When I was five years old, the bishop stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what Father Horne did to you." I kept the secret for 40 years. Today, I babble. - ke

In 2012

City of Angels Blog will be at http://cityofangels12.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 26, 2009


(Reprinted after removing from Examiner Dot Com)


Contempt. Now I understand the use of that word for disrupting the court. Listening to arguments by attorneys for the Franciscans of Santa Barbara in L.A. Superior Court last week, I had to take on physical restraints to keep myself from jumping up and hollering. Especially when they they mentioned the Friars’ vows of poverty, I kept wanting to somehow get it on the record: Vow of poverty? Then how can they have three law firms in here representing them? And when have these brothers ever had to skip a meal to feed their kids, or sacrifice to pay bills? All their bills are paid for them. What do they really know of poverty?

If a person jumps up and starts screaming in a hearing, does the Court Reporter take it down? Do you get to go on the record one last time before they throw you out of there forever?

Equally astounding was the Franciscans now, three years after the Santa Barbara settlements, claim the documents about the perpetrators have to be secret due to the father son relationship between the hierarchy and the brothers below them.

“These are adult men,” Judge Peter Lichtman pointed out after pointing out that he had already pointed all this out several hearings back and repeated it several times since then. The church attorney then threatened to appeal because he thought the judge was laughing at him.

That was me laughing out loud at you back in the viewing area.

But here is the part that makes me need even more anger management:

What's missing from our current state of civil justice: The voice of the plaintiffs, the crime victims, like me, aren’t even part of these procedures. There is one plaintiff attorney who sticks it out hearing after hearing, Tim Hale of Santa Barbara, but he is forced to respond to the church's ludicrous claims, I don't know if anyone ever mentions the crime victims. I am in the lone one, sitting in the back silent, taking notes.

“When have you ever gone a day without food so your kids would have something to eat?” Vow of poverty?

No matter how superfluous and redundant and ridiculous the arguments, the Court has to listen, be attentive, judicial, as there is always the threat of an appeal. Apparently you can win an appeal because the judge grinned during your argument in trial court

Contempt. I'm filling up with contempt, scrawling on a yellow pad...

And a father son relationship? So now the priests aren't just pedophiles but they are committing incest too, is that the church’s argument? Sorry, guys, but the judge may be listening. The public - like Me - we see right through you. And sorry, priests, but after all these years, if you are still in there schmoozing with the bishops, you are just as guilty as Goeghan and Shanley from Boston. So sit there and start taking some grief. To me, Catholic priests have lost all claim to respect. If you are still in there with them, you are one of them.

Of all the groups who can’t claim knowledge of parent-child relationships, I think Catholic Priests come out way on top.

Maybe if these priests had been able to marry and have kids in the first place, they would have seen the damage done to children and never raped us in the first place.

Superfluous ludicrous arguments made by people with no real right to make them, in 20-minute intervals of meaningless rhetoric, talking away in front of the court.

Like battery bunnies.

They just keep going and going, filing motions and motions, scheduling hearings and hearings, and getting away with it. Catholic Church lawyers with endless budgets can take a phrase in a plaintiff argument and write a 75 or 126 page objection with declarations from all the excess monsignors etcetera who are sitting around collecting salaries, they might as well do something, have them file an friend of the defendant affidavit.

The judge and the plaintiffs apparently have no choice but to respond, go through this theatrical demonstration of a hearing as though the Church legal motions were reasonable. But they're usually ludicrous, the result an endless supply of cash supplied to a growing class of nearly amoral attorneys.

So in the end, as long as you can afford to file motions, you will win your case, since the person who runs out of money first loses.

That's American Civil Jurisprudence today. No wonder I'm thinking about learning to make stink bombs. . . .

Case filed by plaintiff Hightower, who is in prison for child molestation, could set standard for future civil cases

(Originally posted May 13, 2009, at Examiner Dot Com. Reproduced today because it is relevant to cases going forward in L.A. Superior Court now.)

Thomas Hightower watched from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California, as the Diocese of Sacramento agreed in July 2005 to pay $35 million to settle 33 claims of sexual abuse by priests, including 16 against Tacoma priest Mario Blanco. There were 17 cases filed, presumably the 17th was Hightower’s left unsettled. Yes, pedophile priest named in 17 lawsuits, Mario Blanco was still serving as a priest in 2005 in Tacoma, Washington.

