Dallas Resources – October 1997
By Brooks Egerton
The first female top official in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas' 107-year history will investigate complaints about priests and study other concerns of parishioners, Bishop Charles V. Grahmann announced Wednesday.
Mary Edlund, a longtime diocese employee and close adviser to the bishop, has been named to the new post of vice chancellor. She joins Bishop Grahmann, Vicar General Glenn "Duffy" Gardner, Chancellor John Bell and chief financial officer Michael Weis at the top of the hierarchy.
Since losing a $119.6 million sexual-abuse lawsuit in July, diocese representatives have talked about increasing lay involvement and authority in church matters. And, in general, there's "a growing trend toward utilizing the talents of lay people," said National Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesman Bill Ryan.
Still, some experts on Roman Catholicism said that high-level appointments like Mrs. Edlund's are rare.
"Normally, bishops only have priests deal with priests," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, an author and fellow at the Woodstock Center at Georgetown University. "It was always felt that you needed a priest to understand a priest and his issues.
"Appointing a lay person and a woman to this position would be quite unusual and innovative."
Bishop Grahmann and Mrs. Edlund were unavailable for comment Wednesday, diocese spokeswoman Lisa LeMaster said.
She predicted that more high-profile changes would come soon.
"Things are not the same anymore," Ms. LeMaster said. "When tough stuff happens, you have to look and relook at how you're doing business."
In recent weeks, Bishop Grahmann has pressed one priest into early retirement, suspended another, removed the executive director of Catholic Charities and taken the Catholic schools superintendent out of his Cabinet.
"One should read into recent personnel changes and announcements that rules, regulations and discipline will be strictly enforced," said a recent article in Texas Catholic , the official diocesan newspaper.
The diocese continues, meanwhile, to seek a reversal or reduction of the record-setting judgment. It argues, among other things, that nine of the 11 plaintiffs who alleged abuse by suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos filed suit after the legal deadline.
Gail Pawlik, the mother of two plaintiffs, questioned how sincere the changes can be while the suit is appealed.
"I have no faith in the people at the top," she said, and won't "unless we get a new bishop and start off fresh."
One Dallas-area priest praised Mrs. Edlund as "generally respected and an honest person." But he cautioned that she may encounter skepticism from some of his colleagues.
"Some older guys will be outraged at anybody looking over their shoulder," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "You'll have some who'll be sexist because she's a woman."
Others, the priest suggested, will wonder whether a nonpriest can get access to enough information to do the job. And "the true cynics," he said, will ask, "Does it mean anything?"
Mrs. Edlund is charged with "consolidating various procedures for handling letters of concern, complaints and recommendations" a diocese news release says.
"It's going to clarify for people how to be heard," Ms. LeMaster said.
Mrs. Edlund will be "specifically responsible for coordinating with various advisory boards of the diocese so that prompt follow-up action is taken on matters of pastoral concern," the news release says. "Mrs. Edlund will be representing the bishop when meeting with these boards."
Bishop Grahmann also announced creation Wednesday of a "pastoral concerns commission" that will include lay advisers and work with Mrs. Edlund. Membership hasn't been finalized, the diocese said.
Mrs. Edlund, 49, has worked for the diocese for nearly two decades, most recently as director of pastoral planning and research. Earlier, she served as an associate director of religious education.
The mother of four has a master's degree from Catholic University of America, the diocese news release says, and is active in the Greater Dallas Community of Churches.
[Photo Captions: Mary Edlund . . . new vice chancellor has worked for the diocese for nearly two decades.]
By Brooks Egerton
Windle Turley, attorney for the 18-year-old plaintiff, suggested that more cases could be on the way.
Mr. Turley said his client was abused from the late 1980s until late 1992, with the last incidents occurring when the priest returned to the Dallas area on short leaves from pedophilia treatment in New Mexico.
At that point, Mr. Turley said, "the diocese had not warned any of the parents" why Mr. Kos had been removed from St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Ennis.
Lawyers from the Dallas firm of Haynes and Boone will defend the diocese, a diocesan spokesman said. The lawyers declined to comment, saying they hadn't studied the suit yet.
Mr. Kos, who also is named as a defendant, declined to comment Friday. He is now living under an assumed name in San Diego.
The negligence, fraud, concealment and conspiracy allegations in the new lawsuit parallel those made in a case the diocese recently lost and is appealing. A jury awarded 11 plaintiffs $ 119.6 million - the largest clergy-abuse judgment in U.S. history - and urged church leaders to "admit your guilt."
