in 2009 our ongoing coverage of the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church will be at City fAngels5. in 2010 at CityofAngels8
Monday, May 12, 2008
Cardboard Cardinal meets with LA plaintiff from 07 civil cases, says her perpetrator George Rucker laicized this year, no one knows where he is, shrug
By Kay Ebeling
When drawing a picture of Cardinal Roger Mahony, the face becomes more lifelike when you begin to erase lines. I sat in on a conference Saturday with the Cardinal and Cindy Falter, one of the LA plaintiffs from last year’s civil cases, in response to Mahony's call for victims of church sex crimes to come to him, meet with him. (Above is raw video, a standup interview with Cindy right after the meeting.) At one point she kept asking the cardinal to answer, “How do you explain George Neville Rucker openly taking children out of the classroom to the rectory to be raped on school days?”
“Well, it’s evil, it’s just pure evil,” was the Cardinal’s response. The room was silent so he repeated, “It was evil pure evil.” That was all he had to say.
Mahony did tell us that Cindy’s perpetrator, George Neville Rucker, was laicized earlier this year, and the archdiocese confirmed to me today by phone, that by a decree from Rome, Rucker was removed in 2008 from the priesthood. Mahony assured us we no longer have to worry about the church expending funds to pay for Rucker’s stay in Nazareth House, where he’s apparently been the past few years.
“He’s on Social Security now,” Mahony told us, which means the pedophile priest George Neville Rucker will have a steady income, he'll stay healthy with MediCare, probably get section 8 housing before long or county funded board and care help until he dies. Rucker was convicted once but the 2003 US Supreme Court Stogner decision released him and a lot of priests from their crimes.
So Rucker won't be on any offenders lists. The archdiocese would not give any information about when or where George Neville Rucker was laicized and turned out for the taxpayers to support.
Where are the documents? Cindy asked, and learned that a lot of plaintiffs ask that question. Apparently they have to get a lawyer and request their perpetrator’s personnel files, then the priest inevitably appeals release of documents claiming privacy issues, inevitably then you have a hearing in front of a judge who finally decides how much of your perpetrator’s documents you can have. So plaintiffs have to take the initial step requesting the documents through lawyers. Mahony held up his hands and flecks of cardboard dust fell to the floor, he is not part of this process.
At one point while Cindy was puking, I took advantage of the break in her talk to pipe in like the ever dreaming flower child I am, seizing the moment to say things I’ve always wanted to say to Cardinal Roger Mahony, who sat unmoved watching Cindy spasm puke after puke into the nearby trashcan.
ME: Cardinal Mahony, you have this golden opportunity. You are in a position to DO SOMETHING and all over the world people are watching you. Look at Cindy’s sister, look at me, there are probably 9 in 10 victims who haven’t gotten settlements or help from the church.
Would God Care About the Statute of Limitations?
I went on and on waving my arms in the air: “Would God even acknowledge the statute of limitations? Why the arbitrary help, where it all depends on what state you live in? This was a national problem!"
A Mother's Confession, at least this Survivor gets an response from her Family during the meeting
At one point Cindy’s mother spoke in tears saying “I think all my life, this is my fault.” Ah, there’s a phrase Mahony is familiar with, he’d been trained for a response.
The Manchurian Cardinal opens his mouth and out comes, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” Small voice, almost no lilt or life, but the words are professional, like Mahony spent a lot of time with consultants learning listening and responding skills before starting these meetings with the plaintiffs. Another time all three women were begging, how could this happen. Mahony's response:
"It was evil, pure evil."
Now as the woman in her seventies cries to him that she feels like it was her fault, Mahony stares bland faced at her and listens. She talks about Father Rucker coming to their small house in El Segundo, where the single mother supported practically the only non-Anglo family in town and how important it was for her children to go to Catholic school.
The church always guaranteed the young girls’ tuition.
Cindy’s mom in tears said, “He was so tall. He would be holding her and I saw one time his hand go on her in the wrong place. And I reached up and tried to move his hand and he pulled away, and laughed and said, don’t worry it’s all right.”
Over dinner later Cindy got stoic.
“Did you hear my mama admit that?” she said. “Don’t you remember I told you that, that I had this kind of memory of being touched by him even when I was a baby, but I couldn't be sure, and now she just confirmed that.”
So the meetings between Mahony and the plaintiffs can result in progress.
But still there was that sense that Mahony and Suzanne Healy, his new coordinator of the assistance ministry were too practiced in their responses. That “It was evil, pure evil” is so bland and noncommittal. Are you admitting you are evil, the church, that one priest? There was just a lot of evil all around and the church didn't want to be bothered dealing with it?
You’re the Cardinal, do something, say something.
Cindy bent his ear a good 45 minutes. She said, “If you had paid any attention to our stories in the 500 cases the last six years you would not show up here for this meeting with a collar around your neck and wearing that priest dress."
