Brom Pushes Bankruptcy to Prevent Release of Documents Re His Own " Sexual Misconduct" in Perv Priest Civil Hearings against Catholic Archdioceses
City of Angels [California]
February 28, 2007
It's not just about the money.
Motion Compelling Deposition, Testimony, and production of documents by R. Brom et al, hearing scheduled for Feb 28 2007 canceled due to bankruptcy filing.
In deposition testimony last November Bishop Robert Brom admitted there had been an investigation into his own sexual misconduct. Documents about that investigation were about to emerge if the civil cases in San Diego had continued one more day. A motion to compel Bishop Brom to respond to questions about his specific sexual misconduct allegations was filed February 22, by John Manly, attorney for the plaintiffs, just hours before the San Diego Archdiocese announced it was filing for bankruptcy, thus putting the 140 cases regarding the San Diego archdiocese on hold.
On November 30, 2006 Bishop Robert Brom said under oath in deposition that he had been "investigated for allegations that I took part in a specific orgy at the seminary that was connected with the cardinal." When Manly asked Brom if he could turn over documents about that investigation into the bishop's sexual misconduct, his attorney Bill Whalen jumped in and got the bishop to stop talking, claiming first amendment freedom of religion rights.
Here is how I stumbled on this information:
San Diego civil case hearings that were scheduled for this morning in L.A. Superior Court just fell off the calendar as attorneys for the church, knowing the archdiocese bankruptcy would be official as of 10 AM today, did not even show up for two scheduled hearings in the San Diego cases: one motion to quash in GIC823004, and a motion for summary judgment for CIG 808368.
So after Judge Haley Fromholz denied all 38 motions to strike filed on behalf of the Catholic Health and Welfare Corporation by John Potts of the Hennigan firm, the same row of attorneys continued to stand before him.
FROMHOLZ: The San Diego attorneys do not intend to appear because of the bankruptcy. And I see that attorneys for Doe 3 are also not appearing, so number 7 is taken off the calendar as it was abandoned by the moving party, and number four was taken off by the moving party.
Number 7 was GIC 808368 so after the hearings I went down to room 106 to view documents in the free room for the public (plaintiffs, and broke attorneys, and private eyes and bloggers hang out there.)
Just out of curiosity I opened up documents on GIC 808368 to see what case came so close to having a motion for summary judgement heard today but was stopped by the San Diego Archdiocese bankruptcy. The most recent documents in this case were motions to compel Bishop Robert Brom to answer questions in deposition.
The questions that Brom is refusing to answer in depositions relate to an investigation of Bishop Brom himself for allegations of sexual misconduct. These words jumped out at me:
On November 30, 2006 Bishop Brom said under oath in deposition that he had been "investigated for allegations that I took part in a specific orgy at the seminary that was connected with the cardinal ."
At this point the bishop's attorney jumps in and tells his client to stop responding and the bishop then continued to not respond to a whole series of questions.
Attorney Manly for the plaintiffs then asks Brom to produce documents about this investigation that took place against Bishop Brom and the church attorney Whelan chimes in: I'm instructing my client not to answer until we confer" with several other attorneys. . . .
Bishop Brom let it slip that there had been an investigation of him, himself, his Excellency, the robed holy one himself -- about taking part in "this specific orgy at the seminary," like there were a lot of them?
These are the documents that the church has been losing its battle to refuse to turn over in compliance with subpoenas from the court -- items in the church's own corporate personnel files regarding sexual misconduct of the church's own hierarchy.
If the church insists it is a corporation then it has to comply with subpoenas and corporate laws like any other profit making organization.
Other questions Brom refused to answer in deposition concerned how the San Diego Archdiocese handled personnel matters re their employees -- How the priests who were sexually molesting the parishioners and their children were treated.
MANLY: When you say young adults, do you mean eighteen or over?
MANLY: So he was laicized for sexual conduct with persons 18 or older?
