CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
FALL FROM GRACE
Aired April 17, 2002 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN special report: FALL FROM GRACE: CRISIS IN THE CHURCH. The accuser...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY AGBAYANI, KIMBALL ACCUSER: He was just all over me, his hands, his lips, everything, and I kept saying, "I'm not ready for this. I don't want this."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The accused...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR: Did you rape Mary Agbayani?
REV. DONALD KIMBALL, ACCUSED PRIEST: Absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: How a trusted priest who reached kids with rock 'n' roll was accused of turning from sermons to sex. Tonight, the story tonight of two parishioners who testified against him and in a CNN exclusive, the Reverend Don Kimball makes a surprising admission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: The women came down to you?
KIMBALL: Oh, yeah, big time.
CHUNG: But you did stray a few times?
KIMBALL: Oh, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Plus, shattered faith, broken trust, and claims of cover-ups as the Catholic Church faces a historic turning point. CNN correspondents report from around the world, from Boston to the Vatican.
FALL FROM GRACE: CRISIS IN THE CHURCH. Now, from New York, Connie Chung.
CHUNG: Good evening. In this hour, you will hear from the accused and accusers, prosecutor and defender in a groundbreaking case that's like hundreds of stories being told in parishes around the country but is unusual because the accusers are women. And it's unique because it's the first case of its kind.
A new California law virtually wiped out the statue of limitations for sex crimes against minors in the state, paving the way for this trial and driving other states to rethink their laws as well. The jury rendered its verdict last night. And tonight we'll hear Father Donald Kimball speak publicly for the first time about the women who accused him, the women who wanted him and why celibacy wasn't for him.
And a story that continues to unfold tonight, we learned that a judge has ordered Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law to answer questions about an accused priest. We'll get to that later and we'll look at how the church plans to handle the mushrooming scandals. We begin with a story of broken laws and faith betrayed.
KIMBALL: It took me a long time to learn that if God and I ever sat down for five or 10 minutes, I ought to shut up and let God do all the talking.
CHUNG: At his trial, Reverend Don Kimball did not say a word. He never took the stand. He has consistently maintained his innocence. But his accusers told wrenching stories of sexual abuse more than 20 years ago by the man who was once their trusted youth minister.
The accusations were startling per the priest once considered hip by his teenage flock. A priest who mixed Top 40 music with Bible teachings. He even put out books and videos on relationships.
When Mary Agbayani was 14, she says she went to Reverend Kimball for advice about family members. According to Mary, his response was unorthodox, but typical for the touchy-feely priest.
AGBAYANI: He really got us used to touching each other, touching him. He was a part of touching. He often would come up and give you a hug, touch your shoulders, grab your hand, hold your hand, et cetera. So for him to come up behind me and start rubbing my shoulders in the chapel was not unusual.
CHUNG: But what Mary said the priest did next would change her life forever. She says he raped her on the floor of the chapel.
AGBAYANI: He was just all over me, his hands, his lips, everything and I kept saying, "I'm not ready for this. I don't want this." I remember looking at -- way up high at the crucifix, but God wasn't there to help me. He didn't hear me and Don, the God Don wasn't hearing me either. He wasn't reacting. He wasn't stopping. CHUNG: Mary's story becomes more sordid, the pregnancy, the abortion, she says Reverend Kimball helped her get. Kimball denies all her allegations and said he didn't even have a relationship with her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find the defendant, Donald Ren Kimball not guilty of...
CHUNG: The jury found him not guilty of rapping Mary Agbayani.
CHUNG: But the jury last night also convicted Kimball on two counts of lewd acts against Ellen Brem. Now, he faces up to 14 years in prison at his sentencing next month.
How does this outcome sit with a woman who had accused him of rape? Mary Agbayani joins us now.
Mary, thank you for coming.
AGBAYANI: Thank you.
CHUNG: We appreciate it. Before we get to your reaction to the verdict, tell me, would you describe Father Kimball for me? I'm hearing that he was quite charismatic.
AGBAYANI: He was incredibly charismatic. Part of this goes back to being raised in Catholicism. We children are taught that priests are as close as you can get to God in the human form. And I can remember, you know, very quickly, as a young child look at the side confessionals, those little doors, and asking parents and catechism teachers, you know, what were the doors for. And it was explained that's where you go to talk to God, that's where you go and confess your sins to God and then who walks out of the confessionals but the priests. It was Father Don Kimball. It was Monsignor Jackson.