Bishop Charles V. Grahmann has apologized for the abuse but rejects the jury's finding of gross negligence. The lead defense attorney during the trial, Randal Mathis, has argued that the judgment exceeds the diocese's ability to pay, that nine of the 11 plaintiffs filed suit after the legal deadline and that the trial judge improperly allowed evidence of abuse by priests other than Mr. Kos.
Haynes and Boone is working with Mr. Mathis on the appeal.
As the trial was about to begin in May, the new plaintiff told his father that he, too, had been abused by Mr. Kos.
The father was called as a defense witness in the trial, testifying that he long trusted Mr. Kos. When the priest was sent away for "stress" treatment, he agreed to store his belongings in an attic.
Not until the first suit was filed in 1993 did the man learn of the pedophilia accusations, he told The Dallas Morning News in an interview in July.
In testimony, he said that Mr. Kos often visited his business with boys from church and stayed at his house when he was out of town.
"It appeared to me that he was a fatherly influence," he told the court. "I looked at it as a faith-enriching experience for the young boys to spend time with a young, physically fit, active priest."
Mr. Turley has estimated that Mr. Kos abused as many as 50 boys during his 11-year career as a priest in the Dallas diocese.
"A lot of people have been talking to us and are debating whether they want to put themselves through this agony," the lawyer said.
No damage amount is stated in the new lawsuit, which was filed in Dallas County state district court. The plaintiff is identified only as John Doe XII.
Mr. Turley said his client's abuse started at age 7 or 8, younger than other known victims of the suspended priest. The boy and his family were parishioners at St. Luke Catholic Church in Irving, where Mr. Kos was pastor from 1985 to 1988.
Mr. Kos remained in contact with, and further abused, the boy after being transferred to Ennis, Mr. Turley said.
The victim has also requested a criminal prosecution, Mr. Turley said. A spokesman for the Dallas County district attorney's office declined to comment.
Mr. Kos already is under indictment in Dallas County on two criminal charges of sexual abuse, and other civil plaintiffs have also filed affidavits of prosecution. A decision could come late this month on how many of those cases, if any, go to trial.
The diocese, meanwhile, faces more civil trials in connection with alleged abuse by two other priests, the Rev. Robert Peebles and the Rev. William Hughes.
Plaintiffs in those lawsuits are represented by attorney Sylvia Demarest, who worked with Mr. Turley in the original Kos case. She said she has no plans to file further Kos-related suits.
By Ed Housewright
A jury went "ballistic" when it awarded sexual-abuse victims $101.6 million in actual damages against the Dallas Catholic Diocese - an amount that could "bring financial ruin" to the diocese, a church lawyer argued at a hearing Thursday.
Nina Cortell also said it was "ridiculous" to conclude that the diocese conspired with suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos to abuse the boys, as the jury found July 24.
She argued to State District Judge Anne Ashby that the jury's verdict should be thrown out or that the award for actual damages should be no more than $60 million - the amount sought in plaintiffs' court papers.
The plaintiffs also sought $86 million in punitive damages for a total of $146 million. The jury awarded $119.6 million - $101.6 million in actual damages and $18 million in punitive.
Plaintiffs' lawyer Windle Turley chastised Ms. Cortell for saying that the jury's "mental anguish" awards were excessive.
"Statements like `the jury went ballistic' come from a person who was not here to share with the jury the anguish and mental pain the young men went through," Mr. Turley said.
Ms. Cortell works for the prominent Dallas law firm of Haynes and Boone, which was hired after the verdict.
The hearing on several post-trial motions will continue Friday, and Judge Ashby, who presided at the trial, is not expected to issue any rulings this week.
Once she officially enters the judgment, the diocese has 30 days to file a motion for a new trial. It has vowed to appeal the verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, a process that could take up to four years.
As an example of what Ms. Cortell called the excessive jury awards, she cited the case of plaintiff Jim Sibert. Mr. Turley had sought $2.5 million for him for past and future mental anguish, and the jury awarded $8.2 million.
"Twelve very sane, very rational people came to this conclusion," said Mr. Sibert, who was not at the hearing. "They were from all walks of life, and they heard the evidence. No amount of money would be enough."
Ms. Cortell said it was "unthinkable" that the jury found that Mr. Kos was acting "in the course and scope of his employment" with the diocese when he committed the sexual abuse.
