If there's anyone who knows the internal politics of the Catholic church as it attempted to navigate the clergy sexual abuse scandal, it's Father Stephen J. Rossetti. For many years Rossetti headed the St. Luke Institute, which sought to rehabilitate priests who were known to the church to have sexually abused or exploited their parishioners, adults and children alike. Rossetti even traveled and gave lectures to other clergy about how best to handle such priests, becoming something of an expert on the subject.
"SoCal Connected" has obtained one of Rossetti's lectures from 1996, a talk titled "Post-Treatment Options for Clergy Perpetrators" that has never before been made public. Some of this lecture became part of our exclusive investigation into the church's practice of moving priests around in the L.A. Archdiocese. But we wanted to make it public in its entirety. We feel that it is a valuable contribution to the historical record about a scandal that has rocked the Catholic church for decades. We offer it now without any analysis or further explanation other than a closing note on Rossetti himself: Father Rossetti's positions have evolved over the years, and he says he now supports a policy of zero tolerance, which places emphasis on taking care of the victim first.
Read the document below:
White smoke has ascended from atop the Sistine Chapel, marking the election of a new leader for the Roman Catholic Church. After two days of deliberation, the 115-cardinal conclave has chosen Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77, former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina the new Pope. Pope Francis I, as he will be known, is the first chosen from outside of Europe and the first from Latin America, the area of the world where the church's membership is strongest.
What's life like in the average L.A. home? For 10 years starting in 2001, UCLA conducted a landmark study of 32 Los Angeles-area families to see how typical, middle-class people really live. Step inside their homes and see, room by room.
With all precincts reporting in the Los Angeles municipal election as of early this morning, it became clear in several races who would be an outright winner and who would advance to the runoff on May 21.
In the closely contested mayor's race, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti secured a healthy enough lead to advance, with 29.2 percent and 32.9 percent of the vote respectively.
In the city attorney's race, Assemblymember Mike Feuer and incumbent Carmen Trutanich head to the runoff. In the controller's race, it will be businessman Ron Galperin and Councilmember Dennis Zine.
Head over to KCET's Ballot Brief for a complete recap.
A survey conducted late last week shows Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti locked in a statistical dead heat, though of the voters who have already chosen their candidate, roughly half said they could still change their minds, according to a USC Price/Los Angeles Times poll released yesterday.
Two years ago, SoCal Connected looked into a little-known city program -- passed by the voters over a decade ago -- that allows for some veteran city police and firefighters to "retire" and come back to work with their regular pay, while the city pays into their pensions in an interest-accruing account. The Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, is also referred to as a city-sanctioned "double dip" by some. Our latest update reveals not much has been done to address those concerns.
And while the maximum individual payout in our 2011 story was around $900,000, the newly-released data in the chart below show one police chief and one fire chief cashed out at over $1 million each, and that's in addition to receiving their regular salaries. The total combined payout for all DROP participants that were reported to SoCal Connected exceeds $1 billion.
As our story points out, the main candidates in the upcoming mayoral election have been hesitant to discuss, let alone touch, this municipal sacred cow, lest it upset the police and firefighters' unions who support their campaigns.
Some argue the DROP program here and similar ones in other states have actually saved municipal governments on pension costs. We offer the following table of DROP participants for Los Angeles -- with names redacted by the city -- in the interest of openness and discussion.
In a move to protect its 84 digital signs scattered throughout Los Angeles, Clear Channel Outdoor sent a letter yesterday threatening a $100-million legal claim against the city.
The letter was sent just before a special working group convened Saturday at City Hall to come up with suggestions on a new citywide sign program.
SoCal Connected obtained the 11-page letter, which was sent to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and Council President Herb Wesson. Clear Channel Outdoor's executive vice president and general counsel Sara Lee Keller stated in the letter that the company has already submitted required forms for monetary damages, a motion that Keller says is "clear notice of Clear Channel Outdoor's potential claims against the city," which "substantially" exceed $100 million.
Keller states "digital signs are valuable property," and the letter makes it clear the company will fight to keep them.
"The City is at a crucial juncture; it can trigger costly litigation that exposes taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars, or it can avoid the courtroom and resolve the legal status of digital signs in a way that reaps fiscal and aesthetic benefits for the City," Keller writes, adding that "Clear Channel Outdoor will be forced to protect its rights in court" if the city doesn't negotiate with the company.
Jim Cullinan, a spokesperson for Clear Channel Outdoor, told SoCal Connected, "We hope to resolve this situation without litigation, but as required by the city, we also filed notice with the City that we will pursue a damages claim in the event the City chooses not to resolve this situation."