WHELAN OBJECTS: "We're getting into sort of religious concepts of reasons for laicization as opposed to being removed from ministry.
Manly asks about the Personnel Board of this Corporation that is the Catholic Church, the board that reviewed criminal allegations about sex molestation against priests. Manly asked about minutes of the Personnel Board meetings and Brom responded, "There aren't any."
MANLY: No minutes? Why?
WHELAN: I object again because I think it gets into canonical issues as opposed to secular.
There's a lot of back and forth between Manly and Whelan and then Manly says, I'm just asking about basic corporate practices, the minutes of a Personnel Board meeting.
(ME: Hey, bishops, if you're going to call yourself a corporation you got to play by corporate rules. )
Whelan says he's ordering his client not to answer questions about the Personnel Board to "protect his religious decisions, as a bishop, theological or spiritual decisions as an Archbishop."
Hmm, none of the personnel boards that have fired me in my life ever considered themselves to be making theological or spiritual decisions.
To View these documents go to L.A. Superior Court website, Case documents, GIC 808368 Nov 30 and Feb 22 motions and depositions. These quotes are actually in several places.
There it was on the calendar when I arrived this morning, GIC 808368 filed 2.22.07 - Motion Compelling deposition, testimony, and production of documents be R. Brom et al
And Motion to Strike 21 X and Motion to Strike 17 X in the L.A. cases JCCP4286 - and a motion to quash in another San Diego case GIC 823004.
When Judge Fromholz calls for the first Clergy Case about 17 attorneys rise from their seats, then six go up front to face the judge, three for the defendants, three for the plaintiffs.
Oh and Abrams is on the phone for the church from San Diego.
Fromholz says "re the composite motions to strike, deny all 21. The tentative is written, please don't regurgitate --
JOHN POTTS: Your honor?
And Potts regurgitates, or rather makes points that are probably meant for a future appeal, just in case.
POTTS: It's redundant, it's immaterial -- the time has expired in all 21 cases. If the entity failed to control then it's only guilty of the sex abuse in the second count -- (Cites Sunbeam) Who cares about fiduciary duties the point is the battery.
Here Potts says he's even helping the plaintiffs and I'm not the only one looking at him in amazement.
Fromholz takes it under advisement. Then onto number six. One attorney leaves so now there are five.
FROMHOLZ: I see we have the same cast of characters.
Fromholz says he's issued a 12 page tentative in the 17 motions to strike, denying them all, mainly because "issues raised have been expressed before," and then he sees John Potts squirming.
FROMHOLZ: And please don't regurgitate --
JOHN POTTS: Your honor -- it's appropriate that Alan Arkin just won the Academy Award because I'm caught here in a Catch 22.
Here is the Catch 22: "How can we deal with Certificates of Merit if we can't see the Certificates of Merit?" Potts and the Corporation That Is The Catholic Church want to be able to see and read the entire report from the psychiatrists in each case, not a cover sheet summarizing the therapist's notes.
The church wants the entire psychiatrist's report on each plaintiff to be attached as evidence to documents -- so you and I and anyone else with a credit card can go in and read them.
This from the corporation that proclaims its right to privacy and the privacy of priests' conversations with their bosses the bishops regarding criminal sexual pedophile behavior. The crimes and punishments of pedophile priests as they roamed California for 40 or so years are secret, private, but the report from the psychiatrist who interviews the crime victim is supposed to be attached so all the attorneys and anyone who views the document can read it.
The Judge denied all 17 of these motions to strike as well. The tentative was printed out but I wasn't able to get a copy. It should show up in the documents on the website by Friday.
Please Note: I try to act and sound like I'm with the Times or Vanity Fair, but truth is I do this blog on my own, in free time I find between my job and my kids. So I may not be totally accurate. I also don't get access to things like Judge's rulings as soon as they come out, the way reporters from The Times or Vanity Fair would, so I have to dig on my own through this mountain of documents.
Now if the Times or Vanity Fair wants to hire me, I'm available . . .
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