggers acting out again, endangers youth again," Mahony said.
He added that most of the priests agreed that the church had to dismiss them, although it was difficult for some of the men because they had had a clean record since their cases were disposed of by the criminal justice system.
Mahony rejected suggestions by some conservatives in the church that homosexual priests were responsible for much of abuse.
"I think it has nothing to do with homosexuality, heterosexuality or with celibacy," Mahony said. "It is a problem of sexual maturation on the part of the priest. That's where the problem is. It doesn't make any difference who it is or what line of work they're in."
Eventually, Mahony said some good will come out of the scandal.
"I've been doing a lot of reflection during Holy Week and preparing for Easter," he said. "Out of all this bad and evil has come some good. Maybe that's always true in God's plan," he said. "The controversy is a purification that will only make the church stronger and more humble and better."
Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this story.
by Steve Lopez email@example.com
Well, there goes another round of Sunday offerings. Your Easter tithes won't pay for hymnbooks or boost the salaries of underpaid Catholic schoolteachers, but will go straight into the scandal management fund.
You read about these sex abuse cases each day and wonder if the national spectacle of hypocrisy and betrayal can get any more outrageous, and now we know the answer is yes. The latest case involves an Orange County priest who allegedly got a teenager pregnant roughly 20 years ago and then quietly paid for her abortion, breaking perhaps a half-dozen commandments in this one relationship alone.
But I can't say I'm surprised. The priest happens to be an acquaintance of mine. Father John Lenihan got the boot from his Dana Point parish last year after filling my ear with details of another, unrelated molestation, and "several" relationships with women, four of which he called serious. Shortly after I wrote about it, I got a message from Lori Haigh under the heading: "Father John molested me."
Haigh went on to say:
"I went to the authorities. I was called a liar by priests in high places. I was crushed."
In other words, it was like a lot of mail I get.
Haigh, whose old wounds were reopened when she read my columns about Father Lenihan, decided to do something about it. On Monday, the Orange and Los Angeles dioceses paid $1.2 million to settle her lawsuit, and then she filed a criminal complaint against Lenihan, who has finally been asked to leave the priesthood now that his sins are costing the church real money.
But no matter how unforgivable those sins, the Father Lenihans of the church constitute a minority of priests, and are not the biggest part of the problem. The greater obscenity is described in a single sentence of Lori Haigh's e-mail to me.
"I was called a liar by priests in high places."
On Monday, Haigh said two other priests ignored her pleas for help when she was being molested. Those two priests now happen to be high-ranking officials in the Orange Diocese, and one is in charge of molestation cases.
Is Haigh lying about her rebuffed pleas for help, as one of those two officials said Monday?
I can't tell you the answer. But I can say that throughout the country, priests have climbed to the highest levels of church leadership by keeping their mouths shut about their own sins and those of others, protecting the church's public image even at the cost of crushing victims and putting more people within reach of known predators.
That doesn't mean there's a greater percentage of pedophiles inside the church than outside, as readers keep telling me. In fact, based on six months of interviews with priests and parishioners, I can tell you that priests having sex with women, seminarians and other priests is far more rampant than the abuse of children.
But church practice has always been to keep quiet about uncomfortable realities. And so now we have Boston, and West Palm Beach, and questions about what church leaders knew in New York and Los Angeles and dozens of other places in this country and around the world.
The lesson of so much public shame is as obvious as the cross on top of every church: The silent priest is as dangerous as the abusive one. And yet we still can't get simple answers from the likes of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, who refuses to explain why recently dismissed priests had been kept on the job if they were known molesters.
Lori Haigh was not the first teenager Father Lenihan went after. The first was Mary Grant, whose father complained way back in 1978 to the then-cardinal. Rather than calling the police or at least defrocking him, church officials kept Lenihan's career kicking along nicely. When I met with him, it was at a well-heeled church with an utterly spectacular ocean view. Tall and tanned, he spoke of his jogs on the beach.
Lenihan came to my attention last year as part of the $5.2-million sex abuse settlement involving Msgr. Michael Harris in Orange County. An ex-bishop was asked in deposition about priests like Lenihan being kept in jobs where they could do more damage, and the bishop all but vilified Lenihan's first victim, Mary Grant, saying she might have been "very precocious or adult-looking."
Yes, and so was Lori Haigh. Two teenagers, molested by a priest twice their age, were probably asking for it.
When I challenged the ex-bishop's remarks about Lenihan, he said I had "no integrity" and added, "I wouldn't talk to you if the pope told me to."
