A lawsuit is pending against Henson and the Sacramento diocese seeking "substantial" damages for the alleged graveside molestation. Fenton doesn't discount that officials from the Orange diocese might be called to take the stand even though they aren't currently named in the lawsuit.
The Orange diocese's official position is that no one in its hierarchy was aware of the allegations against Henson. "We wouldn't know anything because in those days they didn't pass [police reports] around," insists Fenton, who recently replaced Baird as the Orange diocese communications director. "Nothing in the file that had been sent to us on Henson [from the Reno Diocese] stated any allegations. We knew nothing about the Benicia case until it became public. When the police report emerged, we immediately dismissed him."
Larry Drivon, the attorney representing the alleged victim, scoffs at the diocese's claim of ignorance regarding Henson's past.
"I find it incredible that McFarland or the Diocese of Orange has no knowledge with the immediate background of the priest he accepted from Sacramento under those circumstances while in Reno," Drivon says. "Reno agreed to accept him on a moment's notice. That's unusual. One bishop doesn't call up another and say, 'We're going to send you someone in 15 minutes,' and the other bishop doesn't ask why. Is McFarland prepared to say that he accepted this priest on a moment's notice while in Reno and never asked any questions about the reason for the transfer and say it under oath?
"Fuentes, McFarland—everybody's deposition will be taken."