In 2011 CofA is at CofA11

... Not Just L.A., The City of Angels Is Everywhere...

I was age five when the bishop stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what the priest did to you." Then, forty years later... I started babbling.
Re Missing Link collection below: Email editor Jay Nelson of Albuquerque at CLICK IMAGES to enlarge

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Goodbye L.A. I will miss your jury pools. CofA is off to the land of Radioactive Pedophile Priests

One thing I will miss about California is its compassionate laws and politics; for example, people with pedophile priest crime experiences as old as mine* were able to file lawsuits in 2003 and get settlements in 2007, thanks to a law passed by this state Legislature, an event not likely to happen in most parts of the country. The one Clergy Case in L.A. that got as far as jury selection in 2008 exemplifies how progressive the population is here compared to the rest of the world. Here is how we reported on the Salesian case that got as far as voir dire in May of 2008 at City of Angels 4:

‘One of the questions was, “How many of you believe the Catholic Church has covered up sex crimes?” Every potential juror in the first day of voir dire raised their hand, in the Salesian cases which settled before going to trial this week in LA. At another point attorneys asked, how many of you think a Catholic priest will lie under oath to protect the church and, again, every one of them raised their hands.’ (Read the coverage at CofA3.

Writing this blog is so therapeutic. I truly recommend to any survivor of a pedophile priest who feels stuck in a place where you're a victim all the time: Find a way to use your skills, whatever they are, to communicate the injustice, outrage, and shock the crimes of pedophile priests and their enabling bishops created in you.

As I pull out of L.A., towards New Mexico, taking CofA on the road, I know there are things I will miss about this place, and since my daughter is here, I’ll probably come back. For now, everything I ever did in my life led me to do this blog, and going from city to city to report on the similarities, patterns, and signs of collusion among hierarchy in these crimes is definitely the next step. After Albuquerque CofA Blog hopes to visit Boston, Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit, and who knows what other cities, in search of the total story.

There were a couple breakthrough moments in the birth of the blog that made it therapeutic, so starting this blog inadvertently took the place of therapy for me. Producing this blog caused me to evolve from a puffy introverted shaky perpetual victim into a spunky alert acknowledged appreciated … contributor to society for the first time in my life.

One breakthrough moment was after one of the L.A. Clergy Cases pretrial hearings in Judge Haley Fromholz’ courtroom downtown L.A. that I would cover at City of Angels 3 in 2007. Plaintiff attorney Tony DeMarco sat in the hallway on a bench next to one of the attorneys from Hennigan Bennett & Dorman, who are the L.A. Archdiocese’s lead law firm, or one of them anyway.

It was only a few weeks since I’d started City of Angels and I literally had no idea what I was doing, just knew it was the right thing to do, otherwise I’d be at home watching HBO and getting even fatter.

I listened in on the conversation between the two attorneys, who knew I was listening, taking notes even, and yet they continued talking. I ended up writing about their conversation at City of Angels 3 from that time, but I also ended up realizing how I fit into the entire picture, almost at that moment.

It was a breakthrough moment.

Maybe a turning point from survivor to one who thrives on one’s own trauma and the energy it creates.

Because even though I was just sitting and observing and writing things down, I got a sense that I was in exactly the place I was supposed to be at that time, that everything I had ever done in my life up to that date had prepared me for, and led me to this place, and writing down everything these attorneys were saying and doing to post on a blog was exactly what I was supposed to be doing at that time.

And then things at City of Angels Blog just kept taking off from there.

So I truly recommend to any survivor of a pedophile priest who feels stuck in a place where you're a victim all the time: Find a way to use your skills, whatever they are, to communicate the injustice, outrage, and shock the crimes of pedophile priests and their enabling bishops created in you. Imagine the sculptures someone could make if they were so inclined, the facial expressions, the body language of rage.

I can pinpoint another moment when this blog caused me to start having self esteem again after not having any for about thirty years. When I started writing this blog in 2007 I was this simpering rumpled waif emanating insecurity. Physically I was puffy and bloated from both pharmaceuticals and self-destructive eating habits.

It was at Superior Court downtown Los Angeles, maybe the third or fourth time I was there to cover a hearing, so I guess the individuals who work in Judge Fromholz’ court had started reading City of Angels Blog. It was in the afternoon when there was no hearing, and I went in and asked Fromholz’ courtroom clerk, “How do I find documents on these cases?”