Of course he wouldn't.
For the first 2,000 years, at least, silence has served church leaders well.
by Dana Parsons
Words of praise rang out for Bishop Tod D. Brown. The head of the Orange County Catholic diocese was lauded for his openness, for making public what his predecessors hadn't. "There's relief that disclosure has become part of our Catholic tradition," another Catholic clergyman said.
That was 15 months ago, after Brown had made available to every parishioner who attended Sunday church services a detailed four-page report on the diocese's finances. Even for those not especially audit-oriented, the report heralded a new era in church candor.
Ah, the good old days when Catholic Church openness meant the budget. Here we are just past the Easter season a year later, and Brown once again has opened up. He's once again talking about things long kept locked in a drawer.
Once again, he's being praised.
When Brown came to Orange County in mid-1998, he surely never thought part of his legacy would be how he responded to the explosive issue of sexual misconduct in the local Catholic clergy.
It will be. And just as Cardinal Roger Mahony in Los Angeles, a former seminary classmate of Brown's, so far has not quelled the anger and suspicion surrounding the scandal, Brown largely has.
"There is a difference between the way Cardinal Mahony handled these allegations as opposed to Bishop Brown," says Katherine Freberg, an Irvine attorney who has represented two clients who settled separate lawsuits against priests in the neighboring dioceses. "Bishop Brown has come forward with the names of priests in his diocese, which is so important to the victims and really important to protecting the public. That very fact alone leads me to believe that Bishop Brown is trying to air out all these issues and no longer be secretive."
Their religious standing aside, the heads of large dioceses are also chief executives. When Brown opened the books, he showed parishioners returns on investments and bottom lines. We probably shouldn't be surprised that CEOs handle their businesses differently.
To be sure, Mahony has decried the growing national and local scandal in the Catholic Church but at times has come across as defiant or defensive.
Brown has taken another tack.
Freberg hasn't met Brown or Mahony but is struck by their differing responses. "It's puzzling to me when I see the bishop acting so differently than Cardinal Mahony," she says. "I don't have an answer."
That brings us to a lesson that all CEOs should learn in business school or seminary: When scandal lands at your doorstep, full disclosure is the only game plan that works.
Mahony hasn't learned that yet, saying he won't release the names of all known abusers from years past--even though he believes it to be a small number--because doing so could traumatize the victims again.
That response, even if he believes it intensely, just won't wash.
"Any time there's not full disclosure," Freberg says, "there's always distrust there. And there hasn't been full disclosure [from Mahony]."
Full accounting, Freberg argues, goes beyond merely naming names from yesteryear. "In talking with victims, they hold the shame for so long, partly because they think they're the only victims. So many of them blame themselves. They say, 'This is a priest. How could this man, who is the closest person we know on Earth to God [be doing this]? It must be something I did.'"
Realizing there were other victims, Freberg says, helps ease that shame. "For some reason, it gives them strength to know they're not the only ones."
Cardinal Mahony oversees a huge diocese, with four times the number of parishioners as that in Orange County. That makes him a powerful, influential figure.
But in these troubled times, that's not enough to keep his decisions from being questioned.
"I think heads of organizations who are not forthcoming are concerned about what lies ahead," Freberg says. "I just can't help but think the reason why Cardinal Mahony is concerned with disclosing names and [parishes where offending priests served] is because he thinks it would open the floodgates."
One woman's opinion, and she may be dead wrong. But you can't blame her or anyone else for thinking it out loud.
Mahony has a lot on his mind. This would be a good time for a call to his old classmate, Tod Brown.
LOS ANGELES -- Cardinal Roger Mahony told one of his lawyers in a recent e-mail that the diocese made a mistake by not turning over three cases involving priests accused of wrongdoing to the LAPD.
"It was a huge mistake on our part," Mahony wrote in an e-mail dated March 27, according to the Los Angeles Times, which obtained some of the cardinal's e-mails.
"If we don't, today, 'consult' with the Det(ective) about those 3 names, I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a Grand Jury proceeding and I will be forced to give all the names, etc."
The Times has previously reported that Mahony released the names of between six and 12 priests accused of sexual misconduct.
The archdiocese has declined to say precisely how many priests overall have been implicated in the scandal, but the e-mails the Times obtained suggest the actual number is eight.
"If I recall, of the 8 priests involved, 5 have already been reported to local law enforcement agencies," Mahony wrote. "That leaves 3."
The archdiocese tried Thursday to prevent publication of e-mails between Mahony and his lawyer pertaining to the sexual misconduct of priests. The contents of some of those e-mails were broadcast earlier Thursday by KFI Radio talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Champou.
