The Monterey County Weekly began covering alleged sexual abuse by a priest at the Diocese of Monterey back in 2011, after parishioners first learned their beloved priest at Old Mission San Juan Bautista had been suspended.
The civil litigation continued for years; a young man identified as John RJ Doe sued the diocese and Father Edward Fitz-Henry; the diocese agreed to pay Doe $500,000 in a settlement.
Fitz-Henry then sued the diocese, claiming they'd failed to protect him; the diocese paid him an undisclosed sum as part of a settlement.
The Weekly wanted to know what was in depositions and other documents that had been filed under seal. What could have led an organization that uses every legal means at its disposal to fight sexual abuse allegations and keep information hidden from the public to settle the Doe suit?
On May 21, 2013, the Weekly’s First Amendment attorney, Roger Myers of the firm Bryan Cave, filed a motion to intervene in the John Doe case and get the records unsealed.
The Weekly won at Monterey County Superior Court, and the diocese appealed; the Sixth District Court of Appeal upheld that victory in a decision Sept. 30, 2015.
We obtained transcripts of depositions and other documents, totaling about 1,350 filed pages, a day later.
The results of what the Weekly found in those documents appear as the cover story in the Oct. 29, 2015 print edition of the Weekly.
The complete story is available here, accompanied by court decisions, an audio recording of the oral arguments, extended sidebars and a full Q&A with Fr. Edward Fitz-Henry.
The Weekly's look at John Doe's case against the Diocese of Monterey and Father Edward Fitz-Henry, and the 1,350 pages of documents ordered unsealed in litigation.
A look at how and why the Monterey County Weekly intervened in a lawsuit against the Diocese of Monterey, seeking disclosure of documents connected to allegations of sexual abuse by a priest.
Fr. Edward Fitz-Henry sat down with the Weekly to tell his story on Oct. 27, at the office of his attorney in San Juan Bautista.
The Weekly is certainly not the first in seeking to expose the extent of sexual abuse – and cover-ups by officials – in the Catholic church. Here’s a look at other significant cases where documents became public.
Pope Francis has has said some of the right things to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members, but he has also made missteps.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose heard oral arguments in the diocese's appeal on July 21, 2015. Attorney Paul Gaspari of the fir…
The Weekly began covering the story of allegations of sexual abuse by Fr. Edward Fitz-Henry in 2011. Links to our archived stories are below.