He dropped everything to help me. He knew who I was and he treated me with this respect I hadn’t felt probably ever in my life. A Fromholz courtroom employee took me down to the document room, showed me how to log in to the special place where at that time documents in the Clergy Cases were easily available for the public to read. (Superior Court has since closed that public viewing area and new docs from L.A. Clergy Cases after Jan. 2008 are in a different building in a place you can't get to without a lot of money on your credit card....)

Thus at that moment, as the clerk showed me how to log in, how to search by date, or by title, the act of “document diving” began at City of Angels Blog.

Then I found myself with a thousand dollars, a few weeks later, through a fluke of a lump sum unemployment check that arrived weeks after I’d gone back to work. I’d seen the guy from the L.A. Times clacking away on a laptop at a hearing, and knew, that's what I need, so I took the unemployment lump sum and bought a laptop to carry downtown so I could copy type the documents and post them. (It so happens that for my job as a transcriber, I program in shortcuts, so I type almost as fast as a person speaks, see what I mean, everything I've done in my life led up to this moment?)

Somewhere I found a new identity and that elusive thing we call “self esteem.”

I got it somewhere between those two experiences at the courthouse described above, along with the way attorneys for both the Catholic Church and the plaintiffs suing the Church would speak to me with respect I had rarely received, as if I was a real journalist. Plus there has been the amazing readers’ responses to City of Angels Blog, especially when I figured out how to add a PayPal button in mid-2007. The PayPal clicks mean I make a little bit of money from the blog.

So I became a professional again.

Maybe for the first time in my life I was being treated with respect, as up until age 40 when I got sober long enough to experience a repressed memory about Father Thomas Barry Horne, I used to play act everything.

Before I experienced the “repressed memory” that explained all the mysteries of my life, I was never myself. When I was a mother, I played the role of mother, when I was editor on a magazine, I play acted how an editor should act, but I was never myself, not for about forty years, that's part of the phenomenon of experiencing a repressed memory, for me at least. The years between when the trauma happened at age five and when I let myself remember it at forty-five, I play acted, took on personas, pretended to be someone I wasn’t as a way to not be myself… it's hard to explain. It made me a dynamite actress back in the sixties, one of several careers I self sabotaged…

But I digress.

Somewhere between recovering the memory of what happened to me with Father Horne in 1994 and about February of 2010, I not only dropped all the adopted personas, but I also came into the person I could have been. Sure I'm 62 and I finally know who I am, in that respect, it's kind of pathetic.

But I have the Murmur, She Wrote project. as we reported October 16th.

Also on video and if anyone knows how to fix the focus on my new Toshiba webcam I got for this trip, please email me.

Going off to write the story of Radioactive Pedophile Priests as we reported October 5, 2010.

I am so glad to be getting out of L.A., which is my home town more or less, but the neighborhoods I once called my own are now peopled by immigrants from far flung lands where even the alphabets are different. Your politically correct progressive soul may think that shouldn't be a problem, but after living in this neighborhood five years, I don't know how to describe the extra added isolation that crept over me from living in a place where the only native English speakers are the crack whores. Over 60 months here, I learned to just tune out everyone, it became habit. I would go days and weeks without interacting with anyone longer than a broken, How you do? Weather nice, no?

Oppressive isolation, not a healthy place for a PTSD patient in recovery.

I am so glad to be leaving this apartment where I went through a low that it's hard to describe. Outside the door is a neighborhood where trash is piling up to levels that make the streets look like Calcutta, or the beginnings of Calcutta. Maybe Jerry Brown will allocate some funds for street cleaning in L.A. that includes the sidewalks. Meanwhile, in neighborhoods like mine there are festering piles that as I approach, I imagine all the vermin and bacteria that have been brewing there for years and years…

Something about living in the midst of these garbage filled streets, a layer of grime seems to cover everything nearby. And I've adapted. I even started wearing clothes that had stains on them, it didn't matter. It's part of the terrain around Sunset and Normandie in L.A. Just living your daily life, you go for a walk, you end up with trash and mystery particles blowing up onto you. It becomes part of you after awhile. Even now as I'm packing to leave, the past two weeks I've only been wearing the clothes that are stained as I packed any new clean clothes I have in the suitcase. Then the day I leave I’ll throw away every piece of linen, every fabric, every pillow, anything that could carry nits and ticks and bugs from this place. Throw it all away, wish I could burn it all. Trying to carry only new untainted fabrics with me to a new place, leaving behind the mites.