At a hearing Thursday night, Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe refused to grant the petition of Sister Judith Ann Murphy, Mahony's attorney, to block publication by the Times of information contained in the e-mails.
"That's what I don't think the Constitution permits me to do," Yaffe said in a ruling handed down just before midnight Thursday.
Donald H. Steier, attorney for the archdiocese, said the e-mails were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Before the hearing, Los Angeles Times counsel Karlene Goller asked Steier, the lawyer for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, if the e-mails were authentic.
"Yeah, they are," Steier answered, according to the Times. "We wouldn't be here if they weren't."
The e-mails the archdiocese was seeking to keep secret include communications between Mahony and his staff, including his lawyers, the Times reported.
In one, Mahony urged that his lawyers and aides meet with a police detective and clarify that all priests implicated with possible wrongdoing had been discussed with authorities, according to the Times.
In addition to the five priests already reported to authorities, Mahony suggested that three more needed to be discussed with police.
Repeatedly stressing the gravity of the situation, Mahony said he was preparing a response to police Chief Bernard Parks and wanted to be able to tell Parks "that every single case of the few priests was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency over the years."
The following week, in an interview with the Times, Mahony declined to disclosed how many cases were involved but said that in two instances, victims made "heart-wrenching pleas" to him not to disclose the identities of the priests.
Near the end of the March 27 e-mail, Mahony reiterated his concern about the growing scandal and its implications for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
"If we don't take immediate, aggressive action here-the consequences for the (archdiocese) are going to be incredible," Mahony wrote. "Charges of cover up, concealing criminals, etc., etc."
The archdiocese claims its computer system was hacked, that the e-mail was obtained through "unauthorized access."
Los Angeles Superior Court documents that Murphy filed allege that a series of e-mails between herself and Mahony was obtained through "unauthorized access."
Murphy claims Kobylt and Champou "boasted of having `hacked' or gained unauthorized access to the archdiocese computer" during a broadcast Thursday.
Ray Lopez, producer of KFI's John and Ken Show, called that allegation a "lie" and said the documents were sent to the station via e-mail from an anonymous source.
Murphy claims KFI broadcast the contents of several e-mails Thursday.
She contends the improperly obtained computer files contain "attorney- client privileged communication to and from me relating to ongoing investigations of allegations of sexual impropriety made against some agents of the archdiocese."
The information "candidly refers to some of the alleged victims in these cases," she alleged.
The breach of security was discovered Thursday, court documents state.
Murphy contended that the computer files should only have been available to "those few employees authorized to use and access them."
Asked whether the source of the e-mails was an archdiocese employee, Lopez said: "It very well might have been ..."
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For many attorneys, the crowning achievement of their legal career is a judicial appointment. The honor marks the pinnacle of their success and can be the ultimate affirmation of their integrity, good judgment, and status as a lawyer. For Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP attorney Chuck Goldberg, that honor came early. He was appointed a Denver District Court judge in 1974 at the young age of 34 and, after four years on the bench, aspired to be back in private practice. Goldberg is a passionate, hard-driving, and competitive attorney who realized he liked the challenge of trying cases on the other side of the bench.
Goldberg might well be the youngest judge ever to have served on the Denver District Court, or any court in Colorado. When he decided to step down in 1978 and reenter private practice, he considered several Denver law firms and was presented with a number of opportunities. With his rock-solid reputation, he could pretty much write his own ticket. He knew he wanted to practice with intelligent, respected attorneys who were dedicated to the practice of law. He wanted to work with lawyers of integrity who wouldn't hesitate to work for the benefit of the community without necessary regard for compensation. There were several lawyers at the Rothgerber firm who met his criteria, including Bill Johnson, Dick Clark, Jim Lyons, and Ira Rothgerber, Jr. (now deceased), to name a few. He knew that it was just the kind of firm where he could flourish. Naturally, the firm's leadership was equally impressed with Goldberg and he was soon invited to join the ranks.
While most attorneys tend to focus their practice on a specific area of the law, Goldberg has always maintained a diverse practice. A preeminent litigator, he has handled cases dealing with everything from free speech and free exercise of religion to bankruptcy, from personal injury to antitrust, from probate to real estate disputes. Add his judgeship to this broad base of experience and it becomes difficult to find a more well-rounded trial lawyer.
[Photo Caption - Church and State:Honey and Chuck Goldberg (center) with John J. Cardinal O'Connor, the late Cardinal of New York.]