Clear Channel's letter and claims arrived at Los Angeles City Hall just two months after a California Court of Appeals decision that struck down the city's 2008 settlement agreement between Clear Channel, CBS and Regency Outdoor. That agreement allowed three companies to convert traditional billboards to digital boards. A competitor, Summit Media, sued the city, claiming the settlement was illegal, in part, because it gave exemptions to the city's sign laws to just three companies. In December, the Court of Appeals agreed with Summit Media and invalidated the 2008 settlement agreement, which could force all of the digital billboards to be taken down. If that happens, Clear Channel suggests its loss of revenue could easily exceed $100 million. The company has now asked the California Supreme Court to review the case and a decision is expected soon.
In the event the California Supreme Court denies Clear Channel's review, the company says it has already asked the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department to figure out how Clear Channel's existing digital permits are legal under other parts of the city's municipal code. The company states in its letter to the mayor that it is "willing to negotiate relocation agreements with the City that would expressly validate these signs and their permits," which would include "sign take-down and public benefit concepts." Clear Channel also says it wants the option to relocate its signs to other parts of the city and has already filed permits to move two signs in West L.A.
"It's a beyond-belief tactic. It is just trying to frighten the city into what they want," said Dennis Hathaway, founder of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, which has long worked against the proliferation of digital signs in Los Angeles. "I think that the fact that it is coming the day before the visiting group that Clear Channel is a part of -- the timing is very bothersome."
Hathaway is part of a 32-person working group that met Saturday at City Hall. The working group will address if the signs should stay or go, if the city
should have a revenue sharing plan, and if it should require community benefits in exchange for digital signs. Joining community members were members of Clear Channel, other billboard companies, and their lobbyists.
Hathaway said Clear Channel Outdoor's letter "poisons" the work of the group. "Unless the working group comes up with what they want, they are going to sue the city. So what's the point?" he said.
The working group is supposed to present its report to the city's Planning and Land Use Management Committee in March.
Mayor Villaraigosa said he had no comment about Clear Channel's action because he hasn't had a chance to review it.
Ads promoting Clear Channel Outdoor 's digital billboards as public safety tools have been flooding the airwaves recently, and the campaign to portray the electronic signs as a benefit to residents and businesses continues in Keller's l1-page letter. It states Clear Channel Outdoor has devoted free advertising space on its digital boards to the manhunt for former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner and several nonprofits like United Way and The Leukemia Society, among others.
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Charred remains found in the aftermath of a deadly gunbattle and fire at a Big Bear cabin were positively identified Thursday as those of a fugitive ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer accused of killing two people in Irvine, a Riverside police officer and a San Bernardino County sheriff's detective.
Officials in San Bernardino County said they used dental records to identify the remains of 33-year-old Christopher Jordan Dorner.
Dorner died at the end of a fierce gunfight Tuesday afternoon that led to a standoff at a Seven Oaks cabin in Big Bear. Sheriff's deputies eventually fired tear gas canisters into the cabin and a fire erupted, burning the structure to the ground. Charred remains were found inside later that night, but it took investigators until Thursday to positively identify them as Dorner.
At 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies received a report of a man matching Dorner's description stealing a car from a cabin in the 1200 block of Club View Drive in Big Bear.
The cabin's owners, 66-year-old Jim and 56-year-old Karen Reynolds, said they arrived around noon Tuesday to clean it for a pending rental and were surprised to find someone matching Dorner's description inside.
Telling the couple he wouldn't harm them and was just trying to clear his name, the man used plastic zip ties to bind their hands and legs and put towels in their mouths and pillowcases over their heads before forcing them into a back bedroom, the couple said.
He told the couple he had been in the cabin since as early as Friday and had watched them from inside as they did yard work outside before he fled to sleep elsewhere, they said.
After Dorner left, the couple managed to free themselves and call authorities.
Their stolen vehicle was spotted along Highway 38 by state Department of Fish and Wildlife officers who began chasing the suspect. During the chase, he crashed, abandoned the vehicle and carjacked a man's silver pickup truck.
The suspect opened fire during the pursuit, striking the officers' vehicle, according to Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy. The officers, who returned fire, were not injured, he said.
Officials say Dorner then engaged law enforcement officers in a wild gunbattle while holed up in the cabin on Seven Oaks Road just off Highway 38. During the exchange of gunfire, San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Jeremiah MacKay, 35, was killed, and Deputy Alex Collins was wounded. Collins was expected to make a full recovery.
