|It was reported that Bishop Brown “hid” an accusation
of child sexual abuse made against him involving a boy in 1965.
||When the incident was brought to the attention of the Diocese of
Fresno in 1997, the matter was promptly investigated by the Diocese
of Fresno and the diocesan board set up to evaluate such alleged misconduct
found that there was “absolutely no factual or credible basis
whatsoever” for the claim. The Diocese of Fresno voluntarily
turned over all its interviews and reports to the Kern County District
Attorney’s office in 2002. The unsubstantiated allegation had
already been disclosed earlier in the press.
|It is alleged that the Bishop’s lack of disclosure breaks
his “Covenant with the Faithful” which promised to be
“transparent in . . . communication.”
||The allegation was judged by the Diocese of Fresno as not credible,
and the entire file was subsequently submitted to the Kern County
District Attorney’s office for their review. The “Covenant
with the Faithful” does not require the disclosure of allegations
which have no credible or factual basis, and must be interpreted in
a manner consistent with the law. Indeed, the Bishop felt no obligation
to disclose what he knew from his own experience to be untrue and
that was judged twice as unsubstantiated. His fear of “embarrassment”
reflected what he knew of how such a disclosure would be portrayed,
a fact borne out by the recent press coverage and statements made
by those with their own agenda.
|It was reported that this was another example of how Bishop Brown
is covering up the truth about sexual abuse in the church.
||When Bishop Brown agreed to settle with 90 alleged molestation victims
in 2004, he released thousands of documents about what had gone on
in the Diocese of Orange in the past. Bishop Brown has a well-earned
reputation for his willingness to meet with victims and to disclose
appropriate documents. In those documents released in 2004 and in
the Bishop’s own statements in his deposition, it has been acknowledged
that the Diocese of Orange had previously been slow to adopt an aggressive
response to accusations of sexual abuse in prior years.
|It was reported that the Diocese sought to “seal” the
Bishop’s deposition in order that his testimony would not become
||A reading of the deposition shows clearly that the reason for seeking
a “temporary seal” was to keep a few particular details
of Msgr. Urell’s medical condition from being disclosed until
the matter could be addressed as soon as possible by a judge. Ethics,
California law and federal HIPAA regulation require such confidentiality
of any employer.
|It was reported that Bishop Brown and “his lawyers”
spirited Msgr. Urell “out of the jurisdiction” as a legal
tactic to prevent him from testifying.
||The recommendation to place Msgr. Urell in a residential treatment
facility was made by Msgr. Urell himself, his doctors, his family
and close friends and the diocesan Vicar for Priests, Father Christopher
Smith. At no time was the diocesan legal team involved in making this
decision. Patrick Hennessy, Msgr. Urell’s personal attorney,
was consulted. Mr. Hennessy has made a statement available about Msgr.
Urell’s medical condition. The statement is attached.
|Msgr. Urell was sent to Southdown Institute in Aurora, Ontario,
Canada, which was described as “hospital for pedophiles.”
||The Southdown Institute is a registered, non-profit charitable organization
whose mission is to provide the highest level of support to persons
actively committed to Christian ministry. For over 40 years, the Institute
has endeavoured to respond to the needs of Catholic clergy and religious,
as well as clergy from other religious traditions, by providing a
breadth of services to those who are dedicated to serving the people
of God. These services include the provision of consultation, clinical
treatment and leadership education. (www.southdown.on.ca)
It was selected for only one reason: the belief that there Msgr. Urell
would receive the best possible care for his condition. Bishop Brown
is committed to following the recommendation of medical professionals
and providing the best possible treatment for priests in need of it.
|It was reported that Msgr. John Urell refused to complete his deposition.
||After nearly six hours of answering numerous questions Msgr. Urell
became so distraught that he was unable to finish his deposition;
it remains an open question whether or not he will be able to complete
it at a later date or to testify at trial. (Again, Mr. Hennessey’s
statement covers this matter.)