The diversity of Goldberg's practice opened the door for him to focus on a unique specialty of the law: religious institutions law. In 1981, he was asked by a good friend and general counsel for the Archdiocese of Denver to assist on a high-profile antitrust case that had been filed against the Archdiocese by a group of disgruntled local morticians who were upset that the Archdiocese, a nonprofit corporation, had opened a mortuary in direct competition with their for-profit businesses. The group pulled together and sued the Archbishop—a rare event then and now. Given the threat and serious nature of the litigation, the Archdiocese wanted some outside assistance and called on Goldberg.
The following year, the attorney who was general counsel for the Archdiocese unexpectedly passed away. The Archdiocese needed ongoing legal help and asked Goldberg to step in as general counsel. He accepted and has served in that capacity ever since.
Considering that Goldberg is Jewish, it's remarkable that he has remained the Archdiocese's general counsel for almost 20 years. When you think about the politics, that fact alone speaks volumes about his legal abilities. Monsignor Walker Nickless, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Denver and Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Lakewood, has worked with Goldberg for many years. "Even though Chuck is Jewish, he's incredibly sensitive to the needs of the Catholic church and the role of the Bishop," says Nickless. "His knowledge of church doctrine and the Catholic faith is remarkable. He's a wealth of information, not only on matters of the law, but about the church as well."
[Photo Caption - Chuck Goldberg and his wife Honey enjoying the company
of J. Francis Cardinal Stafford, President, Pontifical Council for the
Laity, at a recent Archdiocese of Denver dinner.]
According to Goldberg, the issues facing religious organizations are not all that different from those facing for-profit entities, and that's where his diverse practice has been an asset. Churches must deal with matters touching on virtually every legal discipline, including school law, real estate, zoning, corporate organization, taxation, and employment law. But there are circumstances unique to religious organizations that make the practice especially intriguing to Goldberg. For example, First Amendment religious freedom issues are frequently involved in resolving disputes for churches. Goldberg loves the intellectual challenge of ensuring that these unique issues are properly recognized and addressed.
A New Kind of Judge
Goldberg's practice isn't limited exclusively to religious institutions. He still handles traditional litigation for a variety of business clients and has become an advocate of alternative dispute resolution. He frequently conducts arbitrations and mediations for clients in the firm's moot courtroom. This role fulfills his continuing desire to function in a judicial role. He's proud to be able to offer this service at the firm. "Our moot courtroom is not moot at all but a very vibrant and alive courtroom," he says. "I'm thrilled to be a part of this activity for our clients."
A Champion for Integrity
Goldberg is all about integrity and professionalism and takes a dim view of attorneys who are less than ethical in their practice of law. As in any profession, there are a few dishonest people who take advantage of their clients for financial gain. Goldberg has been a champion of the effort to provide recourse for victims of this type of "fleecing" by attorneys. He serves as the founding chair of the Board of Trustees of the recently formed Colorado Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection. The Colorado Supreme Court established this fund in 1999 to compensate clients who have been defrauded by dishonest lawyers.
To qualify for compensation, victims simply need to establish that they have had an attorney-client relationship in which their lawyer has stolen money from them or has received a retainer, but has not provided any service for their benefit. "Most of these are very sad cases that frequently involve people who can least afford the injustice," says Goldberg. "But I'm proud to say that since the fund started, we've been able to compensate most people for nearly 100% of their losses."
According to Goldberg, the fund is approaching $1 million and is beginning to generate substantial income. It is funded by all lawyers in Colorado when they pay their annual license fee, of which approximately $15 is allocated for this cause. The seven-member Board of Trustees meets quarterly to review claims and award payments to victims. Payments are currently limited to $5,000 per claim, per person, with a maximum of $20,000 to be paid out for each dishonest lawyer. As the fund grows, Goldberg hopes to raise these minimums so more victims can recover all their losses.
Goldberg is a successful lawyer not only because of his skill and integrity but also because of his commitment to serving his clients. His mantra is to provide the best service possible, as quickly as possible, and at the least cost possible to reach his client's desired outcome. "I try to let my clients know that I take their problems as seriously as if they were my own," he says.
Clients appreciate Goldberg's dedication. Dr. Daniel Teitelbaum has been a client for nearly 30 years and couldn't be happier with his work. "Chuck is insightful, always available, and remarkably perceptive about my needs and goals," confides Teitelbaum. "When I call Chuck, I get a call back right away—no matter where he might be in the world. There's simply nobody better. Working with Chuck is wonderful."