During the standoff, police used a heavily armored vehicle to tear down walls of the cabin, then fired tear gas canisters inside shortly after 4 p.m. By about 4:20 p.m., the cabin was engulfed in flames. Several reports indicated that a single gunshot was heard emanating from the cabin before it burned down. As the fire raged, the sound of exploding ammunition could be heard from inside.
The manhunt for Dorner had been focused in the Big Bear area since last Thursday when his pickup truck -- apparently disabled by a broken axle -- was discovered burning on a forest road. Ironically, the Reynolds' cabin where Dorner was apparently hiding overlooked the Sheriff's Department command post that was established to coordinate the search.
Authorities say Dorner's killing spree began on Feb. 3, when the former Navy Reserve lieutenant allegedly gunned down the daughter and future son-in- law of an ex-police captain who represented him at a hearing that resulted in his dismissal from the LAPD.
The bodies of 28-year-old Cal State Fullerton assistant women's basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old USC public safety Officer Keith Lawrence, were found in Lawrence's car in the parking structure of their Irvine condominium building.
The next day, Dorner allegedly posted a 6,000-word manifesto online, vowing to kill named LAPD officers and their families. About 50 Los Angeles police officers and their families were being protected during the manhunt, authorities said.
Last Thursday, Dorner was allegedly involved in a shootout with Los Angeles police guarding an officer's home in Corona, leaving one officer with a graze wound to the head, police said. About 20 minutes later, he allegedly fired on a pair of Riverside police officers stopped at a red light, killing Officer Michael Crain, 34, and wounding the other, who was expected to recover.
Crain, an 11-year department veteran and ex-Marine, is survived by his wife, Regina, and two children, Ian, 10, and Kaitlyn, 4. He was buried Wednesday at Riverside National Cemetery after a memorial service at Grove Community Church. Among the thousands of people paying their final respects were Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, military veterans and thousands of police officers from around the state and country.
Meanwhile, questions continued to linger about whether anyone -- such as the Reynolds couple or Big Bear carjacking victim Rick Heltebrake -- would be able to collect a $1 million reward that had been offered during the Dorner manhunt.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who announced the reward fund Sunday, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck issued a statement saying they hoped the reward would be paid out, but the issue was still being reviewed by the various agencies and jurisdictions that contributed.
"Now that the search for Christopher Dorner appears to have concluded, we are addressing the issue of the $1 million reward," the statement read. "More than 20 jurisdictions and entities are involved in this reward, so all of them will be coming together to collectively determine whether any individual or individuals qualify for it. Our personal hope is that the reward will be distributed, but we must follow the rules and respect for the procedures of each entity."
Below is the full text of Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address, as prepared for delivery and published by the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Good evening. I'm Marco Rubio. I'm blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans. And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers.
The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.
But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.
Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didn't inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better - the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams.
This opportunity - to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life - it isn't bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.
Presidents in both parties - from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan - have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity.
But President Obama? He believes it's the cause of our problems. That the economic downturn happened because our government didn't tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.
This idea - that our problems were caused by a government that was too small - it's just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers - that's an old idea that's failed every time it's been tried.
More government isn't going to help you get ahead. It's going to hold you back.
More government isn't going to create more opportunities. It's going to limit them.
And more government isn't going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. It's going to create uncertainty.
Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can't afford to follow.
Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs.
And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.
For example, Obamacare was supposed to help middle class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses aren't hiring. Not only that; they're being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.
Now does this mean there's no role for government? Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But government's role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it can't play its essential role when it ignores those limits.
There are valid reasons to be concerned about the President's plan to grow our government. But any time anyone opposes the President's agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives.
When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can't control the weather - he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more flexibility to manage them - he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly and disabled to fend for themselves.
And tonight, he even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts - cuts that were his idea in the first place.
But his favorite attack of all is that those who don't agree with him - they only care about rich people.
Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren't millionaires. They're retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They're workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They're immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.
The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs.
And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security.
So Mr. President, I don't oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.
Hard-working middle class Americans who don't need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They want a plan to grow the middle class.
Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class. Unfortunately, our economy actually shrank during the last three months of 2012.
But if we can get the economy to grow at just 4 percent a year, it would create millions of middle class jobs. And it could reduce our deficits by almost $4 trillion dollars over the next decade.
Tax increases can't do this. Raising taxes won't create private sector jobs. And there's no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That's why I hope the President will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy.
One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio. But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called "clean energy" companies like Solyndra, let's open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration. And let's reform our energy regulations so that they're reasonable and based on common sense. If we can grow our energy industry, it will make us energy independent, it will create middle class jobs and it will help bring manufacturing back from places like China.
Simplifying our tax code will also help the middle class, because it will make it easier for small businesses to hire and grow.
