Wednesday, August 31, 2005

When the Levee Breaks

Bad connotation right now, I know. But it fits this story from today's LA Times:

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony failed Tuesday to persuade a judge to seal sworn testimony by priests and other witnesses about allegations of decades-old child molestations by Roman Catholic clergy.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholz overruled arguments from Mahony's lawyers that the release might prejudice potential jurors against the church.

"Allegations of clergy abuse have given rise to much anguish in the community," the judge wrote. "This anguish has been exacerbated by allegations that the church concealed information relating to the abuse. Further concealment of information from the public is thus ill-advised."

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While on the topic, rebuttals are due today for the impending grand jury report here in Philadelphia....

It's coming....

-30-

4 Comments:

Blogger Clayton said...

There's a rumor circulating (from a fairly reliable source) that the Cardinal's lawyers have already negotiated an escape plan for Mahony before the proverbial stuff hits the fan. Have you heard anything about this?

31/8/05 09:30  
Blogger patrick said...

Although it would be interesting to know What Lies Beneath the Archdiocese of Los Angles, that was a really terrible decision. The judge might as well have just come out and said, "Yes, the Catholic Church is so bad that we need to taint the jury pool" because that is the real meaning behind these words. That's counterfeit justice and it is wrong.

31/8/05 09:33  
Blogger John Hearn said...

Patrick,

You may be right in the legal sense, but as a practical matter, how could that pool be any more tainted than it already is? After years of bad press and publicly craven bishops, how could the general public's take on the Church be any more dreadful?

31/8/05 12:38  
Blogger patrick said...

John,

Good point. But there is a difference between a shitstorm over information about bad news in Boston versus bad news at home. In any event, some of the more prejudicial evidence might not be admissible in court. The judge also failed to consider that the release of this sort of prejudicial information in Boston resulted not only in outrageously high settlements against the Boston Archdiocese, but also resulted in the wrongful conviction of Paul Shanley on charges based on "recovered memory syndrome," and also probably was a contributing factor in the murder of John Geoghan. Granted, he might not have able to use that as an explicit basis for his decision, but deliberating on it might have resulted in a different decision, perhaps.... It's not simply a matter of whether the evidence makes Mahony look bad or not, there are other far more consequential considerations.

31/8/05 13:44  

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