CHUNG: All right, Mary. So let's go back to 1977. You are 14 years old. This is when you alleged that Father Kimball raped you. Now, the jury came out and said not guilty.
CHUNG: Were you not telling the truth?
AGBAYANI: No, I was telling the truth. Even though the statute of limitations has been eliminated in the state of California, there are still many rules they have to follow and many laws that they still have to follow and one of them is that they still have to try him according to the way the laws were written in 1978.
CHUNG: So you think that that's what the jury was basing its decision on?
AGBAYANI: I believe so. CHUNG: All right. Mary, tell me, there you were. You were 14 and you say he raped you. Now, what did you think your relationship with him was? How did you perceive this relationship?
AGBAYANI: My relationship with Don, he was a youth leader. I was a member of the corps team that helped to lead the youth groups.
CHUNG: After the abuse started, I mean you say that he actually had sex with you several times.
AGBAYANI: Yes, he did.
CHUNG: So how did you perceive him and this relationship? Did you know that there was something wrong with it?
AGBAYANI: During the rape in the chapel, he physically held me down and at one point, I remember looking up at the crucifix that was hanging on the wall, thinking, just stop this, just please stop this. God, stop this.
CHUNG: You were asking God?
AGBAYANI: Absolutely. And -- but yet, here is God on top of me also and it's like, please, please stop this somehow. And when it didn't stop, to me, it was like, OK, well, I have evaluate what's happening, reason in my own little 14-year-old head, make sense of what was not making sense. And in my mind it was like, maybe this is my mission. I didn't understand it.
You're taught in Catholicism to give of yourself, make sacrifices, to have faith, even if it doesn't feel good to you, you must have faith because if you don't have faith then something is wrong with you. If you don't believe in what you're doing -- and you know, you hear stories of Abraham having to sacrifice his son almost and stories from the scriptures where people have to do things that they don't necessarily want to do, but they had faith and you must be like these people who had faith.
CHUNG: So what did you think? Or what are you telling me?
AGBAYANI: I truly felt, in my heart, that here is a man, as close as God can be in a man form, and this was my mission. Somehow, I brought this sexuality out in this man. At 14 years old, you didn't know what it was about me, but somehow I brought this out in him.
CHUNG: So you think it was your fault?
AGBAYANI: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. And it was my responsibility now to take care of that. And it's not like we went out every time and had sex. We would go out and go for car rides, listen to his music, et cetera and I never knew when it was going to happen and when it wasn't. It didn't always happen. It just would happen sometimes and I didn't want it. I didn't like it. It felt awful.
CHUNG: But you say -- you alleged that you kept going back? AGBAYANI: Absolutely, because this, I truly felt, was something I had to take care of.
CHUNG: All right, Mary...
AGBAYANI: That was my responsibility.
CHUNG: All right. Now, you also allege that you became pregnant, that Father Kimball was the father and that you also allege that he took you to get an abortion and even held your hand.
CHUNG: Now, he denies all of this.
AGBAYANI: Of course.
CHUNG: And the jury found him not guilty of rape. However, you're saying that a Roman Catholic priest held your hand during an abortion?
AGBAYANI: Absolutely. Absolutely. I never told anybody. I never told a soul that I was -- I never told a soul that I actually had sex with this guy. This was back in the, you know, the late '70s and my friends and all were good spiritual people. I was a good spiritual person. How can you tell somebody that you're having sex with a priest and then to get pregnant on top of it? It was just devastating.
And after I found out I was pregnant, it was -- I was so confused. There was nobody I could go to. Only Don had this special relationship. Only he knew what was going on between he and I.
CHUNG: And who did you think that child belonged to?
AGBAYANI: Quite honestly, now you have to understand who I was. I was a very, very spiritual, very religious person, wanted so much to give up myself to God. I was going to dedicate myself to God and his mission no matter what. And I can remember, you know, through studying the scriptures and all and talking to people that we really felt that Jesus Christ would make a second coming around the year 2000, give or take 10, 20 years.
And in my little 14-year old kid's mind, I made up this scenario that this was possibly -- I mean here it is God having sex with a girl named Mary and I had formed this story in my head to rationalize what was happening that maybe this was God's -- Jesus Christ's second way of coming, his way of -- his second coming into this world, that it wasn't going to come through trumpets and all that. It was actually going to come through birth. And in my mind, you know, do the mathematical. This child would be in its 20s by the year 2000 and you know, that would be his mission.