"The verdict is full of red flags," she argued. "There are findings in the verdict that jump out and say, `No how, no way, never. ' "
Jury forewoman Susan Koons defended jurors, saying they were "intelligent, caring and had an open mind. " "It was proven time and time and time again by the plaintiffs' attorneys that both Kos and the church were at fault," said Ms. Koons, who was not at the hearing.
"There was no defense. It really has disappointed me so much in the Catholic Church that they cannot accept the fact that they made a mistake. I'm surprised at the tactics they're taking."
Ms. Cortell also argued that nine of the 11 plaintiffs filed their suits after the statutes of limitations had expired. The suits, in most cases, should have been filed within two years of their 18th birthdays, she said.
"While it may seem harsh, it's very critical to the system that people be required to come forward when they are of the legal age to do so and have the requisite knowledge," Ms. Cortell said.
She pointed out that the sexual contact with several plaintiffs continued until they were into their 20s and argued that they became consensual.
During a break in the hearing, plaintiffs' attorney Sylvia Demarest said experts testified during the 11-week trial that clergy sex-abuse victims have great difficulty coming forward.
"There's a lot of medical support for what they did," Ms. Demarest said, referring to the plaintiffs.
She and Mr. Turley also disputed Ms. Cortell's contention that the $101.6 million award for actual damages would "bring financial ruin" to the diocese. The jury's total award of $119.6 million is the largest clergy-abuse judgment in U.S. history.
"That's a scare tactic," Mr. Turley said. "That's simply not true."
Ms. Demarest said, "They're whining."
Ms. Cortell was followed by another attorney from Haynes and Boone, Sharon Freytag, who argued that the diocese was not grossly negligent in its supervision of Mr. Kos, as the jury found.
"There's an absence of outrageous, egregious, atrocious, intentional behavior," Ms. Freytag said. "The diocese moved deliberately according to canon law. " Mr. Kos, 52, is accused of sexually abusing boys at churches in Dallas, Irving and Ennis from 1981 to 1992.
Mr. Kos, who already faced a criminal trial on two sexual abuse charges, was arrested in San Diego last week on eight other sex-related charges out of Irving.
Three of the charges are for aggravated sexual assault, which carry up to a life sentence and a $10,000 fine on each count.
Mr. Kos "absolutely" maintains his innocence, his attorney, Brad Lollar, said at the time of the arrest.
By Brooks Egerton and Michael Saul
Rudolph "Rudy" Kos came home in handcuffs, green shorts and a bulletproof vest Friday, given extraordinary protection en route to jail because of death threats.
Head bowed and jaw clenched, the suspended Roman Catholic priest strode into the Lew Sterrett Justice Center booking area without comment. Later, he was put in protective custody - a one-man cell with its own shower, and a chance to use the exercise room when no other inmates are present.
Two Dallas County sheriff's deputies picked up Mr. Kos earlier Friday in San Diego, where he had been held since being arrested last week on eight counts of child sexual abuse. He has declared himself innocent.
Mr. Kos said little of substance on the American Airlines flight to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Deputy Billy Little said, and "slept most of the way. " One thing Mr. Kos did make clear: "He wanted to come back on his own instead of being brought back. " He had returned voluntarily and posted a bond in 1996, when he was indicted on two sexual-abuse charges.
Deputy Little said he had done his share of high-profile prisoner transfers, including that of former Methodist minister Walker Railey, who was accused of choking his wife. But he said he had never before needed to outfit a prisoner in body armor.
"And I've been doing this for 10 years," the deputy said.
Dallas County sheriff's officials wouldn't elaborate on the threats that led them to take such precautions.
Mr. Kos' bail remains set at $400,000 on the eight new charges.
A bond-reduction hearing and an examining trial - at which prosecutors must outline the basis for the charges - have been scheduled for Friday.
"We are going to prosecute this like any other case in here," lead prosecutor Howard Blackmon said.
Also Friday, a Dallas County grand jury will review the charges against Mr. Kos. He's accused of molesting four boys in Irving, where he was pastor of St. Luke Catholic Church in the mid- to late 1980s.
All of the complainants in the criminal case are young men involved in civil suits against Mr. Kos and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Mr. Kos' attorney, Brad Lollar, said his client is "kind of upbeat" and anxious to tell his side of the story. The lawyer said he doesn't know of any evidence that supports the charges other than the accusers' testimony.
