The bumblin' Friends of Monsignor John got walloped yesterday on the radio by the John and Ken Show, and today in print by Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit for their, well, bumblin' (read our archives for background on the matter, por favor). Mickadeit elicited the first public response on the controversy from the Friends' website administrator and OC Blog god Matt “Jubal” Cunningham, who told Frank the posting of unredacted depositions which revealed the names of Orange diocese sex-abuse victims was a “stupid accident. … We have nothing against the victims. I feel horrible.” Good to know. But later on in Mickadeit's column, Cunningham says something strange: “We can understand now that victims would see some of the content as being insensitive.”
Now? Now?! NOW?!?! Only after getting a cease-and-desist letter from victims' lawyer John Manly does Cunningham and the Friends “understand” that previously anonymous sex-abuse victims “would” interpret the posting of their names without permission as being “insensitive”? For all of Cunningham's posts about claiming to sympathize with victims of priestly molestations while simultaneously defending his pastor Urell, Cunningham shows time and time again that he simply doesn't get it. Curiously, he's yet to mention the fiasco on OC Blog, even as readers leave scolding comments.
Even worse, the Friends aren't out of the woods yet.
Cunningham has asked Darren Aitken, son of longtime Democratic activist Wylie and Cunningham's fellow Friar, to help him fend of Manly, who's demanding to know how the Friends obtained Urell's unredacted memo and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Orange diocese and four molestation victims of former diocesan lay employees. “The information that I have received,” wrote Aitken to Manly in a letter sent yesterday, “is that there are no legal prohibitions on third parties either possessing or publishing either the Memorandum of Understanding or the deposition of Monsignor Urell. It appears from your letters that you feel differently.”
Manly doesn't disagree with Aitken's position, so to speak: He's furious that the Friends posted unredacted versions of Urell's deposition and the MOU. “Whether their 'outing' was intentional or mistaken, these victims had a reasonable expectation of privacy under the California Constitution and California law.” Furthermore, Manly states, the MOU was “filed with [Orange County Superior Court] under seal to protect the name of one of the victims who had not chosen to disclose her identity.” What intrigue! More to come, as it arrives…