Goldberg doesn't do it all alone. He's backed by the talent of the more than 60 attorneys at the firm, many of whom are recognized leaders in their legal specialties. Most important, he's not afraid to use them when it's in his client's best interest. "Chuck knows how to use the enormous resources of the firm if he feels that there is someone else who could do a better job," says Teitelbaum. "With Chuck it's not about his ego. It's about the best result for his client."
Goldberg is a trusted advisor to several of his longtime clients. He is frequently asked to give business advice on issues beyond those with just legal implications. "It used to be that lawyers shied away from giving business advice and kept their input to the pluses and minuses of an issue from strictly a legal perspective," says Goldberg. "The reality is that clients will inevitably get to the bottom line and ask, 'What would you do if you were in my shoes?' And, rather than dancing around the question, I attempt to honestly answer that question to the best of my ability. Of course, the final decision is the client's."
Compassion is another quality that has contributed to Goldberg's success as a lawyer—and as a man. Nothing has brought out his compassion more than his recent representation of a client who was catastrophically injured. "When you see what injured people and their families have to endure to simply survive and rebuild their lives, it really goes to the heart of what you as a lawyer can do to help others," he says. "I am currently serving as guardian ad litem for an injured person and have not only witnessed the day-to-day struggles faced by the client and her parents but also their courage. It helps me understand the serious impact my actions can play in their future. I really have to deliver. There is no other way."
Home and Family
Goldberg shares his life with Honey, his wife of 40 years. The couple has three grown children who remain central in their lives. Todd, their oldest, works for Arthur Anderson & Co. and lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. Their second child, Greg, has followed in his father's footsteps for a career in law and is currently an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado. Greg and his wife Vikki are expecting their first child (and the Goldbergs' first grandchild) in January 2002. Their youngest child, Dianna, works as the associate director of the Colorado Forum, a public policy firm located in downtown Denver. She recently ran her first marathon under the watchful eyes of her proud parents who were there to cheer her on.
[Photo Caption - Chuck's mother Miriam Goldberg (left) with Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, and Chuck and Honey Goldberg at an Archdiocese event.]
In his limited free time, Goldberg enjoys the active life. He frequently skis Colorado's many mountain resorts and snowshoes in the backcountry. When the weather is balmy, you might find him on the links, although he's not particularly proud of his golfing abilities. "I can still whale a ball but my score is very poor," he muses. He also enjoys time on his bicycle, exploring the scenic bike trails that wind their way through Denver.
A shutterbug of sorts, Goldberg explores his creative side with a camera taking black-and-white photographs. He has built a darkroom in his home and enjoys creating and manipulating images of people and nature. He and Honey enjoy traveling together and recently took a photo safari to Africa where they camped at some of the most pristine game preserves on the African continent. They were able to get up-close and personal with all varieties of wild game. It was a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience for both.
If you're looking for a lawyer who brings loads of passion, integrity, and compassion to his practice, you might want to contact Chuck Goldberg. The law is his calling and he thrives on the variety and intellectual challenge that each new matter brings. For him, every day is a new challenge, a new story, and a new principle of the law. "The law is a living, vibrant, and evolving organism that helps keep the wheels of society moving," he explains. "Every day there's a new problem that requires a different and creative legal solution."
There are few attorneys better equipped to respond to today's complex legal challenges. And few more dedicated to serving the needs of clients. Give him a call—let him create a solution that's right for you and your organization.
LOS ANGELES -- A former priest and associate of Cardinal Roger Mahony was arrested today in Ventura County and charged with 10 counts of child molestation involving four victims in the mid- and late-1970s.
Carl Sutphin, 70, allegedly molested the victims, ages 9 to 12, when he was alone with them on a fishing trip, on the way home from a trip to a mission and during a confession administered face-to-face in a victim's bedroom, according to Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten.
No one for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was available for immediate comment this evening.
If convicted of all the charges against him, Sutphin could be sentenced to up to 17 years in prison.
Sutphin, held in lieu of $100,000 bail, worked as a priest at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo from 1971 to 1975, then as a priest chaplain at St. John's Hospital in Oxnard from 1975 to 1991, according to the District Attorney's Office. From 1992 to 1995, he worked as a chaplain at Nazareth House in Los Angeles. Most recently, Sutphin was the associate pastor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles until he retired last year. Before that, he lived with Mahony at St. Vibiana's Cathedral in 1995, when he was an associate pastor there, according to the District Attorney's Office.
