I have long admired the work of Mark Pinsky, the longtime religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel and author of the best-selling The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of America's Most Animated Family, a fabulous book that makes its points in a way that leaves you knowing Pinsky knows his Jesus from Jeebus. Guy's a rock star, so imagine my shock years ago when first digging into the Eleuterio Ramos sex-abuse scandal and discovering that the first person to ever write about the Diocese of Orange's worst-ever pedophile priest was none other than Pinsky.
His articles appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1993. Twenty years later, I finally had the chance to talk to Pinsky about them.
I got in contact with Pinsky through author Daniel A. Olivas, who wrote about his own Ramos encounter for The New York Times recently. Pinsky reached out to Olivas to congratulate him on the touching essay, and Olivas forwarded me Pinsky's contact info.
In an email, Pinsky remembered well the trial–Ramos, his ultimate protector Michael Driscoll (now the Bishop of Boise), the incredulity of the church's defense. But what he remembers the most was a note that former Orange Bishop Norman McFarland wrote to the Times after Pinsky's piece appeared, calling it "predatory" reporting. Pinsky and his editors found the note so amusing they pinned it to the wall of the Times' Orange County bureau.
"In the years since," Pinsky wrote, "I have told the anecdote often; the word 'predatory' seemed so spectacularly ill-chosen."
HILARIOUS! We lesser reporters covering the sex-abuse scandal salute you, Mark, for your pioneering work. And, as always, heckuva job, Brownie!