Statement by John Manly on Settlement Against Orange Diocese

Here's John Manly, the Newport Beach lawyer who represented four sex-abuse victims of employees with the Orange diocese, on the $6.885 million settlement announced this afternoon:

Today, Bishop Tod Brown and the Diocese of Orange agreed, at the point of a legal gun and on the eve of trial, to settle four civil cases brought by women who were sexually abused as young girls between 1991 and 1999 by employees of the Diocese of Orange.

Most of the abuse took place in the mid to late 1990s by staff at Mater Dei High School, Santa Margarita High School, and St. Timothy’s and St. Edward’s parishes.

The behavior of the Diocese of Orange and their agents with respect to the efforts of these victims to seek justice has been abhorrent and despicable.

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In two instances, the Diocese of Orange directed their lawyers to take the depositions of the victims for more than 7 days each. The intent of the Diocese of Orange was to break the victims. The Diocese failed.

The press release of the Diocese of Orange, which speaks of “the moral obligation for the Church” and “the process of healing and reconciliation” is nothing more, nor less, than a litany of misstatements, misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods.

At no point throughout this entire process, did anyone from the Diocese of Orange, or their lawyers, say a kind word, offer healing, or do anything other than try to defeat the spirit of these four brave women.

The victims have asked me to specifically thank Judge Gail Andler, her courtroom staff, Judge Tim McCoy, and all the other judicial officers of the Superior Court of the Counties of Orange and Los Angeles who worked so diligently for justice in this case.

Further advisories will be forthcoming.

**UPDATE: In the interest of the other side, read the statement by Monsignor John Urell's lawyer, Patrick Hennessey, after the jump. My thoughts in a coming post...

I am extremely disappointed at the news of the settlement. Msgr. Urell’s good name has been dragged through the mud by the irresponsible and untruthful comments made by plaintiff’s attorneys.

Rather than try the case under the scrutiny of the court and the rules of evidence, plaintiff’s attorneys tried this case in the news media using half-truths and innuendo.

A trial would have proven without a doubt that Msgr. Urell had absolutely nothing to do with the case before the Court. The public also would have learned that Msgr. Urell is truly ill, a fact supported by the sworn declarations of the two independent psychiatrists who are treating Msgr. Urell.

Msgr. Urell, who was a minor witness with no knowledge of this case, did not enter a residential treatment facility to avoid completing his deposition.

Plaintiff’s attorneys' treatment of Msgr. Urell in the news media was cruel and unfair and reflected callousness towards an innocent man and for all people who suffer from a debilitating emotional illness. I think plaintiff’s attorneys' behavior toward Msgr. Urell was shameful.

Msgr. Urell’s family, friends and loved ones will now focus on supporting him.

One quick note: wonder why I had to visit OC Blog for this? If Hennessey is so concerned about media coverage, why doesn't he include the Weekly in his mailing list?

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