By Jessica Garrison
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese told one of his lawyers in a recent e-mail that the diocese made 'our big mistake' by not turning over three cases involving priests accused of wrongdoing to the LAPD, according to e-mails obtained Thursday by the Los Angeles Times.
"It was a huge mistake on our part," Mahony wrote in an e-mail dated March 27. "If we don't, today, 'consult' with the Det[ective] about those 3 names, I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a Grand Jury proceeding and I will be forced to give all the names, etc."
Since The Times reported that Mahony had released between six and 12 priests accused of sexual misconduct, the archdiocese has declined to say precisely how many priests overall have been implicated in the scandal.
For the first time, the e-mails suggest that the actual number is eight.
"If I recall, of the 8 priests involved, 5 have already been reported to local law enforcement agencies," Mahony wrote. "That leaves 3."
That and other e-mails emerged at the center of an extraordinary legal debate late Thursday night, as a lawyer for the archdiocese sought to prevent publication of e-mails between Mahony and his lawyer pertaining to the sexual misconduct of priests. Some of those e-mails had been broadcast by KFI Radio talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Champou on Thursday afternoon; KFI was named in the action brought by the church, but did not appear in court.
After the archdiocese lawyers contacted the show, Kobylt and Champou stopped reading the emails and began a heated discussion of their contents. Church officials reported the matter to the FBI, where a spokeswoman said the bureau was investigating whether Mahony's e-mail had been "compromised and leaked."
By Thursday evening, church officials had turned their attention to blocking publication of the e-mails by The Times. But Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe refused to grant the petition of Sister Judith Ann Murphy, Mahony's attorney.
"That's what I don't think the Constitution permits me to do," Yaffe said in a ruling handed down just before midnight.
Donald H. Steier, attorney for the archdiocese, said that the e-mails were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Before the hearing began, Los Angeles Times counsel Karlene Goller asked Steier, the lawyer for the archdiocese, if the e-mails were authentic.
"Yeah, they are," Steier answered. "We wouldn't be here if they weren't."
A terrible harm would be inflicted upon the archdiocese by publishing the documents, he argued, while there was no harm at all in asking the newspaper to wait a few days before publication.
"Whether or not it's attorney-client privilege is irrelevant," argued Kelli Sager, the lawyer representing The Times. "The California Constitution provides an absolute right to publish."
The move by the archdiocese represented a highly unusual attempt to block publication of information that it considered sensitive. Such moves, known as "prior restraints," almost never are granted by courts, and when they are, they almost inevitably are overturned on appeal.
In this case, Steier, the lawyer for the church, maintained that California law prohibited the "use" of material that was illegally obtained.
The U.S. Supreme Court, however, held last year that if a news organization lawfully obtains such information, the First Amendment protects the organization's right to publish it. Sager cited that case Thursday night as the hearing approached midnight, and Steier conceded that he could not produce cases with the legal authority to overcome that argument.
"I don't have authority," he said. "I wish I had authority."
The e-mails that the archdiocese was seeking to keep secret include communications between Mahony and his staff, including his lawyers.
In one, Mahony urged that his lawyers and aides meet with a police detective and clarify that all priests implicated with possible wrongdoing had been discussed with authorities. In addition to the five priests already reported to authorities, Mahony suggested that three more needed to be discussed with police.
Repeatedly stressing the gravity of the situation, Mahony said he was preparing a response to Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks and wanted to be able to tell Parks "that every single case of the few priests was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency over the years."
The following week, in an interview with The Times, Mahony declined to say precisely how many cases were involved, but said that in two instances, victims made "heart-wrenching pleas" to him not to disclose the identities of the priests.
Near the end of the March 27 e-mail, Mahony reiterated his concern about the growing scandal and its implications for the Los Angeles archdiocese.
"If we don't take immediate, aggressive action here-the consequences for the [archdiocese] are going to be incredible," Mahony wrote. "Charges of cover up, concealing criminals, etc., etc."
By Leon Drouin Keith
Los Angeles - Leaked e-mails sent by officials and attorneys with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles paint a picture of an organization scrambling to defend its handling of sexual abuse by priests even as more allegations surface.
"It's the new cases ... that keep the story alive," Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote Wednesday in an e-mail. "With our various cases now I don't even know what the numbers (of accused priests) are myself!"
The e-mail was among about 60 released by radio station KFI of Los Angeles on Friday. Talk show host Ken Champou said they came from a listener who had contacted the station through its Web site.
The Los Angeles archdiocese - the nation's largest - went to court Thursday to prevent KFI and the Los Angeles Times from disseminating related e-mails, but a judge rejected the request.