"The question," he said, "is whether they are telling the truth, whether they are exaggerating the truth, whether or not there is any basis in truth," for the accusations. Mr. Kos has said he does not even know some of the complainants.
Mr. Lollar said he hasn't decided whether to try to move the trial out of Dallas County because of heavy publicity. Mr. Kos' name was in the news almost every day this summer because of a suit that ended with the diocese judged liable for $119.6 million in damages.
By Ed Housewright
A hearing on a $119.6 million jury award to sexual-abuse victims erupted into shouting Friday when a plaintiffs' lawyer accused an attorney for the Dallas Catholic Diocese of blaming the victims.
Windle Turley said it was "unfortunate" that church attorney Nina Cortell "decided, as the diocese has before, to blame those young men for the sexual abuse after they were 18 years old."
"The last person to do that was Monsignor [Robert] Rehkemper," Mr. Turley continued, referring to the former No. 2 diocese official.
"This is unfair," countered Ms. Cortell, whose objections were sustained by the judge. "I've been misstated. I never blamed those boys. For him to say in a public forum that I blamed the victims is wrong, and I object to it."
Three months ago, a Dallas civil jury awarded the record $119.6 million to 11 plaintiffs after finding the diocese and suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos liable for the abuse.
Mr. Kos, 52, is accused of sexually abusing boys at churches in Dallas, Irving and Ennis from 1981 to 1992.
On Friday, Mr. Kos was returned to Dallas from San Diego where he was arrested last week on eight sex-related charges out of Irving. He has denied the charges through his attorney. Mr. Kos remained in Lew Sterrett Justice Center on Friday night.
"I can excuse Rehkemper for saying that because he was old and ignorant," Mr. Turley said. "He got what he deserved." In an interview with The Dallas Morning News , Monsignor Rehkemper said the plaintiffs bear some responsibility for the abuse. Monsignor Rehkemper, 73, resigned 10 days later as pastor of All Saints Catholic Church because of the remarks.
"I would ask that he be instructed not to use the word `blame,' " Ms. Cortell said to state District Judge Anne Ashby. "It's unfounded, it's unfair, and he's playing to the press."
Ms. Cortell argued during the two-day hearing, which ended Friday, that Judge Ashby should throw out the verdict or limit the award for actual damages to $60 million - the amount plaintiffs sought in court papers.
The jury in the 11-week civil trial instead awarded $101.6 million in actual damages and $18 million in punitive damages for a total of $119.6 million.
Judge Ashby, who also presided over the trial that ended July 24, would not say when she expected to make a ruling.
"We're saying there's no evidence to support the jury's findings," Ms. Cortell said after the hearing. "Absolutely none." Ms. Cortell works for the prominent Dallas law firm of Haynes and Boone, which was hired after the verdict.
Mr. Turley, who represents eight of the 11 plaintiffs, argued that the evidence supports the verdict.
"The jury decided the issue," he said. "That's what we have juries for. We can't come in here and second-guess them without a good, valid reason, and we don't have anything like that."
Sylvia Demarest, who represents the other three plaintiffs, agreed.
"It's over," she said. "It's done. The evidence is overwhelming. This verdict is ironclad."
Before his arrest last week, Mr. Kos already faced a criminal trial on two sexual abuse charges.
Three of the new charges are for aggravated sexual assault, which carry up to a life sentence and a $10,000 fine on each count.
Mr. Kos "absolutely" maintains his innocence, his attorney, Brad Lollar, said at the time of the arrest.
During the hearing Friday, Ms. Cortell questioned why the plaintiffs waited up to 10 years after their sexual abuse stopped to file lawsuits. In most cases, the suits should have been filed within two years of their 18th birthdays to fall within the statute of limitations, she said.
The timeliness of the suits has been a major point of dispute between attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the diocese. The church maintains that nine of the plaintiffs filed their suits beyond the statute of limitations.
But plaintiffs' attorneys contend that several factors extended the filing deadline for those victims. For instance, they pointed out Friday that the jury determined that six of the plaintiffs were of "unsound mind. " Mr. Turley and Ms. Demarest said this meant those victims were so traumatized by the abuse that they couldn't have acted sooner.
Ms. Cortell argued that the plaintiffs still didn't file their suits on time.
"Everyone regrets it [the abuse] occurred," Ms. Cortell said.
"But it doesn't mean these plaintiffs have a special place in Texas jurisprudence. Like all plaintiffs, they must bring their suit within a number of years."
