Judge Asked To Hold Bishop In Contempt in Sex Abuse Cases
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Attorneys for fourwomen who will share a $6.7 million settlement from the Diocese ofOrange will ask a judge Tuesday to hold Bishop Tod Brown in contempt ofcourt.The women's lawyers say that Brown sent a monsignor out ofthe country while he was still in the process of giving a deposition.Monsignor John Urell was in charge of handling complaints of sexualabuse by clergy and lay employees at the diocese. He broke down at arecent deposition and left the country. It was later learned that Urellhad been sent to a facility in Canada that treats members of the clergy.Hisattorney, Patrick Hennessey, has said Urell was never accused of sexualabuse or any other wrongdoing, but suffers from an anxiety disorderbrought on by the strain of his prior responsibility of responding tocomplaints of sexual abuse by others.
The women are Christina Ruiz, 27; Elaina Kroll, 28; and Sarah Gray, 26.The fourth woman attended the news conference at the Newport Beachoffices of attorney John Manly, but did not give her name or speakpublicly."It just came to a point in their healing where theyfelt comfortable to do it, especially when the three were together atthe same time," said attorney Ryan DiMaria, who also worked on thecases. "They felt strength among themselves."The settlement ofthe four cases was announced Friday as the case involving Ruiz -- whosaid she was victimized by former Mater Dei High School assistantbasketball coach Jeff Andrade -- was set to go to trial.Andrade, who left his coaching position in 1997, has admitted in a deposition that he had sex with his accuser.Ruiz told reporters that she was "abused at Mater Dei High School from 1995 to 1997."She said she was made to feel that no one would believe her.Dioceseand school officials and diocese attorneys "made me believe that it wasmy fault," Ruiz told reporters. "They told me that I was pretty muchasking for it and that I was the one who seduced him."Astatement released by the diocese last week said in part, "thissettlement represents the moral obligation for the church for suchbehavior by adults in positions of authority."A criminal case isproceeding in the case of Kroll, in addition to her lawsuit. Albert LeeSchildknecht, 56, of Laguna Niguel, a former choir director at St.Timothy Church in Laguna Niguel and later at St. Edward the Confessorin Dana Point, has been charged with oral copulation and digitalpenetration.Gray said she was abused by Larry Stukenholz, achoir director and teacher at Mater Dei. She said the acts allegedlytook place in 1998, DiMaria said.The fourth woman, who did notgive her name but was known as Jane A. Doe, claims her abuse was at thehands of Santa Margarita High School teacher Jeffrey Seckman, between1990-94, in an on-again, off-again situation, DiMaria said.The money is expected to be paid out in 30 to 45 days, lawyers said.DiMariadid not elaborate on how the money will be divided, but said it isbased on a number of factors, such as the nature of the abuse and howthe diocese treated the accusing party
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