In a letter faxed to The Associated Press and others, archdiocese attorney John P. McNicholas exhorted media outlets not to publish the e-mails and return to him any copies they receive. Publishing the communications "will violate state and federal statutes and tort law regarding invasion of privacy," he wrote.
Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg's only comment on the e-mails Friday was that they were "illegally obtained" and that the FBI, Los Angeles Police Department and federal prosecutors had been contacted.
"Beyond that, I would say the people who are in ministry positions in the archdiocese are in full compliance with California law in the mandatory reporting of child neglect and sexual abuse," Tamberg said. The law requires priests, teachers and others to report abuse allegations.
FBI spokesman Matt McLaughlin said agents were investigating whether someone obtained the e-mails through hacking or other illegal means.
Pressure on the archdiocese to release information on alleged sexual abuse among priests increased when the Times reported last month that six to 12 priests accused of wrongdoing dating back as far as 10 years had been removed.
The archdiocese has not released the number of priests removed, although Mahony has said some priests have been ousted and that the archdiocese cooperates with law enforcement when accusations arise.
The e-mails - most of them marked "privileged client-attorney communication" - show top-level archdiocesan officials learned about the removal of at least two priests just last month. Both were members of religious orders, meaning they did not work directly for the archdiocese.
The e-mails indicate officials were concerned about priests beyond "the big 8" Mahony referred to in a March 30 memo to his attorney, Sister Judith Ann Murphy.
In an earlier memo, Mahony told Murphy the archdiocese made a "huge mistake" in failing to turn over three sexual abuse cases involving priests to police, and urged her to talk with detectives about the cases.
"It was a huge mistake on our part," Mahony wrote. "If we don't, today, 'consult' with the detective about those three names, I can guarantee you that I will get hauled into a grand jury proceeding and I will be forced to give all the names, etc."
In other e-mails, officials warned Mahony against overstating what the archdiocese's response has been in communications with media and law enforcement.
For instance, a draft of a letter to Police Chief Bernard Parks "gives the impression that for years we gave names over to law enforcement contemporaneously with the time we learned of events," Monsignor Craig A. Cox wrote March 28. "If an example of even one case comes out where we didn't pass on the name then, but only more recently, it will blow up."
The issue of how much information to release to police is discussed in several e-mails.
In the case of one priest under scrutiny, "I am leaning towards giving it to the LAPD to review," Mahony wrote in a Monday e-mail. "We could be very vulnerable on any case where there is a dispute among folks, and we have not referred it out."
In preparing Monsignors. Cox and Richard A. Loomis for interviews with investigators, Murphy wrote, "Remember Sergeant Joe Friday - 'Only the facts, sir, only the facts.' ... Do not volunteer information. This is not a session to be chatty."
In some cases the desires of victims complicated the release of information, Mahony wrote March 30 after meeting with three victims "from very old cases, two from the big 8."
"All insisted strongly that I not release the names of their perpetrators since their personal lives would be placed in jeopardy - marriages, jobs, etc.," Mahony wrote.
In his Wednesday e-mail, Mahony estimated that by mid-May, "any new problems will have been uncovered, and that we can begin the healing process over the coming months."
LOS ANGELES -- A woman who won a $1.2 million settlement after saying a Catholic priest impregnated her and paid for her to get an abortion has passed a lie-detector test in her attempt to prove two other priests ignored her pleas for help.
The two priests who 37-year-old Lori Haigh says refused to help her two decades ago are now senior officials of the Diocese of Orange -- Monsignor Laurence J. Baird, a diocesan spokesman, and Monsignor John Urell, the diocese's vicar general.
At a news conference Monday, Baird threatened Haigh with a defamation of character lawsuit. Baird was responding to Haigh's press conference earlier on Monday where she named him as the unidentified priest described in her lawsuit who kissed, hugged and rubbed himself against her after she confessed to him a relationship with another priest when she was 16.
She named Urell as the other unidentified priest cited in the lawsuit, which was settled on Easter Sunday for $1.2 million -- 20 percent of which is to be paid by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the balance, by the Diocese of Orange.
At her news conference in Irvine on Monday, Haigh alleged that Urell called her a liar and told her to stay away from the church when she told him about her sexual relationship with the Rev. John Lenihan.
Urell, who handles accusations of sexual abuse by priests for the diocese, has denied the allegations, church officials told the Los Angeles Times. Baird and other church officials could not be reached for comment Thursday night, according to the newspaper.