She argued that the victims, who were as young as 9 when the abuse occurred, realized that the sexual contact with Mr. Kos was wrong years before they filed suit.
"The issue is the plaintiffs' knowledge," Ms. Cortell said.
Mr. Turley said that even if the plaintiffs knew the sexual contact was wrong, "once they're seduced and bonded to a predator like Rudy Kos and trust the church, they can't do anything about it. It's like a cocaine addiction."
Ms. Cortell said there was no "direct evidence" that a 21-year-old man who committed suicide had been sexually abused by Mr. Kos. Jay Lemberger's parents, Pat and Nancy Lemberger of Nacogdoches, were among the 11 plaintiffs. A psychiatrist concluded that Jay had been sexually abused.
"It doesn't surprise me," Ms. Lemberger said of Ms. Cortell's remarks about her son. "It's kind of typical of someone trying to get out of something. If you could have read his journals and looked at his artwork, you could see he was just crying out to tell somebody, but he couldn't."
Mr. Turley argued that the diocese "empowered him [Mr. Kos] to be a seducer."
"Rudy Kos could not do to those young men what he did had he not been a priest," Mr. Turley said.
By Michael Saul
The Dallas County district attorney's office says it will seek Tuesday to dismiss two sexual abuse indictments against suspended Catholic priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos because the charges fall beyond a 10-year statute of limitations.
Mr. Kos returned to Dallas last week to face eight other child sex abuse charges. Those cases are to be reviewed by a Dallas County grand jury Friday.
Assistant District Attorney Howard Blackmon, the lead prosecutor in the Kos sexual abuse cases, said Monday he plans to dismiss the current indictments against Mr. Kos and focus on the eight new charges, which are related to incidents that allegedly occurred in Irving. A change in the interpretation of laws governing the statute of limitations has prompted the dismissal, he said.
"That's two down and eight to go," said Mr. Kos' criminal defense attorney, Brad Lollar, who filed motions Monday seeking dismissal of the indictments. "They obviously read it [the motions] and agreed "
In the older cases, filed in May 1996, Mr. Kos is accused of having sexual contact with an 11-year-old boy in 1983. In the second charge, Mr. Kos is accused of engaging in a sex act with a 15-year-old boy in 1984, records show.
In reference to those cases, Mr. Kos has said "he did not do the act that they accused him of," Mr. Lollar said.
Mr. Kos, 52, is being held at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center with bail set at $400,000. He was free on bail on the two older cases when authorities arrested him in connection with the eight new charges on Oct. 15 in San Diego.
An examining trial, a hearing at which prosecutors outline evidence, and a bond reduction hearing are scheduled for Friday in state District Judge Janice Warder's court.
Mr. Lollar, who said he spoke with Mr. Kos Monday, said his client is eager for the criminal case to begin with Friday's hearings. At the examining trial, Mr. Lollar said he hopes to determine whether the state has any evidence other than the testimony of Mr. Kos' accusers.
On July 24, a Dallas civil jury awarded 11 plaintiffs $119.6 million - the largest clergy-abuse judgment in U.S. history - after finding the Dallas Catholic Diocese and Mr. Kos liable for the abuse.
Mr. Kos never showed up for the civil trial. At its start, state District Judge Anne Ashby found him liable for the abuse because he never responded.
By Brooks Egerton
All the suits are in the court of state District Judge Anne Ashby, whom the diocese unsuccessfully accused of bias after it was judged liable for gross negligence in the case of suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos.
Now some of the diocese's co-defendants in upcoming trials - involving former priest Robert Peebles and suspended priest William Hughes - are making similar bias arguments in a bid to prevent Judge Ashby from hearing those cases.
Judge Ashby has declined to recuse herself, just as she did in the fight over post-trial motions in the Kos case. That again puts the matter before Judge McDowell, who presides over the judicial region that includes Dallas County. He declined to comment Monday.
The first time around, in the Kos case, Judge McDowell initially said he planned to hear the recusal motion against Judge Ashby. But he stepped aside after first revealing that he's a "cradle Catholic" who contributes money to his church and later acknowledging that he'd had a private conversation about the motion with a lawyer close to the diocese.
In stepping aside, Judge McDowell asked Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips to assign a judge to hear the recusal motion. It went to visiting state District Judge Roger Towery, who kept Judge Ashby on the case.
