Facts and Feces

Rewrite history with the Register! Its fun!

"I certainly respect TheOrangeCountyRegisterand their right to articulate a point of view in an op-ed," Lee Tashjian, VP of communications at Fluor, told us. "But the fact is that we really moved for the reasons Alan [Boeckmann] cited."

Tashjian then repeated those reasons, and—check this out—they have nothing to do with state government's "hostility" to business. "California's business climate was not a factor," he says—which is about as flat a contradiction as you can deliver to the Regwithout kicking it in the nuts.

If you're looking for someone to blame, blame God: he's the guy who put California so far from Fluor's clients in Texas and on the East Coast. Tashjian says it's simply become too costly to fly employees to Texas, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.; the one-time costs of the move will be recouped by savings in travel expenses and employee downtime. (WS)

* * *

Two days later, and the Register was feeling pretty good about itself. On May 19, it reported that Mater Dei High School choir director Thomas Hodgman and a Placentia priest named John E. Ruhl confessed to sexual misconduct to Orange Diocese officials—more than a decade ago.

Was this revelation the result of dogged investigation? Mmmmm, no.

What the Registerdid was attend a press conference, hold out its hand, and receive documents related to the Diocese of Orange sex scandal, documents released May 17 following an LA superior court judge's order.

Understandably, and in the kind of hushed tones one normally expects from professional wrestlers, the Registercongratulated itself, saying it was "publishing these papers to give a fuller picture of how the church handled those accused of molestation."

Really? Why not just tell Registerreaders to check out virtually any issue of the Weeklysince November 2003? That's when the Weekly'sGustavo Arellano started reporting on the diocesan scandal, presenting a lurid picture bordering on Cinescopic, writing stories about the attorneys who successfully sued the diocese and about Bishop Tod D. Brown's January agreement to pay victims $100 million—because, as a church memo put it, it was settle before trial or face "devastating jury verdicts against the diocese."

Arellano has shown how the local GOP protected church leaders while those very same church leaders shuffled pedophiles from parish to parish, diocese to diocese, state to state—and to Indian reservations. He's made connections in the cover-up that stretch from Orange County to the Vatican (see "The 'Sins' of the Father" in this issue).

Arellano has done it by r-e-p-o-r-t-i-n-g. In fact, he reported the Hodgman case last January. The woman Hodgman raped, Joelle Casteix, has been featured in at least a dozen of Arellano's stories—and once in our Best of OC issue, pictured at Disneyland next to a list of the worst things ever said to her. (One of them was "Can't you just let it go?") She has said she finds the Register'scoverage "completely disappointing."

That isn't to say the Registerdidn't write about the Catholic sex scandal. It did. In Fairbanks. Alaska. Seriously. In February, three Registerreporters wrote about the Catholic sex scandal in Fairbanks. Alaska. Because, you know, Alaska.

But apparently, the judge's order to release documents in the scandal gave the Registerthe courage it needed to finally report on a scandal in its own back yard. It was as if the libertarian Registerhad been waiting for government approval before reporting on the facts behind the largest settlement in the history of the Catholic Church. To call themselves courageous, however, well, yeah, sure, in the sense that they took what was handed to them. But that's a little like ordering a Whopper and then calling yourself a chef. (Steve Lowery)

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