CHUNG: Mary, I'm sure that the defense attorney would say to you, "But there weren't any records of this abortion" and at an earlier civil deposition involving something different, a boating accident, you said the first time you had sex was when you were 17, not when you were 14.
CHUNG: Those were inconsistencies that the defense would put forward.
AGBAYANI: The defense could put that forward, but you have to remember, I never told a soul. You don't go out and tell anybody...
CHUNG: But what about...
AGBAYANI: ... that you had sex with a priest.
CHUNG: Why weren't there any abortion clinic records?
AGBAYANI: I did call for them. I looked for them. When I -- when it was time for me to come forward, what I found out was they keep records in clinic and hospitals approximately two years. After five years, they go on microfiche. After 10 years, when there's total inactivity in the file, they're destroyed.
CHUNG: All right, Mary, just finally, are you satisfied with the verdict? I mean because it did not go your way.
AGBAYANI: Oh, it did go my way.
CHUNG: What do you mean?
AGBAYANI: It did go my way. We succeeded in what we needed to do. There were so many victims that came out before us and weren't able to get to the courthouse. They opened a door for me to allow me. I got to go to the courthouse. Now, I'm leaving it for someone else now, the children, to come forward and now, they get to go forward. And it went my way.
CHUNG: All right, Mary Agbayani, thank you so much for coming in.
AGBAYANI: Thank you.
CHUNG: We will be back in just a minute. We'll hear from two others who allege they were molested by Kimball when they were children, a man and his sister. The woman whose story led to Kimball's conviction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN BREM, KIMBALL ACCUSER: It has very little to do with the sexual act. It has to do with the betraying that happens around the sexual act. It's not the sexual act that's important. It's the betrayal. It's the misuse of trust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHUNG: Father Don Kimball was charged with sex crimes against two people, Mary Agbayani, whose story you just heard and Ellen Brem. In addition to those two, half a dozen other people took the stand to say Father Kimball abused them, too, when they were children in his parish.
The bishop in his diocese at the time testified that Kimball admitted to touching children inappropriately. Kimball denies this. But yesterday, Kimball was convicted on the two counts of committing lewd acts upon Ellen Brem 20 years ago. And she says the impact of those acts remains.
E. BREM: I don't know if anybody who has ever been abused can actually move on from it. It's always there.
CHUNG (voice-over): It happened over two decades ago at St. John's Church. Ellen Brem says she was the victim, Reverend Don Kimball, the molester. Kimball categorically denied the charges, but a jury found him guilty and he now faces a maximum of 14 years in prison.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find the defendant, Donald Ren Kimball guilty of violation of...
CHUNG: The jury verdict a victory for the accuser.
E. BREM: This is a victims of clergy anywhere, but this, for me, is especially, is for all of the other survivors of Don who couldn't have charges brought up against them for what he did to them.
CHUNG: What he did, Ellen says, was take advantage of her when she was 13 years old. In the rectory, she says, Kimball disrobed, fondled and sexually molested her.
E. BREM: It has very, very little to do with the sexual acts. It has to do with the betraying that happens around the sexual acts. It's not sexual acts that's important. It's the betrayal. It's the misuse of trust.
CHUNG: Ellen's brother, Neil, also found trust and friendship in the popular priest. He, too, claims he was a victim of Kimball, although prosecutors did not pursue Neil's allegations. Neil says he was 10 and needed a father image. It was a role Kimball quickly filled, but soon, Neil says, touching and massages turned into lewd behavior.
NEIL BREM, KIMBALL ACCUSER: But when it happens at the hands of a priest, it's not just your childhood and your sexuality that are torn apart. It's your spirituality that's stolen from you as well. And it's taken me darn near 25 years to get back to a place where I am in touch with my spirituality again.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHUNG: Today, Ellen Brem and her brother, Neil, are no longer Catholics. Both were part of a civil suit the church settled for $1.6 billion. Ellen and Neil are here with us tonight.
E. BREM: Thank you.
CHUNG: Thank you for coming. Ellen, you know, when I went to the closing arguments at the courthouse, I was sitting in the same row as Mary Agbayani and she was sobbing during the closing arguments. I know it's hard for you to talk about a lot of this, but when did you first think that something was wrong, that your relationship with Father Kimball was -- something was wrong?
