Prosecuting Attorney Office and Victim Lawyer of Recent Pedo-priest in Good Standing with Bishop Brown

By Gustavo Arellano
Orange County Weekly

August 25, 2008

[See also other articles by Gustavo Arellano.]
After years of dormancy regarding the Diocese of Orange Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal, the Orange County Register is doing a great job with the case of Father Luis Eduardo Ramirez, the scummy chap to the left who pleaded guilty to attempting to molest a 17-year-old boy last week. On Friday, crime reporter Rachanee Srisavasdi dug through the case's police report and implicitly left this question for readers to ponder: why did prosecuting attorneys let Ramirez off with a relative slap on the wrists? Sure, he has to spend 180 days in jail (and prison-rape jokes aside, honor amongst criminals thankfully doesn't look too fondly on pedo-priests), but Ramirez doesn't have to register as a sex offender and the Anaheim City Attorney office dropped three misdemeanor charges against Ramirez (furnishing/selling alcohol to a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and annoying or molesting a child), much to the chagrin of the Anaheim Police Department detectives.

The answer can be found on October 6, the date of the diocese's infamous Red Mass, which acknowledges local law enforcement. Being acknowledged that day are the very people who should've ensured Ramirez get treated with the hell he deserves.

As usual, Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown found prominent sponsors for his spectacle, and the expected pedo-apologists coughed up funds: longtime diocesan legal counsel/current Weekly Scariest Person Peter Callahan, Wylie Aitken, church attorney Maria Schinderle, wacky Catholic/developer Tim Busch and other such spinners. But a curious name is in the realm of the Gold Sponsors, the highest possible level: prominent SanTana civil rights attorney Federico Sayre. He was the lawyer of Ramirez's victim and previously funded a television puff piece on the Orange diocese. Hey, Fred: why do you give money to an institution that didn't alert county Catholics about another pedophile in their parishes until months after his arrest? And why did you not criticize Ramirez's plea bargain? Are you happy that Anaheim city attorneys don't think Ramirez should be on the sex offender list?

Regarding the Anaheim City Attorney's office: One of its own is listed as a Bronze Sponsor: Deborah Knefel. She also sits on the board of the Orange County chapter of the St. Thomas More Society. Knefel wasn't one of the attorneys who prosecuted Ramirez, but it's not a long stretch (especially when one regards the impossible-to-imagine-to-be-true-but-are sex scandals of the Orange diocese) to imagine Anaheim city attorneys cooled their jets on Ramirez 'cause one of their own is so actively involved in county Catholic legal life. Chew on THAT host, gentle readers!



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