Then she turned her head, grabbed a nearby trash can, and started puking, deep from her gut puking.
Now my intent was to be quiet and just listen, as this was Cindy’s meeting, but I decided to
Seize The Moment
So while Cindy puked, I chimed in:
“You know, Cardinal Mahony, I keep watching you and it’s like you're thinking, well what is it you want me to do.”
Mahony and Healy’s heads turned to me, their eyes watched me, like cardboard characters they listened. Cindy continued to puke in the background. I was ever the flower child thinking I could use this 30 seconds to completely change the Cardinal:
“Someone in your position with your power, you could set up a foundation that we could apply to for grants. Don’t make the parishes pay for it, just sell a statue at the Vatican to create a bank account for victims of sex crimes by priests.
“Because each of us needs something different. I don't want therapy. I want a scholarship for my daughter or something to make up for her having to be raised in poverty.
“Each one of us has one specific thing that would change our lives and make up for 40 years of being a total basket case. I'm not putting down what you've done, but it’s not enough.
"Look at Cindy over there puking right now. These crimes leave physical effects.
“Would God really care about the statute of limitations, or what state a person is in, whether they can have justice?"
Cindy was still barfing, Mahony and Healy were still professionally listening so I found more power in my flower child memory:
“Stop being so officious, Cardinal Mahony, and saying this legal thing here is stopping me from helping. You're the Cardinal. You have power.
“We're almost like holocaust survivors.” We still need attention.
At this Ms. Healy actually nodded. So I went on.
“Maybe we are the last victims, but we're still here and we're damaged and the church did it to us and we still need help, the other 90 percent who can’t file lawsuits.”
My voice was higher and louder and Cindy was starting to wipe her mouth. I sat up halfway in my chair leaning on the table my arm raised in the sky, and I said to the cardinal.
“Do it. Do something.
“You could start a change and stop the church’s demise. You could begin the difference in the church’s image that brings people back.”
I have to admit when I mentioned the church’s image, Mahony did give a glint of response, but for the rest of my speech he sat, expression never changing from when Cindy’s sister was giving details about being raped on an altar to when Cindy’s mom was in tears over letting Rucker touch her daughter, to my tiny tirade about his opportunity to change the church.
Cardboard is the word Cindy’s friend Tony used when he seized a moment to throw in a few words. He started to rail about “cardboard Catholics”
Cindy’s boyfriend standing behind her at one point began railing about organized religion especially the Cardboard Catholics and I saw it then. Cardinal Mahony with his unusually flat head, vapid eyes, one-liners fully practiced, his quiet responses, he is actually part cardboard. How else could his expression hardly change from a skilled practiced gaze as he listened to the story of one family, out of thousands in LA destroyed by his negligence and pandering to the pedophiles in the church over the children over decades. Not until towards the end of the meeting, was there a glint of life in Mahony’s eyes, apparently thinking I can’t wait to get outta here.
We all could tell as we watched Mahony glide up the hallway toward his living quarters behind the cathedral offices that the Cardinal carries this burden.
He probably carries this burden well at cocktail parties. He bows his head and shares with his pals how emotionally draining it is to have to execute these listening sessions with the plaintiffs as they tell their horrid stories. He gets a lot of mileage out of these meetings, we all agreed sitting over dinner later, both in PR and in getting pats on the back from the brothers.
At one point during the meeting with Mahony, Cindy tried to get the Cardinal to see, “It means nothing” meaning the settlement money meant nothing, and she threw a new diamond ring on the table in front of him.
MY NASTY JOKE:
Talking to Mahony is like having sex with a man who’s impotent. You just keep trying and trying and giving and giving, and you know you should be getting a response, but there’s just nothing there, nothing happens.
Keep in mind I come from a life of profound promiscuity after a priest planted sexuality in me at age five with his diddling little fingers on my privates. So my sense of humor is a little sick. At the end of the session I had to repeat to everyone my new joke and I'm repeating it here:
Talking to Roger Mahony about how to handle us victims is like having sex with an impotent man. You keep trying and trying and giving more and more and you never get anything out of him.
At one point all three women, Cindy, her sister and Mother were in tears, wailing in front of the cardinal that he has to do more. Over a good 50 minutes Cindy lashed out at the Cardinal. Her mother, in her mid-seventies, sat straight and back straight proud staring at the cardinal through tears, “I go to mass and communion still, they don’t, but I think it was my fault, this was all my fault.”
At this the cardinal raised his hands from the table and spread them in front of him stating,
“It was not your fault. It was not your fault.”
We’d found another buzz word that ignited a response in the Manchurian Cardinal. When someone says they think it’s their fault, the Manchurian Cardinal turns to them and say with compassion, “It’s not your fault, no it’s not your fault.”
Roger Mahony is the Manchurian Cardinal.
It’s evil pure evil,
A perfect combination of words.
It hints at the religion without putting it in your face, it hints at compassion without really having to give any.