E. BREM: I don't think I really knew anything was specifically wrong until the final incident that happened in St. John's rectory. I think that was so traumatic for me at the time, that that sort of shocked me into realizing this wasn't OK. And it probably took me about a week or two afterwards. I contacted him shortly thereafter to talk to him about that.
CHUNG: Tell me what happened at St. John's rectory.
E. BREM: Well, that was -- see, he had a way of -- he had a way of kind of working in massages and making touch be an OK thing. And the touch grew to sexual touching. It was actually -- there was actually sexual touching going on prior to that, but it wasn't viewed by me as sexual touching because he had sort of worked it in slowly and over time.
CHUNG: So then it was OK?
E. BREM: And that it was OK/. And when it finally culminated in more advanced sexual touching in the rectory, I realized that that was not OK, that it had really gone over the line and that sort of shocked me into it. And I don't think I really realized it until either at the time that it happened or shortly thereafter.
CHUNG: But you were only 13, right?
E. BREM: Right.
CHUNG: But you went back to him at one point and you confronted him about it.
E. BREM: I confronted him on more than one occasion about it.
CHUNG: All right, and what did you say and what did he say?
E. BREM: Initially, there was some talking that went on about what had happened. Eventually, I had confronted him and said, " You know, look, this isn't OK. And it's one of the reasons why I came to you in the first place."
CHUNG: You were only 13. I can't imagine. E. BREM: Well, I -- you know, I don't think I can imagine now either. Sometimes I think about it and it shocks me to think about how things went and how I handled things at the time.
But yeah, I went back to him and said, "You know, no, it's not OK. I don't understand why this happened and did this happen with anybody else?" And he insisted that it didn't. And at the time, and currently, I take people at their word and I really didn't have a lot of reasons to believe that he would be lying to me.
CHUNG: Neil, you were not involved in this particular case. You do allege that Father Kimball also molested you. But you were the person, who started that civil case many years later, and your sister joined you and another man and another woman joined you and that was settled later by the diocese for $1.6 million.
Now, you know, Father Kimball says you're lying. And you were not part of any case in which it was definitively determined that he molested you. So?
N. BREM: Yeah, I suppose he does say that he's lying. I -- you know, if you are going to believe that Don Kimball is telling the truth, you're going to have to believe that at least 15 victims are lying. You're going to have to believe that the bishop was lying when Don -- when he says Don Kimball admitted that he had sexual contact with, at least six kids under the age of 18.
CHUNG: Let's explain that for a minute. This was the bishop of the diocese and he testified on the stand, did he not...
N. BREM: That's right.
CHUNG: ... that Don Kimball told him that he had improper contact with six children, correct?
N. BREM: That's correct. Well, and the funny thing here, in a way, is that it changes every time. You know, Don says whatever self- serving comment he needs to make at the time to anybody who will believe him. The first time he went to the bishop he said two, then, he said it was four, later, he said it was six. The numbers keep changing. So, again, to believe Don Kimball is to disbelieve the overwhelming amount witnesses who have come forward, including the bishop.
CHUNG: Allow me to challenge you though. You received money and Don Kimball says that's why you went after him because you got some money.
N. BREM: When I came forward, as far as I know, I was the first person to come forward to the police. And what they told me was that unless he flat-out confessed, there was nothing that they can do. I just couldn't accept that. This guy is still working with kids. There had to be something that we could do to expose this man and get him away from kids. So I went and saw a lawyer. And she confirmed that at that time, there was nothing criminally that we could pursue, but that what we could do is pursue some civil charges. And the only thing that predominantly is involved in civil charges is money. That's what they're about.
CHUNG: All right.
N. BREM: But I -- if I can just add this -- I'm proud to say that in our civil settlement for $1.6 million though, it was a lot more than money. In fact, we got a full third of our settlement set aside for other victims.
CHUNG: All right. Ellen, you had a dream recently. Can you tell me about it?