Perpetrator priest Blanco In fact, while at least 17 men dealt with interrogatories from Catholic Church attorneys and lengthy litigation on their cases, Mario Blanco was being flown around the state by Mel Gibson. A man who became close to the priest in the 12 years he was at the Tacoma church and kept his schedule for several years said:

“Blanco traveled to such cities as Redding, Calif., Spokane, Tucson, Ariz., Denver and Los Angeles. The priest was so respected that the actor Gibson regularly flew Blanco to Southern California to celebrate Mass for a group of traditionalists. He said the actor also took the priest to Mexico to buy vestments and other items for the church.
From: Accused Priest Led a Public Life
The News Tribune [Tacoma WA]

A description of how Blanco insinuated himself into families’ lives in and around Sacramento from the Sacramento Bee:

According to diocesan records and people who remember him. Blanco was a talented musician who started church youth bands. That's how the the family of one of his plaintiffs met him
They recount how their parents were thrilled that Blanco paid attention to their sons, especially when he told them he wanted to start a band featuring their kids.

"My parents thought it was going to take them somewhere ... that he was going to make their kids famous," says Chico Chavez.

He says his father worked long hours as a landscaper. Their mother was often ill and spent much of her time in bed. There were 10 children. Blanco taught the kids music, and their father was so happy that he built a makeshift stage area in a corner of the basement. The Norteno-style band called "Crysol" played at several churches throughout the diocese, according to a church news clipping from the time. They cut two records in Spanish.

Over time, Blanco became a frequent visitor to the Chavez house.

Chico Chavez claims in his suit that the priest assaulted him repeatedly beginning when he was young. He says he was too ashamed and frightened to tell anyone and that the priest threatened the family. Chavez says it wasn't until he was a teenager, and told his brothers David and Javier that he had been abused, that they told him they had also been assaulted by Blanco.

Jaime says he fought off the priest. But Jaime also became increasingly hostile -- he picked lots of fights at school -- over the priest's presence in their home.

The boys say that when they told their parents about the abuse, their father became angry, accusing them of telling lies about the priest. But the boys made it clear they didn't want the priest around.

But they say Blanco did come back.

Each of the Chavez brothers describes waking up in the middle of the night and seeing that the priest had been staring at them through a window while they slept in the basement. They say he threatened them, and they chased the priest down the street. After that, they started sleeping with the baseball bats by their sides.

Their father declined to speak to The Bee. Their mother died in 1992.

Blanco said he does not remember the incident
From Dec. 20, 2003 Sacramento Bee story


So the attorneys are not the only ones waiting for a decision in Hightower and Quarry.

I am too.

Tim Hale, Santa Barbara attorney, helped me understand Hightower

"Hightower came out during heart of coordinating proceeding and claimed the plain language statute 340.1 was not the plain language of the statute," Hale said.
"As to why Hightower could impact so many other cases, as you know, most survivors never come to terms with what happened to them. Hell, some never even remember it, instead taking their nightmares to their graves. And for those few who do remember they were abused and recognize the harm the abuse caused, quite often that recognition does not come until much later in life after years of struggling with various demons they did not realize originated with their abuse.

“The end result of this is very few people make the connection between injury and abuse before they turn 26.
“Under Hightower, anyone who was 26 or older in 2003 does not have the right to make a claim under CCP 340.1's standard of making the connection between the injury and the abuse. This arbitrary cut-off could not have been intended by the legislature, but that is exactly what Hightower holds.

“The result is the dismissal of any case filed by someone who was over the age of 26 in 2003 (unless they had completely repressed their memory of the abuse, in which case there is case law that some courts -- not Judge Elias -- believe allows the plaintiff to avoid the Hightower result).”

The march of justice goes on. . . slowly

The decision affects anyone who wants to file a civil lawsuit for child sex abuse, but cases against the Catholic Church were being thrown out in L.A. because of a 2006 decision in a case litigated by Thomas Hightower, a plaintiff who filed his own briefs from a cell in Mule Creek State Prison.