And we agree with the President that we should lower our corporate tax rate, which is one of the highest in the world, so that companies will start bringing their money and their jobs back here from overseas.
We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world's best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
Helping the middle class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today's jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow's world will require.
We need to incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses and more vocational and career training.
We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.
And because tuition costs have grown so fast, we need to change the way we pay for higher education.
I believe in federal financial aid. I couldn't have gone to college without it. But it's not just about spending more money on these programs; it's also about strengthening and modernizing them.
A 21st century workforce should not be forced to accept 20th century education solutions. Today's students aren't only 18 year olds. They're returning veterans. They're single parents who decide to get the education they need to earn a decent wage. And they're workers who have lost jobs that are never coming back and need to be retrained.
We need student aid that does not discriminate against programs that non-traditional students rely on - like online courses, or degree programs that give you credit for work experience.
When I finished school, I owed over 100,000 dollars in student loans, a debt I paid off just a few months ago. Today, many graduates face massive student debt. We must give students more information on the costs and benefits of the student loans they're taking out.
All these measures are key to helping the economy grow. But we won't be able to sustain a vibrant middle class unless we solve our debt problem.
Every dollar our government borrows is money that isn't being invested to create jobs. And the uncertainty created by the debt is one reason why many businesses aren't hiring.
The President loves to blame the debt on President Bush. But President Obama created more debt in four years than his predecessor did in eight.
The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending 1 trillion dollars more than it takes in every year. That's why we need a balanced budget amendment.
The biggest obstacles to balancing the budget are programs where spending is already locked in. One of these programs, Medicare, is especially important to me. It provided my father the care he needed to battle cancer and ultimately die with dignity. And it pays for the care my mother receives now.
I would never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt seniors like my mother. But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.
Republicans have offered a detailed and credible plan that helps save Medicare without hurting today's retirees. Instead of playing politics with Medicare, when is the President going to offer his plan to save it? Tonight would have been a good time for him to do it.
Of course, we face other challenges as well. We were all heart broken by the recent tragedy in Connecticut. We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.
On foreign policy, America continues to be indispensable to the goal of global liberty, prosperity and safeguarding human rights. The world is a better place when America is the strongest nation on earth. But we can't remain powerful if we don't have an economy that can afford it.
In the short time I've been here in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the ones the President laid out tonight.
The choice isn't just between big government or big business. What we need is an accountable, efficient and effective government that allows small and new businesses to create middle class jobs.
We don't have to raise taxes to avoid the President's devastating cuts to our military. Republicans have passed a plan that replaces these cuts with responsible spending reforms.
In order to balance our budget, the choice doesn't have to be either higher taxes or dramatic benefit cuts for those in need. Instead we should grow our economy so that we create new taxpayers, not new taxes, and so our government can afford to help those who truly cannot help themselves.
And the truth is every problem can't be solved by government. Many are caused by the moral breakdown in our society. And the answers to those challenges lie primarily in our families and our faiths, not our politicians.
Despite our differences, I know that both Republicans and Democrats love America. I pray we can come together to solve our problems, because the choices before us could not be more important.
If we can get our economy healthy again, our children will be the most prosperous Americans ever.
And if we do not, we will forever be known as the generation responsible for America's decline.
At a time when one showdown after another ends in short-term deals that do little or nothing about our real problems, some are starting to believe that our government leaders just can't or won't make the right choices anymore.
But our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol. It's always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible.
Americans have always celebrated and been inspired by those who succeed. But it's the dreams of those who are still trying to make it that sets our nation apart.
Tonight, all across this land, parents will hold their newborn children in their arms for the first time. For many of these parents, life has not gone the way they had planned.
Maybe they were born into circumstances they've found difficult to escape. Maybe they've made some mistakes along the way. Maybe they're young mothers, all alone, the father of their child long gone.
But tonight, when they look into the eyes of their child for the first time, their lives will change forever. Because in those eyes, they will see what my parents saw in me, and what your parents saw in you. They will see all the hopes and dreams they once had for themselves.
This dream - of a better life for their children - it's the hope of parents everywhere. Politicians here and throughout the world have long promised that more government can make those dreams come true.
But we Americans have always known better. From our earliest days, we embraced economic liberty instead. And because we did, America remains one of the few places on earth where dreams like these even have a chance.
Each time our nation has faced great challenges, what has kept us together was our shared hope for a better life.
Now, let that hope bring us together again. To solve the challenges of our time and write the next chapter in the amazing story of the greatest nation man has ever known.
Thank you for listening. May God bless all of you. May God bless our President. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.