E. BREM: Yeah, you know, it's actually not something I want to get into, but I'll tell you about the content of the feelings of the dream. The dream really surrounded a lot of issues that I have regarding the Catholic Church, regarding what their continuous brushing under the carpet has done to people. I don't know if the Catholic Church is really even in a position yet that they can accept some of the hatred that they are creating, not only of the church, but of the people who are coming forward and perjuring themselves on the witness stand, continuing to lie about what the church is doing, what's happening in within the church instead of just taking a stand and saying, "Look, we need to take some action. We need to make sure that these people aren't molesting kids anymore." They move them around. They try to keep it quiet. They try to brush it under the carpet. It's this continuous dance that they do of trying to protect themselves on the outside instead of protecting the people that they claim they care so much about.
CHUNG: Ellen Brem, I can tell that despite the verdict of this jury, you're not satisfied.
E. BREM: I'm not satisfied. I'm not satisfied at all. There were a whole number of victims that weren't allowed to come forward with their stories because of the way the laws were set up. Some of those victims are older and so they're considered to be not credit worthy because they were 17. There's a lot of issues around this that I'm not happy about.
CHUNG: All right. Thank you so much. Ellen Brem, Neil Brem, thank you for coming.
E. BREM: Thank you.
N. BREM: Thank you.
CHUNG: All right. When we come back, my exclusive interview with Father Don Kimball.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMBALL: Have I found my way to get close to some women? A few, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANNOUNCER: We now return to our CNN special report, FALL FROM GRACE: CRISIS IN THE CHURCH. Again, from New York, Connie Chung.
CHUNG: Tonight, we have brought you painful, personal stories dredged up from 20 years ago, stories of secrets and shame, stories of sex and betrayal. The one side of those stories that you have not heard yet is that of Father Don Kimball. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer has advised him not to discuss any accusations other than those in the criminal case.
Kimball did not testify in his criminal trial, so the jury of nine men and three women did not hear him tell his story. But as that jury sat down to decide his fate, Kimball met with me to break his silence and publicly tell his side of the criminal accusations in his own words for the first time on television.
CHUNG: Your accusers say that you were an incredibly charismatic priest and they were able to relate with you. You were the "in" adult.
KIMBALL: Well, maybe they did. I wasn't trying to be. I was trying to connect with them. And one of the scary things about this accuser thing, I'd like to point out, is that they paint a picture of a guy who builds their trust and does all this stuff, you know, and then molests them. But a good youth minister does the same thing but doesn't molest them.
CHUNG: Did you rape Mary Agbayani?
KIMBALL: Absolutely not.
CHUNG: Did you molest her?
CHUNG: Did you have any sexual contact with Mary?
KIMBALL: No, in fact, I didn't even have a relationship with her.
CHUNG: But didn't she come to you with her problems?
CHUNG: She never came to...
KIMBALL: That's correct.
CHUNG: ... you for help with family problems?
KIMBALL: That is correct. CHUNG: She claims that she became pregnant with your child and then; you drove her to San Francisco to have an abortion and held her hand. Is that...
CHUNG: ... true?
KIMBALL: No. None of it's true.
CHUNG: Why would she make all of this up?
KIMBALL: Well, now, I'm not a psychiatrist. I think a good psychiatrist ought to check this out.
CHUNG: It is quite extraordinary if she could make everything up.
KIMBALL: Yes, it is. I found it extraordinary. In fact, I find it unbelievable that we've gotten this far, that this thing went this far is just -- it's just incredible to me.
CHUNG: Did you molest Ellen Brem?
KIMBALL: Absolutely not.
CHUNG: Did you have any physical contact -- sexual, physical contact with Ellen Brem?
CHUNG: Why would she lie?
KIMBALL: Well, I will tell you what I think. She made a lot of money off this story.
CHUNG: In the civil suits...
CHUNG: Have you broken your vow of celibacy?
KIMBALL: Have I found my way to get close to some women? A few, yes. And as I, you know, came out of the seminary -- and there weren't any women there, I'll tell you -- I began to realize that the first thing I wasn't prepared for -- I knew how to say mass.
CHUNG: What were you not prepared for?
KIMBALL: I wasn't prepared for putting on that uniform, walking out into real life and discovering the number of women who were coming onto me. I wasn't prepared for that.
CHUNG: The women came on to you?
KIMBALL: Oh yeah, big time. And I'm not saying... CHUNG: Because you were wearing the collar?
