Closing Arguments at Priest Abuse Trial

CBS 47
April 1, 2009

[with video]

An emotional sexual abuse trial is nearing the end. Closing arguments are underway in the case against the Fresno Catholic Diocese.

Wednesday morning, the alleged victims' attorneys made their final arguments to the jury. The defense was scheduled to present their close after lunch.

Anthony DeMarco, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said, “There were several moments in this trial I had chills running down my spine.” He said those chills were because of testimony by Bishop Joseph Madere, Bishop John Steinbock and Cardinal Roger Mahony.

In testimony, Bishop Madere said that when people came to him with complaints about their priests, he asked them to write down those complaints and then call the person they were complaining about and tell them what they were writing before they sent that letter. He said, “I don’t want to run the Diocese by rumors.”

Bishop Steinbock had told jurors that in 1995 he was contacted by Monsignor Anthony Heredigen, the priest in the case, who said there were rumors about him sexually abusing a child. Herdegen admitted to the Bishop that he had been indiscrete but would not specify what indiscrete meant so the Bishop did not investigate.

In Cardinal Mahony's testimony, he told the jurors multiple times, “that is not what I would have done” referring to the way things were handled by others involved in the case.

Stay tuned to CBS47 for coverage of the defense arguments from Wednesday afternoon.


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