Under the reign of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown, the Catholic Diocese of Orange has lied, spun, hid, dismissed, excused, and ignored its shameful sex-abuse scandal–no surprise there. But never in my four years of reporting on the story have I ever encountered such a ridiculous action as the one I'm about to explain.
Look closely at the picture to the left of this post. It's from the Orange diocese's new history of itself, which I reviewed this week. Pay special attention to the space between the lady and the guy on the farthest right.
Now, click at the jump to see the original photo!
Notice anything different? You see that guy where once there was nothing? None other than John Lenihan, one of Orange County's most notorious rapist padres and my childhood priest. That's right: the Orange diocese PHOTOSHOPPED A FREAKING PICTURE SO READERS WON'T KNOW THAT IT LET LENIHAN STAY AROUND LONG AFTER HE ADMITTED TO HIS RAPES. The snapshot was taken in 2001, when Lenihan was serving as an adviser for the then-developing JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano. Brown didn't seek to laicize him until spring of 2002–almost a decade after he admitted to molesting a 15-year-old girl during the 1970s.
When was the last time we saw a ruler erase embarrassments from his record? Here's a visual hint:
Let's see the Brown apologists spin their way out of this one…
In other OC diocesan history-erasing, Father Chris Heath of St. Edward the Confessor in Dana Point has purged all the posts from his blog that delighted us so. Man, what is it about Brown's leadership and the creation of idiots?