The lawsuit that Haigh has now settled alleged Lenihan sexually molested her, got her pregnant at age 16 and paid for the abortion. Lenihan has not admitted to any of the allegations.
Thursday, Haigh took a two-hour lie-detector test, which she paid for. It was administered in Los Angeles by Dr. Edward I. Gelb, past president of the American Polygraph Association, the Times reported.
Gelb said Haigh scored "plus-15" on the test, adding that only plus-4 is needed as conclusive evidence that she was not lying about her meetings with Baird and Urell.
"She's telling the truth," Gelb, whose celebrity clients include the parents of JonBenet Ramsey and Snoop Dogg, told the Times.
Haigh, a San Francisco mother of two, said she quickly set up the test because she felt "revictimized" when Baird said Monday he did not remember meeting her, has never made "inappropriate contact" with anyone in 33 years as a priest and has "no idea what motivates her to make such an insidious allegation."
Katherine K. Freberg, Haigh's attorney, told the Times: "We challenge Monsignor Baird to take a lie-detector test from a qualified polygrapher."
by Steve Lopez
I've never been in the public relations business, so Cardinal Roger Mahony can feel perfectly free to ignore the advice I have for him regarding the sex abuse scandal. But it seems to me the Los Angeles archdiocese is in desperate need of assistance.
In an effort to "clear the air," Mahony met with a Los Angeles Times reporter this week, which was a very good idea on his part. But it seems to me that "clearing the air" entails answering some questions, and as reporter Larry B. Stammer pointed out in his story, the cardinal did not exactly knock the ball out of the park in this regard.
It would have been nice to finally find out how many priests Mahony dismissed recently, so we don't have to keep referring to a number between six and 12. Heck, it would have been nice to at least have the span narrowed a little. I mean, Mahony could have said, "OK, it's between seven and 11 priests, or between eight and 10." Over the course of several weeks, taking little steps, he might have gradually worked his way to the truth. But no. We got nothing out of him.
I've seen a memo that suggests the number is eight. If it's true, what does the cardinal have to lose from sharing this with us? By not telling us the real number, we're left with no choice but to wonder if maybe it's even more than between six and 12.
Maybe it was between eight and 14. Or maybe the cardinal doesn't even know himself, and is embarrassed to admit it.
Now here's another question: Was it out of line for me to think that in clearing the air, the cardinal might actually explain what these six to 12 priests did, where they did it and to whom?
Can't we at least get ballpark figures on the number of victims? Was it between six and 12, 12 and 24, or 24 and 48?
Again, nothing but stonewalling.
If you're not going to answer basic questions, all you accomplish is to keep getting those very questions tossed back at you.
I know this to be true because just Thursday, I e-mailed the cardinal a few questions that have been gnawing at me.
To name just one, I still don't understand how an undisclosed number of priests, some of whom the cardinal admits have been through the criminal justice system, only recently became a matter of concern.
I thought a zero-tolerance policy was just that, and then we find out that known sex offenders were hanging around doing who knows what?
The cardinal e-mailed me back to say he wasn't answering any of my questions.
His prerogative, of course. But it's just not good PR.
The cardinal did tell Stammer he's concerned that releasing any names would invade the privacy of the victims, which sounds wonderfully compassionate and even makes perfect sense until you consider that we don't publish the names of sex abuse victims unless they want us to.
So I don't know what to think, except that maybe the archdiocese isn't providing the names of these sex offenders for a reason other than all-around warmth and goodness.
Maybe the diocese is afraid that the priests who were still on the payroll had multiple victims, and that if the names were published, it would bring more lawsuits.
"Cardinal Egan released all the names in New York, and I'd like to see Mahony do the same thing," Sue Griffith said Thursday as she prepared to leave her home in Long Beach and join in a demonstration outside archdiocese headquarters.
"As names get out there, victims are coming forward, and they're the ones who have been suffering in silence and in pain, secrecy and shame."
Griffith speaks from experience.
"I am the mother of the first victim of Father Ted Llanos to come forward in Long Beach. Because we were finally able to get his name out, 20 more victims came forward.
"Cardinal Mahony says his policy of taking care of the victims has been in place since 1988, but in our case the church used every legal technique available to keep it from going public.
"When I met with Cardinal Mahony, I told him: 'You know, out of everyone in the church we've talked to about the molestation of our son, nobody was outraged, and you're not either.' He said, 'I used to be outraged; now I'm just saddened.'"
With that, Griffith headed into Los Angeles to keep the heat on, a mother on a mission, asking nothing more than the truth.
Bishop Accountability © 2003
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