Not just mites, that grime outside literally blows in the window, in the form of dust, molecules, and fumes. I've grown accustomed to the smell of urine and rot. When it rains you can smell mold and mildew all over the neighborhood. We're working poor in this part of town, compared to the rest of Los Angeles. Slum landlords don't take time to maintain things like roofs. So the rot odor is just here, everywhere, and living inside of it, you start to become stained yourself, just to fit in.

This past week I took all those stained clothes and threw them in the trash.

I’ve bought new clothes over the past few months, but haven’t worn them because I didn't want to get them grimy just from being here. Now they're packed in a suitcase and I'm soon outta here.

Doing this trip to write Murmur, She Wrote reminds me of 1969 when I packed up a duffle bag and hitchhiked down the Santa Ana Freeway to Laguna Beach because I heard Timothy Leary was there someplace, and I found him. Just picked up, left Hollywood that time too, and went to Laguna Beach because I knew I was going to find something out by going there, and I did.

As to my first stop in New Mexico to write about Servants of the Paraclete, I am beginning to feel a deep connection with Father Gerald Fitzgerald, the founder of the religious order that tended to pedophile priests outside Albuquerque. I think he was genuinely a decent guy, he just existed on a plane that is other than earthly, but isn't that the goal of being a monk?

A friend emailed me that some “uber Catholics” in his small New Mexico town were asking him why I would come to Albuquerque to write these stories now.

I'm doing this blog as one of the victims of the pedophile priest epidemic in the Catholic Church who is also a journalist, and NM is just my first stop in this incredible true sex crime story that has never been fully reported. My own life was horribly skewered by my sexual behavior and my career is a series of failures. I truly worked my way down a career ladder, as a result of actions I took that I probably never would have taken if I hadn’t been sexualized by a priest when I was five years old.

Honest, I feel like God has given me this story to write, and put the steps to do it in front of me, as a way to kind of make up for the lousy life I ended up living as a result of my behavior. I emailed back to my friend, “If any of those uber-Catholics question why I'm coming to New Mexico, tell them I am being nudged by angels each step of the way." That's the honest truth. From the beginning CofA Blog has been nudged by angels, something uber-Catholics should respect.

About halfway into making train and hotel reservations for this trip to Albuquerque and points beyond, it hit me, not only will I be doing the blog and doing my transcription job over the internet, but…

I'm also going to be traveling!

Sure I’ll be in a hotel room doing my 4-6 hour a day job hopefully as much as 6 mornings a week. But the “Murmur She Wrote” project also means going to a dozen different cities over the next ten years, living there for a while, cities that I've never been to before in my life.

Wow, I created this thing for myself without even realizing it, kinda like City of Angels Blog Cityof Angels Blog itself.


Don’t forget: PayPal high $5’s are what keep City of Angels Blog professional. Click a Donate Button on the left. All funds from this blog are reported to the IRS as free lance writing income, as at CofA we like to keep things legal.

Meanwhile, re the photo below, as I say goodbye to L.A. I use this time to say one more time, "Right back at ya, Lee Potts, lead attorney defending Cardinal Roger Mahony from his corporate law offices at Hennigan downtown L.A."

The photo below first ran at City of Angels September 15, 2010

That day CofA Blog had made one last trip to Superior Court to cover the L.A. Clergy Cases before leaving for Albuquerque and discovered yet another lawsuit where Cardinal Roger Mahony slipped away from a subpoena to testify in a deposition by settling a early. After the hearing that day, I got a photo of Lee Potts while he was talking with Michael Maddigan, of O’Melveny & Myers lawfirm, who appeared for defendants Claretian Missionaries (Potts is with Hennigan Bennett & Dorman).

I called out, “Lee!” to get the two Church Attorneys to look my direction and ended up with the picture at right.

Is Lee Potts giving me the finger?

Well, as I leave L.A., let me say, to you and all the lawyers who defend the corporate interests of the Roman Catholic Church and end up re-victimizing persons who have already been traumatized for life by your priests:

Right back at ya.

Read the post here that goes with the picture of Potts giving me the finger: from September 15, 2010.

Bonus: See Archbishop of Brussels get a pie in the face last week in Belgium.


* My case is in Illinois from 1949-1953. I live in L.A. but was not able to benefit from the California law and file suit.

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