The Bishop of Oakland won the case against Thomas Hightwoer on appeal, saying the suit was time barred by the Statute of Limitations, thus making all cases filed after the age 26 cap since December 2003 invalid. Now another appellate decision on the Quarry case in February 2009 disagrees with Hightower and says cases filed after age 26 are valid.

“The main difference is that Quarry was litigated by professional plaintiff attorneys,” says a plaintiff attorney in Santa Barbara.

Any day now the California Supreme Court could either agree to take the Quarry appeal, or refuse to take Quarry, making Hightower law. “The main difference is that Quarry was litigated by professional plaintiff attorneys,” says a plaintiff attorney in Santa Barbara.

The outcome of this case could keep plaintiffs from being able to file lawsuits as adults about sexual assault they experienced as a child in the state of California, except under strict guidelines that either no longer exist or continue to exist since the passage of CCP 340.1 in 2002.

Blanco, Hightower perpAttorneys and judges in the California Clergy Cases are now “waiting for Hightower,” as future civil cases re child sexual assault in this state hinge on this decision coming up any day now in the California Supreme Court. In hearings last month, Judge Emilie Elias referred indirectly to the February 2 Quarry decision and delayed action on several Los Angeles cases re Catholic priests saying, “My intent is to stay any more of the Hightower motions until we see if the Supreme Court takes them.

“I'm just not going to hear them until we see what's happening.”

Judge Elias has already dismissed about a dozen child sex assault lawsuits against the Catholic Church that have come before her since January 2008 when she took over the Clergy Cases from retiring Judge Haley Fromholz, based on the 2006 decision in the Hightower appeal. One after the other, Elias granted the LA Archdiocese’s motions to dismiss - based on the Second District Court of Appeal decision in the case of Hightower vs. the Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento, now on appeal, which said the Legislature did NOT remove the age 26 cap. She stopped dismissing cases when the February 2, 2009 Quarry decision came out, and now everyone is waiting for the California Supreme court.

The Deck Once Again Stacked in Church’s Favor
The church will have managed to stack the deck entirely in its favor if the state Supreme Court turns down Quarry and retains Hightower, because Hightower was filed by a plaintiff filing motions for himself from state prison, where he is incarcerated as a hild sexual molester himself.

How could the Hightower case become the case that decides the future of child sex assaults lawsuits in California?

A decision as important as the Hightower appeals court decision in August 2006, litigated for plaintiffs by a damaged man in prison, if left in place, could return the State to pre- CCP 340.1 thinking. When the

Legislature created the one-year window for lawsuits to be filed in 2003, most lawyers agree the legislators also removed age 26 cap from the statute of limitations.
The Bishop of Sacramento was able to get an appellate court to disagree. Fighting against one plaintiff filing motions from prison.

“Under Hightower, anyone who was 26 or older in 2003 does not have the right to make a claim under CCP 340.1's standard of making the connection between the injury and the abuse,” explains attorney Tim Hale in Santa Barbara. “This arbitrary cut-off could not have been intended by the Legislature, but that is exactly what Hightower holds.”

The Quarry decision from the First Appellate Court in Alameda in February 2009 counters Hightower, saying:

“Effective 2003 the Legislature deleted the age 26 cutoff as against a narrow category of third party defendants who had both the knowledge and the ability to protect against abusive behavior but failed to do so. Anyone discovering that childhood abuse was the cause of their injuries after 2003 could sue these—more culpable—defendants without regard to the age 26 cutoff.”

The Hightower decision reads:

“The statute of limitations ran out on Hightower's claims in 1977.”

Hightower’s case if full of errors, and it is different from almost every other child sex assault case in California. Yet the decision in this case filed by a prison inmate, fighting singlehandedly all the way to the Supreme Court against the Roman Catholic Church, could affect all future cases filed for sexual abuse that include a third party, not just against the Catholic church, but any guilty third party that was negligent and allowed sex crimes against the child now an adult filing a lawsuit to continue.

Where the third party - any employer or a corporate entity - is at fault, as has been the case with thousands of cases against the Catholic Church, the appellate decision in this weak case filed by Thomas Hightower, a prison inmate without an attorney, could affect the future of child sexual assault tort law in California.