KIMBALL: Yeah, because I think they were in love with the uniform. You know, it's a uniform thing. I -- and this was later. I wasn't sitting there going, gee, it's the uniform not me. I was kind of going, wow, that's pretty attractive. You know, I -- you know, and then it was a matter of just being able to say, well, no, you're married. I don't want to get involved in that kind of thing. Someone else, maybe involved and I had -- I first found that the most available women who were adults to me were people in the 18-19 to about 25-year-old range.
CHUNG: Let me get this straight. You're saying that women found you to be a challenge because you wore the collar, and they wanted to have sex with you.
KIMBALL: I wouldn't say that every woman wanted to go all the way to sex, but I found women wanted the challenge of the forbidden fruit, you know, which they thought I had, you know. And, you have to also remember that this was the '70s and I was able to -- things were a lot more open then and to be really honest, I wasn't in to fooling around. What I was...
CHUNG: You weren't into fooling around?
KIMBALL: No, I really wasn't. What I wanted was maybe a partner, because I felt in the '70s and I think a lot of people felt this way, that the rule on celibacy may change soon, and...
CHUNG: In fact, it didn't.
KIMBALL: I was open to seeing if there was somebody that I could live my life with.
CHUNG: But you did stray a few times?
KIMBALL: Oh, yes.
CHUNG: Those few times that you strayed, were these women adult women?
KIMBALL: All adult women.
CHUNG: Were any of them underage?
CHUNG: Did you at any time molest or have sexual contact with anyone underage?
CHUNG: Have you ever thought of leaving the priesthood?
KIMBALL: Yes, I've thought about it.
CHUNG: Was the celibacy part of the problem for you?
KIMBALL: Celibacy has never made sense to me and I don't think it makes a man more spiritual or less spiritual. I don't think a married man is less spiritual than a celibate man. You know, people are spiritual because they're spiritual, and the most spiritual people ought to be leading our prayer.
CHUNG: If you did stray as a priest, you did have relations with, as you say, adult women, if you're willing to break that rule...
KIMBALL: Why not break them all, is that what you're asking? I was looking for a partner my age, or as close to my age as I could get, and I don't think you get a perfect match on age. I think you want to get the right match person wise, and I wasn't looking at little kids.
CHUNG: This is quite a heinous crime.
KIMBALL: Yes, it is.
CHUNG: That you're accused of.
CHUNG: Forgive me, but I don't see anger. I don't find you appalled that you've been accused of such an act?
KIMBALL: I am appalled. I am absolutely appalled, but I started being appalled five years ago, so maybe some of that has been muted.
CHUNG: How are you dealing with all of this?
KIMBALL: I feel isolated, alone within the church structure, but the church leadership here right now doesn't seem to want to help me and I don't...
CHUNG: And why is that?
KIMBALL: Well, I just don't think, you know, they haven't had an innocent guy so, that they know of. They probably, I think in a couple of cases they probably have but they didn't know that, and they don't know how to manage an innocent priest.
CHUNG: Of course, according to the jury, Father Don Kimball is not an innocent priest. He's guilty of lewd acts against Ellen Brem. Through his lawyer, Chris Andrian, Kimball still maintains his innocence. Chris Andrian joins me tonight from Santa Rose to address the allegations leveled by Kimball's accusers. Thank you, Mr. Andrian for being with us.
CHRIS ANDRIAN, FATHER KIMBALL'S ATTORNEY: Hi Connie, how are you?
CHUNG: Good. Tell me first off what is your client's mood? Was he surprised at the verdict?
ANDRIAN: Well, I think the way the day evolved, we saw it coming by the questions the jury asked and some of the confusion that they had about the verdict as it was coming down. So we had three or four hours to prepare him for it, and I think by the time it actually came, he was ready for it, and certainly I had warned him along the way that I thought this was certainly a possibility.
CHUNG: All right. Tell me this, you just heard Neal Brem allege that Father Kimball had molested him and several others. Did Father Kimball molest Neal Brem and several others?
ANDRIAN: Well, you know, in terms of the way the trial went and the way the evidence was presented to the jury, it was my feeling that certain portions of the evidence that were presented regarding some of those people who were victims but not charge victims in the case, the evidence that presented, you know, at least from my perspective to present to a jury was sufficient to at least raise that specter.
I had focused my attention on the charges in the case, and have stated to you before and to others that I accept the way the jury made the finding in the case and I'm not quarreling with it at this point.
CHUNG: But, what about these other accusations? There are many...
ANDRIAN: Well, I never...
