Monterey County Weekly Publishes Investigation of Diocese of Monterey

october 29, 2015  10:00 am
Monterey County Weekly Publishes Investigation of Diocese of Monterey
SEASIDE, CA - Monterey County Weekly today published a 10,000-plus word investigative report “True Confessions,” which tracks an alleged sexual abuse scandal within the Diocese of Monterey and the church’s attempt to keep the real story from the public.

The backstory: In 2011 a former parishioner sued the diocese for alleged sexual molestation by Father Fitz-Henry dating back to 2005 when John "RJ" Doe was fifteen years-old. The Church settled with Doe for $500,000, and sought to keep its internal investigation of the priest sealed and out of the public’s view. In a cross-complaint, the diocese also settled a lawsuit filed by Father Fitz-Henry, which resulted in his leaving the church ministry.

Monterey County Weekly filed a motion in 2013 to have the documents unsealed and ultimately prevailed in a unanimous 3-0 vote by the state Court of Appeal in July, affirming the lower court decision allowing the documents to be disclosed. The Weekly subsequently received nearly 1,350 pages of court documents, including depositions and correspondence.

"True Confessions" reveals that the Diocese’s own investigator believed there may have been up to six alleged victims, that a whistleblower was told to mind her own business, that Father Fitz-Henry’s attorney “begged” the church not to settle with John Doe, and finally, in his first interview since the charges were made, the former priest maintains his innocence.

“True Confessions” was written by Weekly editor Mary Duan and assistant editor Sara Rubin, is a Special Report — following this multi-year court battle — revealing what the diocese knew, when they knew it and what they did about it.

Monterey County Weekly was represented in its legal battle by Roger Myers of Bryan Cave, San Francisco. The complete Special Report is also available online, including the full Q & A with Father Fitz-Henry.

Contact: Mary Duan, Editor (831) 394-5656 x 107; Bradley Zeve, Founder & CEO, (831) 601-5678; Erik Cushman, Publisher (831) 2394-5656 x125; Roger Myers (415) 328-9654