The Annotated Bishop Brown Deposition
Today, Orange County Superior Court Judge Gail Andler ruled that a Sept. 10 deposition of Catholic Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown for the Jeff Andrade case be released to the public. As a public service announcement, the Weekly presents an annotated version after the jump with beaucoup hotlinks. Warning: the spin of Brown and diocesan attorney Peter Callahan will cause nausea worthy of Magic Mountain. And for much more background, read our Ex Cathedra and Andrade archives.
Pg. 13: Brown claims he “was not aware of [sex abuse] problems that preceded me” when he became the Diocese of Orange bishop in 1998 following the retirement of Norman McFarland. But Brown contradicts himself on page 16, when His Excellency admits he learned of the Ryan DiMaria/Michael Harris case once he arrived, a problem that indeed “preceded” him.
Pg. 17: Brown claims he doesn’t know DiMaria, who’s now a lawyer in Manly’s firm. Funny: DiMaria’s case against the Orange and Los Angeles diocese--in which Brown and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony agreed to pay DiMaria $5.2 million to settle his claims that former Santa Margarita High Principal Michael Harris repeatedly abused him while DiMaria was a student--led to many of the sex-abuse reforms that Mahony and Brown claim as their own invention...
Pg. 22: Callahan complains about Manly asking Brown about the status of Monsignor John Urell, whom couldn't finish a deposition in July. Brown had just revealed that Urell was currently in a medical facility infamous amongst Catholic sex-abuse survivors for treating pederast priests. “What we’re going to see now is a newspaper article headline before the day is over, ‘Urell Being Treated for Pedophilia.’ And I think that is just so wrong and so improper."
You know what else is wrong, Pete? Telling Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit that the young women suing former Mater Dei boy's basketball coach Jeff Andrade for molestations THAT ANDRADE ADMITTED TO when she was 15 "choose[d] to enter into a relationship." Frank's right: you're entering Haidl territory with that one.
Pg. 24: Callahan whines that the deposition “isn’t about discovery. This is about sound bites. This is about newspaper publicity.” He says it “borders on immoral.” See previous comment with Mickadeit.
Pg. 31: Callahan to Manly: “Let’s at least try just this once to act in a professional capacity and, and respect the judicial process and not try this case in the newspaper.” See previous comment with Mickadeit.
Pg. 36: Although Manly hasn’t even accused Urell of pedophilia, Callahan worries that even the spectre that Urell is being treated at a facility known to treat pedophiles will be leaked to the press. See previous comment with Mickadeit.
Pg. 38: Manly gets to the heart of the Orange diocese sex-abuse scandal: “What really disturbs me, again, is we don’t—these men will not tell us what they know. These two men sitting here will not tell us what they know about what’s wrong with Monsignor Urell. And—you know, and now they’re asking you to keep it a secret.”
Pg. 47: Manly brings up the fact that the Orange diocese “previously hired [Mater Dei boy’s basketball coach Gary] McKnight an attorney to threaten to sue a newspaper.” That newspaper, of course, was the Weekly. Callahan doesn’t dispute this.
Pg. 68: Brown discusses a pedophile case in Idaho while he was the Bishop of Boise and admits it took the victim going to the press to make the abuse public. “The alleged victim wanted a cash settlement, which the diocese was not willing to agree to,” Brown tells Manly. “He threatened to go to the press if we didn’t accept his offer, and he went to the press.” Time lapse between Brown finding out about the abuse and the press revealing it: months.
Pg. 69: Of the two molestation cases he handled in Boise, Brown admits to not alerting the police in either.
Pg. 73: Manly: “Is it not your understanding and common sense that if you—do you think it’s common sense if somebody’s a pedophile, whether their victim’s 20 or 40 and they’re still around kids, is it common sense to call the police, Bishop?”
Brown: “I don’t think it’s common sense if you have restricted the individual in a situation where they’re not able to fail in that regard.”
Pg. 78: Brown says he didn’t get rid of admitted pedophile John Lenihan “because the matter had bean dealt with by my predecessor some years before, and I was not going to return to the past, but rather move on into the future….I simply accepted the decision that Bishop McFarland had made in regard to Father Lenihan.”
Pg. 90: Manly tries to include documents that reveal a molestation allegation lodged against Brown in the past. Callahan objects, stating that they can be “inadvertently released to the press.” The Weekly, of course, released the documents five months ago. Manly reminds Callahan of this; Callahan says nothing.
Pg. 92: Callahan mentions the Weekly, doesn’t call us "a publication that's handed out for creative massage parlors and coffeehouses and whose advertising runs to escort services and the like" like last time.
Pg. 93-94: The money shot: Brown admits he’s been accused of sexually abusing a boy—says he found out in 1997 thanks to former Orange Bishop/current Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno/Brown classmate from the notorious St. John’s Seminary John Steinbock. No one ever interviewed Brown about the allegation--they just took Brown at his denial.
Pg. 96: Brown says no one from the Los Angeles Archdiocese called him when Brown’s alleged victim wrote to Cardinal Mahony about the supposed abuse.
Pg. 98: Brown says he didn’t make the accusation public “because I knew it wasn’t true” and “it wasn’t up to me.”
Pg. 106: Brown and Steinbock talk about the OC Weekly! We’re thrilled! Brown also claims the Fresno diocese put out a press release stating that the allegations against Brown were not credible. That’s the first we ever heard of this. More importantly, notice how Brown is changing the story from the fact that he never disclosed the allegation to the credibility of said allegation.
Pg. 108: Callahan complains Manly is “beating [the Brown molestation allegation] to death.”
Pg. 112: “Because it was very embarrassing, and very painful. And to be very honest, I think that kind of an allegation is difficult to deal with regardless of how innocent a person may be”
--Brown, telling Manly why he never divulged the allegation against him
Pg. 122: Although Brown agrees with Manly that adults “are the primary responsible agent in any kind of misconduct with vulnerable people,” and that adolescents ages 15-17 count as “vulnerable people,” Callahan objects, stating “[vulnerability] is going to vary from individual to individual.” To totally rip off Mickadeit, paging Joseph Cavallo…
Pg. 130: Brown about leaving Lenihan in place despite Lenihan’s admission to molesting a girl in the 1970s: “I think earlier on with regard to molestation cases, that a lot of bishops, including myself, were not fully aware of the seriousness of the problem in terms of putting other people at risk.”
Pg. 155: Here’s a name we haven’t heard in years: Christ Our Savior Cathedral, the $100 million cathedral Brown wants to build just north of South Coast Plaza near his new $2 million home. Read this story for more info.
That's it for today. Tomorrow: why did it take the dailies nearly half a year to investigate Brown's molestation allegations?