Bishop Accountability

Ten-Minute Activist: Brief Letter or Email
Orange County Diocese Races to Settle Cases:
Will Try to Seal Church Files

The diocese of Orange County CA is rushing to beat a judge’s July 21 deadline for settling with more than 100 alleged victims. If the settlement occurs, the diocese will be able to seal files on how church bureaucrats handled child abusers and their victims.

Survivor Joelle Casteix says she will reject a settlement if it means the sealing of church files. The diocesan spokesperson claims Casteix is “the only one interested in the release of files.” Please show that you are very interested too.

An outcry is needed. Send a brief letter or email to the Los Angeles Times or the Orange County Register, insisting that church files be released. Then send a copy of your letter to Raymond Boucher, the lead plaintiff's attorney in the settlement talks.

Important Background

* The handling of the Orange County claims will set a precedent for resolving cases in other Southern California dioceses – including the roughly 500 claims in Los Angeles. See recent articles from the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press about the O.C. settlement negotiations.

* Church documents must be released to shed light on how perpetrators hid their crimes. Consider the shocking story of Orange County’s renowned Mater Dei High School, “the most successful Catholic high school in the western United States,” and the many alleged child molesters who have worked there.

* Consider also the important and shocking documents that have come to light when other diocesan archives have been opened.

* In a July 2003 Q. and A. with his public relations director, Orange County Bishop Tod D. Brown responded to media criticism, saying that he had handed over every document requested by the D.A.

How You Can Help

1. Express your interest in the release of church documents to the LA Times in a brief letter to the editor.

* Send via email to
* Click here for more info on writing a letter to the LA Times.
* Please let us know if you send a letter.
* Click here for SNAP's helpful guide to writing letters to the editor.

2. Send a brief letter to the Orange County Register

* Send via email to
* For more info, call the paper at: (714) 796-7980.
* Please let us know that you wrote.

3. Copy attorney Raymond Boucher on your note to the newspaper.

Mr. Boucher is leading settlement negotiations on behalf of the more than 100 people claiming sexual abuse. It might help him to know that the public is opposed to a settlement that would seal church documents.

* Email Raymond Boucher at
* Leave a voicemail at (310) 854-4444, ext. 300.
* Fax a note to Mr. Boucher at (310) 854-0812.

Previous Ten-Minute Activist Features

* Bishop Admits That He Is Keeping an Accused Priest in Ministry (12/5/03)
* Audit the Audit: USCCB Audit Needs Local Perspectives (1/9-16/04)
* Join the Dialogue among NY Priests and Bishops (1/23/04)
* Statute of Limitations: Help Reform the Indiana Law (1/30/04)
* Accused Priests Are Saying Mass in Los Angeles Parishes (2/6/04)
* Grand Jury Investigation of Alleged Abuse by Bishop Dupré Is Needed (2/17/04)


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