In the Peebles and Hughes lawsuits, Judge McDowell told plaintiffs' attorney Sylvia Demarest that he planned to assign the recusal motion himself.
Ms. Demarest protested, filing a motion late last week to remove Judge McDowell and to let Justice Phillips make the call again.
"As you must know, the Dallas Diocese is the primary party in all of the above cases," she wrote the judge.
"If you are disqualified because of a financial interest from hearing the motion to recuse Judge Ashby in the Kos case, there is no material reason why you should not be disqualified in the above cases as well."
Among the co-defendants seeking to recuse Judge Ashby in the Peebles case is the Archdiocese for the Military Services, under whom Mr. Peebles served for a time as a chaplain. He is accused of molesting four plaintiffs, with most of the abuse allegedly occurring in the Dallas area and one attack occurring on a Georgia military base.
The archdiocese's Dallas attorney, John Palter, declined to comment Monday. In court papers, he argues much as the diocese did earlier - that Judge Ashby showed bias in remarks, made outside the jury's presence, about the case's "tragedy" and later, after the verdict, by hugging plaintiffs.
Ms. Demarest said the judge addressed her comments equally to plaintiffs and defendants and also hugged people from both sides.
Mr. Peebles, who became a lawyer after leaving the priesthood, is a defendant in the suit but has not filed a recusal motion. He is representing himself, though he has acknowledged in a deposition that he molested several Dallas-area altar boys.
Also seeking to disqualify Judge Ashby is Dr. Ray K. McNamara, a Dallas psychologist to whom the diocese long referred clients. He is a defendant in both the Peebles and Hughes cases.
Plaintiffs say that he improperly persuaded abuse victims he was treating not to prosecute, while also treating some priests and being paid by the diocese.
Dr. McNamara's attorney, Lancaster Smith Jr., complains in court filings not only about Judge Ashby's remarks and hugs but also about her rulings in the Kos trial involving his client. He argues that she unfairly restricted Dr. McNamara's right to counsel in that trial, during which he testified and evidence about the Peebles and Hughes cases was introduced.
Mr. Smith said he plans to challenge Ms. Demarest's motion to disqualify Judge McDowell, calling it "substantially and procedurally without merit." Judge McDowell may have acknowledged potential conflicts regarding the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Mr. Smith said, but he "did not acknowledge anything about Dr. McNamara and the military "
Ms. Demarest accuses the diocese of conspiring with its co-defendants to conceal abuse - charges that all the defendants are fighting. Because of that relationship, she said, Judge McDowell should have already bowed out.
"Why did he not disqualify himself? " she asked. "Why are we still spending money on this? Why are we still spending time on this? "
By Brooks Egerton, Michael Saul
Although Rudolph "Rudy" Kos says he's not guilty of sexual abuse charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life, he has told a psychiatrist that he molested about 20 boys.
The suspended priest's attorney said he learned from a reporter Wednesday about the 1992 statement, which was made to a doctor working with a Catholic treatment center in New Mexico.
Dr. Jay Feierman's written account of the admission accompanied a deposition he gave to plaintiffs who recently won a landmark civil verdict against the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Mr. Kos' criminal-defense attorney, Brad Lollar, previously had maintained that he knew of no evidence against his client other than the testimony of former altar boys.
"I'm not aware of any confessions," said Mr. Lollar, who will get his first glimpse of the prosecutors' case in a hearing Friday.
Mr. Kos has not responded to interview requests since being brought back to Dallas last week from his San Diego home. He remains jailed on eight charges involving four alleged victims, with bail set at $400,000.
In a May interview with The Dallas Morning News , Mr. Kos denied abusing some of the civil plaintiffs and wouldn't discuss "which ones I had sex with." He said he'd never been interested in "little boys" and maintained that he had overcome his attraction to teenagers through therapy in New Mexico.
"I accept responsibility for anything I may have done," Mr. Kos said. "I'm sorry for that."
Dr. Feierman interviewed Mr. Kos shortly after the diocese sent the priest into treatment in October 1992, when the first person known to have alleged abuse came forward.
"He estimates that he has been sexual with about 20 minors," Dr. Feierman wrote.
He said that Mr. Kos recalled five or six victims at his first parish assignment in the early 1980s, at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas; three or four in the mid- to late 1980s at St. Luke Catholic Church in Irving; and 10 in the late 1980s and early 1990s at St. John Nepomucene in Ennis.