Background on the unique case of Thomas Hightower:

Mule Creek State Prison, where Hightower residesThe Hightower case like so many

Is a story in itself:

Thomas Hightower claims he got his “letter to bishop stating intent to sue” postmarked from Mule Creek State Prison mail December 23, 2003, putting his “motion” into the one year window for civil suits re sexual assault that the California Legislature opened in Civil Codes: 340.1 -

What is it this one plaintiff’s case - filed by a prison inmate acing on his own behalf; indeed the appeal briefs that led to the Second District appeal decision were filed by Hightower acting as his own attorney from prison - why is this the case that is used to go all the way to the California Supreme Court?
Hightower’s case is not at all similar to the more than 600 civil cases filed in California during that one-year window in 2003 or any cases filed since. Yet this weird case might be used to set the standard for all future child sex assault lawsuits in the state.

Once again the cards are stacked in favor of the Roman Catholic Church, who we know had teams of attorneys from several law firms fighting against Hightower, as they do with all their cases in California. All that power is fighting one damaged man in prison, who says he is a child molester himself because of the damage done to him by Mario Blanco?

Hightower’s case was too muddled to set a standard
From the Hightower appellate decision:

“January 14, 2004, the Sacramento court refused to file the document as a complaint because Hightower did not include the filing fee or a fee waiver request,” reads the Hightower decision.

“He alleged that as a state prison inmate he had an extra year to file his complaint under section 352.1 and that the delayed discovery rule for repressed childhood memories applied."

The Hightower case is extremely unusual and should not be allowed to affect future cases in California.

Hightower made a lot of mistakes filing from prison: More from the Hightower decision:

“Apart from a general statement that beginning at the age of 12 he was sexually abused by a priest of the Sacramento Archdiocese from 1970 to 1972, the document contains no allegations concerning a basis of liability against the bishop, does not mention damages, and seeks no relief. Finally, Hightower confirmed at the hearing on the bishop's demurrers that he filed the December 2003 document in order to put the court on notice that he was suing the bishop, that a formal complaint was being prepared, and that he eventually planned to file a complaint.”

He told the court in a hearing: “This is what I'll be suing for, and the formal complaint is being composed just as fast as I can get it composed.”

The case in the Quarry Decision is more likely similar to future cases: In Quarry, six brothers claim they were sexually abused by a Catholic priest in the 1970’s, when they were children. They sued defendant Doe I (Bishop of Alameda) in 2007 for damages due to adult-onset psychological injuries allegedly caused by that abuse. When they sued, they ranged in age from 43 to 40, but they did not discover until 2006 that the cause of their adulthood psychological injuries was the childhood sexual abuse.

The Bishop demurred to the complaint, arguing that the complaint was barred by the statute of limitations of Code of Civil Procedure[1] section 340.1.
The appellate court disagreed and said:

“Plaintiff need only allege the onset of psychological injury or illness after the age of majority and that he commenced his action within three years of the time he discovered or reasonably should have discovered such psychological injury or illness was caused by the childhood sexual abuse. (§ 340.1, subd. (a).)” (Id. at p. 1186.)

NOTE: Once again, the Church never denies these crimes took place, they just hire teams of attorneys to block justice for the crime victims.

More about Hightower’s case that reads like a drama:
Thomas Hightower watched from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California, as the Diocese of Sacramento agreed in July 2005 to pay $35 million to settle 33 claims of sexual abuse by priests, including 16 against Tacoma priest Mario Blanco. (there were 17 cases filed, presumably the 17th was Hightower’s left unsettled.
Yes, Mario Blanco was still serving as a priest in 2005 in Tacoma, Washington.

In fact, while at least 17 men dealt with interrogatories from Catholic Church attorneys and lengthy litigation on their cases, Mario Blanco was being flown around the state by Actor Mel Gibson:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Missing Link Archive: Scanned copies of Linkup news from 1990s

Here is Winter 1996 issue of The Missing Link (Click to enlarge, read, save, print ...)

Here is Fall Winter 1997: (Click to enlarge - view, save, print, etc.)

Below Winter 1998 Linkup. (Click to enlarge)