After sitting in on this meeting, I do think the cardinal is made of cardboard. The man has no feelings, no emotions.
How else could he blow with the winds up the hierarchy career ladder in the seventies and eighties in the Southern California Catholic Church, where we see now there was truly an epidemic of pedophilia that started in the seminaries and got transferred from parish to parish in what were then rural parts of the landscape.
Becoming bishop of Stockton where O’Grady festered and then Archbishop of Los Angeles where pedophiles picked freely from the children in the pews from Santa Barbara to Riverside for a good 50 years,
MAHONY CLAIMS to have had no knowledge at all that pedophilia was a problem among priests in California, that he first heard of it only when Fr. Baker confessed to him, or no, when O’Grady first was transferred. He never has quite pinpointed it.
“Mahony’s gay,” says my friend Jay (Not his real name) another LA plaintiff who is tres gay himself so can say, “I have great gay-dar, the man is completely homosexual.” I reply, no I think he’s asexual, there’s just nothing there. So it’s easy for him to be celibate.”
As Cindy railed on in the cardinal’s face to “Do Something” he and his new Assistance Ministry Coordinator Suzanne Healy stared continuously into her eyes, nodded, were totally trained and professional listeners, responding barely at all. Occasionally the cardinal would try to inject the old, look at our great fingerprint and background check but Cindy wouldn't let him, spitting out, so what, every other public school and institution has done that for decades. You have to do something more.
Cindy Takes No Sh---
“Wait a minute hold it right there. To begin with I'm not a victim I'm a survivor.
“Alright, I’ll call you a victim."
The Cardboard Cardinal has a temporary glitch. Cindy's mom says again, "I think it's my fault." Mahony's eyes fixate, he turns, his body slim and straight, his eyes a blunt brown, he stares at Cindy's mom, stares as inside his head, synapses reconnect as programmed.
Flatly, he says, "It was evil, just pure evil."
He's the Manchurian Cardinal.
A LOT MORE LAWSUITS LIKELY COMING:
As the assistance coordinator proudly described the church’s new policy where even the volunteers have to be fingerprinted, background checked, and taught how to report, I was thinking, do you mean you haven’t been doing that at Catholic places for the last 20 years like the rest of American society? Oh boy, there’s going to be a lot more lawsuits. . .
And don’t forget, none of the religious order priests has to be background checked and fingerprinted. The edict for this policy from US bishops did not include religious order priests.
I think I heard this dialogue between Cindy and the Cardinal.
CINDY: How could you not know?
MAHONY: Who not know?
CINDY: How could you not know.
MAHONY: Not know what?
Cindy thinks the church hired FBI guys or maybe Homeland Security to follow her around before the settlements. She was very vocal throughout the lawsuits and said weird things happened.
She said the lawsuits were vicious
And Mahony said, yes, they were, on both sides.
Always deflecting, always deflecting, a cardboard Cardinal sometimes covered in aluminum foil for master deflecting.
ME: Why should somebody have to hire an attorney and go through litigation to get help from the Catholic Church?
Mahony and Healy’s heads turned to the left, their eyes met mine, and they listened to me, then turned back to Cindy.
Cindy’s sister said, she had trouble being touched her entire life. It made her feel bad inside.
Cindy says, I need to go to the rectory. I need to go down below. I need to go back to that space. And I want to know if the altar is changed. I just need to know that the same altar where I was raped is gone.
Next day Cindy called me and said, I did go to the rectory. It’s all so different. But I think going there changed me. It changed me. It's like it is finally over.
I wonder how it will affect me to go to Chicago in July and take the train to Bartlett and see the church where I was raped in 1953. Wonder if I’ll find other survivors of Father Thomas Barry Horne.
PS GREAT NEWS: I’ve raised enough to fly to Chicago, go to the SNAP conference and stay in a hotel for five nights. I want to stay about three weeks, to do my research, so please keep clicking the PayPal button in the top left corner to help fund this trip.
GEORGE NEVILLE RUCKER
From Bishopaccountability dot org:
Record of abuse began shortly after ordination. First investigated by police in 1967. 1st civil suit filed 1994. Arrested 2002 on charges involving 12 girls. Criminal charges dropped 2003 due to Supreme Court ruling. Named as #1 on list of top 10 abusive priests in LA Archdiocese with 38-41 known accusers. Some claims settled in 12/06 massive $60 million settlement re 22 priests. Other claims settled in massive 7/07 $660 mil settlement by Archdiocese
More to come.
Salesians Jury Trial starts Wednesday morning.
Onward. . .
COMING SOON: For a good 45 minutes Cindy slammed Mahony and the church for taking six years to settle the cases and what that put her family through. It had a lot to do with her losing custody of her child, as she was homeless and destitute for a large part of the time.
We hope to do a story in the near future about how the litigation affected the plaintiffs.
CALL: Target Crimes, LA DA's Office, to report sex crimes in the Catholic Church: Phone: (213) 974-5985