Campbell's Insensitivity to Abuse Victims

OC Register
January 12, 2009

It's rather strange that Supervisor Bill Campbell would insist on having former Diocese press spokesman Mgr. Lawrence Baird give an invocation at the Board of Supervisors tomorrow. The Diocese of Orange treated abuse victims shabbily. I've talked to a number of them who explain how they were treated like the enemy rather than victims of Diocese abuse. The Diocese acted like it was run by lawyers rather than pastors as officials there denied abuse, stood up for abusers and even moved pedophile priests around to protect them.

Attorney John Manly, who has sued the Diocese on behalf of victims, sent this letter to Chairman John Moorlach regarding the coming Baird invocation. Moorlach's office told me that the invocation was pushed by Campbell. It includes this bit of information:

"Msgr. Baird acted as a spokesman for the Diocese of Orange from 1986 until approximately 2004. The pbulci record and the files generated in the approximately 150 lawsuits against the Diocese demonstrate that Msgr. Bair was part and parcel of the concealment of abuse at the highest levels of the Diocese of Orange. Perhaps the most offensive example is the case of Msgr. Michael Harris. In 1994, the numberous allegations received by the Diocese against Fr. Harris who was then the pricnipal of Santa Margarita High School were made public by several of Fr. Harris' victims or their families. The Diocese, along with its lawyers, embarked on a well-orchestrated smear campaign against Harris victims. Baird, acting as the Diocese's spokesman, strenuously denied the allegations in the press, smearing the victims and stating that Msgr. Harris was 'an icon to the priesthood' and 'profoundly spiritual' all the while the Diocesan offices were in possession of a report from the St. Luke Institute (a Roman Catholic priest treatment facility) which concluded that Harris was a molester and in fact abused the children at issue ."

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