|Archdiocese Battle to Stop Pedophile Catholic Priest File Release Could End Thursday
By Kay Ebeling
March 4, 2009
Since I started covering the LA Clergy Cases two years ago, access to documents that should be public has become more of a challenge. It was no problem at first, and at the same time there was almost no news coverage of the 510 lawsuits as they wended their way through LA Superior Court in 2007. The L.A. Times guy said, oh we gave it lots of coverage back in 2003, as if developments four years later were not important. That same reporter ran out of a Clergy Cases hearing before it started because he was missing the Phil Spector trial up the street. Such is the state of news coverage in LA.
So I created City of Angels 3 and began covering LA Clergy Cases in Superior Court. and I started going to the pretrial hearings. I was a lump of low self esteem, about 30 pounds heavier, then God gave me a laptop, through an underpayment check I got out of the blue from State Disability. I'd seen the way the L.A. Times using his and felt really silly taking my shaky shorthand on a yellow legal pad.
In room 106 of the Superior Court building, you wait for an open computer, then log in, click on JCCP Documents down at the bottom of the left column and there they are thousands and thousands of documents that have been filed in the Clergy cases - well up to January 2008 anyway.
So I would take my laptop down to Superior Court, cover a hearing then go to Room 106 and start reading the documents and when I found one with something interesting, I'd type it up and report on it. All of a sudden there was coverage, and the church attorneys, well actually attorneys on both sides, started to freak when they saw me. Up until then they'd been able to go on and on in court and virtually no one was listening.
I started writing about all these ludicrous motions the church was filing, to which the plaintiffs, with about an nth as much resources as the church, had to file responses and objections to. The church had this one hyperactive guy who did most the litigation and rattled off like a nail gun. Another church attorney always wore a bow tie, and was about 7 feet tall, I mean the resemblance of these people to Alice in Wonderland characters was undeniable, so that's the way I wrote about them. Click here to read the coverage.
Church attorney motions were ludicrous so I wrote about that too.
Soon the JCCP documents were inaccessible for a week while the subcontractor in charge of the databank, a private software firm from Redondo Beach, did an upgrade. When the docs came back up about half of them had disappeared. I know because there were half as many pages in the databank, you view maybe 30 doc titles a page. Dozens and dozens of documents disappeared, some that I had already quoted. Now they were no longer there. . . .
Monday I went downtown to try to do another document dive. I hadn't been to Superior Court Room 106 for about a month. You can't get in now. It's in remodeling for an indefinite period of time. You CAN go to Room 112 and wait in line for access to two terminals, and if someone gets in line you have to give up the terminal in five minutes. It takes me five minutes to log on and get to the document I want to read, and then I have to get off.
Hmm isn't it interesting, public access to the documents was cut off just as a large portion of files are being released through earlier decisions reached. So far 30 bankers boxes of documents from the cases have been released and added to the public access database - just as the database stopped being accessible to the public - for an indeterminate period of time.
I did a short document dive, but did not even take the time to get my little Acer laptop out and boot up. It would have taken up most of my turn.
Later outside having a smoke with a friend by the statue of George, I said, you know, you have to wonder. Inside that building are documents that describe in detail sex crimes committed by Catholic priests in L.A. for fifty years and they just got 30 bankers boxes more to add in, and now just when the personnel files might be released as well, the public access area closes down for an indefinite period of remodeling. I mean it makes you wonder.
My friend, more paranoid than I am after all this, shouted an interruption - "Kay, the mayor, the district attorney, the U.S. Attorney, even Nancy Pelosi, they're all devout Catholics. What do you expect?"
ALSO: Update, we will try to join the online newscast from Law offices of Jeff Alexander at 9:30 AM Pacific time and have a report from there shortly - re
Keep coming back, keep reading. Click Catholic Priest Sex Crimes below to read numerous other stories here at LA City Buzz Examiner Also:
To read what could be released in L.A., based on what was released in Boston after the archdiocese was ordered to release by a judge:
Click http://cityofangels5.blogspot.com to go to City of Angels and read my previous years coverage of Sex crimes in the Catholic Church.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.