The boys are not named, and Mr. Lollar said it's possible that none of them are accusers in the criminal cases.
Those cases are all from Irving, with some dating to the 1980s and others to late 1992, when Mr. Kos took a leave from treatment and returned to the Dallas area. At the latter point, the diocese had not told parishioners that Mr. Kos had been sent to New Mexico because of a molestation allegation.
The four criminal complainants are involved in civil litigation with the diocese, accusing it of conspiring to cover up Mr. Kos' behavior.
Mr. Lollar questioned whether the psychiatric document could be used as evidence in a criminal trial. If Mr. Kos believed that Dr. Feierman was a "functionary" of the church, the document would be private and inadmissible, he said.
"I believe that is going to fall under a privileged communication," Mr. Lollar said.
Fred Moss, a Southern Methodist University law professor and expert on evidence rules, said prosecutors should have no problem getting the document admitted.
"Generally, any statement made by the defendant can be brought in," said Mr. Moss, who testified for the plaintiffs in the civil trial. "That's how they get an awful lot of criminals - because they told someone about what they did." Mr. Moss doubted that the document would be deemed a "privileged communication" because it became public during civil litigation.
"Once the cat's out of the bag," he said, "you can't put it back in." Using the admission doesn't violate Mr. Kos' Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Mr. Moss said, because "it wasn't made under the compulsion of the state." Assistant District Attorney Howard Blackmon, the lead prosecutor in the Kos cases, declined to comment on the admissibility of the document.
The document states that Mr. Kos has read it and asked for two clarifications.
One change simply added a description of roughly when he had fondled two boys. The other was an insistence that 18 of the 20 boys were asleep when he used their feet to sexually gratify himself.
Responded Mr. Blackmon: "Our people aren't going to be testifying about what they dreamed. "
By Ed Housewright and Brooks Egerton
"The bishop has instructed us to take every step to resolve this tragedy and provide financial support to these plaintiffs . . . and get on with the business of the church," said George Bramblett Jr., who was hired after the record $ 119.6 million judgment against the suspended priest and the diocese in July.
"If we have critics out there who are saying, All the bishop is trying to do is appeal and spend money with lawyers,' that's wrong."
The diocese's insurance companies - Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. and Lloyd's of London - are to blame for the failure to reach a settlement because they won't pay and the diocese doesn't have enough money, Mr. Bramblett said. The companies say the jury's finding of intentional misconduct by the diocese is not covered by their policies, Mr. Bramblett said.
The diocese sued the insurers less than 24 hours after the verdict July 24 to try to force them to pay.
The plaintiffs say the diocese has not tried hard enough to settle the case. But they agree with the diocese on one point: The insurance litigation should be transferred to the trial judge's court.
"These insurance carriers have abandoned the diocese at our greatest hour of need," Mr. Bramblett said in a meeting he and other diocese representatives had Tuesday with The Dallas Morning News' editorial board. "They sat in the back of the courtroom and watched us go down. And after it happened, they haven't lifted a finger to help us.
"We have been victimized by Kos just like the plaintiffs have."
A lawyer for Lloyd's of London said it was "exploring all options."
"We've been attempting to cooperate the best we can with the diocese," said Catalina Sugayan.
Attorneys for Interstate Fire & Casualty did not return telephone calls.
Mr. Bramblett said the two insurance companies have settled sexual-molestation claims against other Catholic dioceses around the country under the same policy the Dallas diocese had.
Ms. Sugayan declined to address his statement.
The diocese's insurance coverage, he said, is "more than adequate" to pay the $ 119.6 million jury award, the largest ever in a clergy sexual-molestation case.
The diocese wanted to settle the Kos case before trial, but the insurers didn't offer enough to the plaintiffs, Mr. Bramblett said.
"They did offer some small amount," he said. "But there was not substantial progress towards any resolution on a settlement."
The pretrial settlement requests by the plaintiffs - ranging from $ 1 million to $ 2.5 million each - were "certainly reasonable given the events that took place," church attorney Werner Powers wrote to lawyers for Interstate and Lloyd's this month.
That statement conflicts with one made in a church document shortly after the verdict. A document titled "The Twelve Questions Most Commonly Asked" about the case said the diocese couldn't settle because of "unrealistically large sums of money demanded by attorneys."
On Tuesday, Mr. Bramblett said the diocese has "very limited" assets - nowhere near enough to pay the jury award - and probably could not get money from Catholic sources outside the diocese.
"The diocese is not General Motors," he said. "We are now in very dire financial circumstances."
After the insurance companies refused to pay the judgment, the diocese made a "substantial" offer to the plaintiffs to allow it to appeal the verdict without posting an appeal bond of $ 165 million, Mr. Bramblett said. That amount represents the judgment plus pretrial and post-trial interest.
The bond is required by law to prevent the plaintiffs from trying to seize diocese assets during the appeal.
Plaintiffs' attorneys rejected the offer of upfront money to waive the appeal bond. Mr. Bramblett said the plaintiffs could have kept the sum, which he wouldn't reveal, even if the diocese won on appeal. And the diocese still would have tried to get the insurers to pay the judgment, he said.
"They wouldn't be giving up anything," Mr. Bramblett said of the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs' attorney Sylvia Demarest said the diocese's offer "was not substantial."
"They need to get a grip on reality and decide they're going to make a serious offer," she said. "They're still in denial."
By seeking to appeal the verdict, the diocese is not "trying to put blame on the claimants or dodge responsibility," Mr. Bramblett said.
"The worst that can be said about us, we believe, is that we acted negligently," Mr. Bramblett said. "But we never intended to hurt anyone. I think the diocese has a duty to defend itself against a verdict we respectfully disagree with.
"Is anyone really suggesting we ought to give up and . . . let this verdict stand?"
The jury award, if upheld, would put the diocese "out of business," he said.
The diocese is "going to do everything in our power to prevent" filing bankruptcy, Monsignor Duffy Gardner told the Texas Catholic in Friday's issue.
During the meeting at The News, Mr. Bramblett also revealed that many parishes within the Dallas diocese have jointly hired a lawyer to try to protect their assets from being used to pay the judgment. They did so at the suggestion of the diocese, he said.
About 50 of the 66 parishes - with more expected - have joined in hiring the prominent law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, said Monsignor Kilian Broderick of St. Ann Catholic Church in Coppell. He is the spokesman for a parish steering committee that includes Monsignor Don Fischer of St. Joseph church in Richardson and Monsignor Don Zimmerman of Christ the King church in Dallas.
The parishes maintain that their property is separate from diocese property and is clearly shielded under civil and church law from being used to pay off the judgment, attorney Chet Hinshaw said.
It would be "devastating" if the parishes' property were taken, he said.
"I think their greatest fear is that there would be confusion on the part of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, who may think there is no separation between the diocese and the parishes," Mr. Hinshaw said.
He said the parishes don't need to individually incorporate, as some parishes in other parts of the country have, to protect their assets.
"Common sense leads to the conclusion that the property owned by the parishes" is theirs, Mr. Hinshaw said. "The parishes have maintained the property with parish funds from parishioners.
"I suppose the closest analogy might be the Unites States and the state of Texas. Clearly, the state of Texas owes allegiance to the United States in a political sense, but it is legally separate.
The property owned by the state of Texas is owned by the state of Texas, not the United States."
Ms. Demarest rejects Mr. Hinshaw's argument. She said church officials "are attempting to create the fiction that somehow the parishes and schools are not under the direct jurisdiction, control and ownership of the bishop of Dallas."
She notes that Bishop Charles V. Grahmann is listed on tax rolls as the owner of all parish property, and she rejects the diocese argument that he's merely holding it in trust.
If the parishes really own their own property, Ms. Demarest argues, then they should be able to sell it at will and pick their own pastors. But they don't have such power, she said.
"They're obviously trying to get out from under this," she said.
"The bishop owns everything."
Ms. Demarest said she had been prepared to acknowledge that some major Catholic institutions in the Dallas diocese were exempt from liability for the judgment because they're owned by religious orders or otherwise not held in the name of the bishop.
But "if they're going to play all these games," she said, she might go after those institutions, too.
Examples of such institutions include St. Paul Medical Center, the University of Dallas and private schools such as Ursuline Academy and Jesuit College Preparatory School.
Still, Ms. Demarest said, "We don't want to disrupt the operation of the schools and churches." She maintains that the diocese will be able to pay through insurance coverage and other assets.
Mr. Hinshaw said the parishes have no plans to file a lawsuit to try to prevent a seizure of assets.
"We don't intend to pick a fight with anyone," he said. "If
someone makes an assertion against the parish that is contrary to canon
and civil law, we need to be in a position to defend our interests. I
would call it prudent preparation."
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