CHUNG: There are many people, adults out there, including Neal Brem, who say that Father Kimball molested them.
ANDRIAN: Well, you know, there were a couple of people that were proffered by the District Attorney during the course of pretrial hearings that even the District Attorney himself believed were not necessarily credible or reliable witnesses.
Judge Gwyneth (ph) made rulings at the trial as to who or who would not be admissible and relevant witnesses in the trial. Neal was not determined to be one who would be considered at the trial. Neal was projected...
CHUNG: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that he was not credible?
ANDRIAN: Well, I'm not...
CHUNG: And he's not telling the truth tonight?
ANDRIAN: I'm suggesting to you that his testimony was not deemed relevant in this case. What happened or did not happen between Mr. Kimball and Mr. Brem has always been a mystery to me because my review of his testimony is that his recollection of this occurred in some sort of a dreamlike state, not something that he had an independent recollection of, that it occurred in some sort of altered state.
And I think that was one of the reasons why the judge didn't want to go there because it was going to open up too many doors as to recovered memories, repressed memories, things of that nature. I will say this, Neal and I had a nice conversation yesterday, and we agreed to sit down and talk about this at some time in the future.
CHUNG: All right. Mr. Andrian, we were going to -- we will bring on your adversary in this story, in this case, the prosecutor who convinced the jury that your client was indeed a criminal. We'll have more right after this.
CHUNG: We continue now with our discussion with Father Kimball's attorney, Chris Andrian, and we're now joined in New York by Gary Medvigy, the man who prosecuted this case against Kimball. Thank you again for joining us, Gary.
GARY MEDVIGY, PROSECUTOR: Good to be here.
CHUNG: Good evening. Under California law, you are allowed to bring in other witnesses who accuse Father Kimball of molestation, and they have nothing to do with the case. Was this fair to the defendant?
MEDVIGY: Well, I think it's wrong to say they had nothing to do with the case. They were very important witnesses.
CHUNG: But they didn't have anything to do with the specific charges that the two "victims" were making against Father Kimball, agreed?
MEDVIGY: No, I disagree totally. The law in most jurisdictions and the Federal Rules of Evidence allow other acts of misconduct, other criminal acts, to show a defendant's intent, plan, motive, scheme.
Those are relevant issues in this trial, and by law we had to prove by clear and convincing evidence that there was independent corroboration. So these acts weren't there just to make him look bad. They proved how he groomed and built the trust of each of these victims. He did his crimes in each the same way.
CHUNG: All right, Chris Andrian, wasn't it clear to you that your client was in trouble when the bishop of the diocese got up on the stand and said indeed that Father Kimball had even said to him that he had molested or had improper relations with six children?
ANDRIAN: Certainly, Bishop Steinbach (ph) was a formidable witness, and when you say, did I know my client was in trouble, I knew my client was in trouble before the trial started, just by the sheer numbers of what I was dealing with and my hope and my belief was that this jury wound up deciding the case based on the evidence it had in front of it, and was not swayed by the emotions. But certainly, that was a very formidable piece of evidence that the prosecution had.
CHUNG: Well, wouldn't you say that this jury was not indeed swayed by any national emotions, any feeding frenzy? ANDRIAN: I think if we came to one agreement at the conclusion of this trial from interviewing these jurors is they went way beyond the call of the duty and reinforced in me, my belief that a jury, if sworn to do its job, will do its job and not be influenced by national media. I'm convinced that this jury was not influenced and, in fact, if they were influenced in any way, it was in favor of my client.
I think they felt that the undue media attention was something that should not work against him. I think this jury ignored it, and it restored all my faith in the jury system, not that I ever lost it. But I was worried about it in this trial, and this jury convinced me that jurors do their job.
CHUNG: Gary Medvigy, tell me why weren't you able to prove those rape charges?
MEDVIGY: Well, right from the very beginning, I did try to prepare each of my victims, and Mary specifically, that this was a long road. The law as it existed in 1977 was very different as it applied to rape. Today, it would have been much easier to prove forcible resistance.
There were legal impediments that don't exist today, because of society's recognition on what women go through when they are subjected to force, duress, menace, fear. Those elements didn't exist back in '77, so we had just by the legal instructions that the jury received, we had a long road to go.
She -- I believe her and I think the jurors probably believed her too, but beyond a reasonable doubt we probably didn't make that threshold of proof dealing with the law that existed in 1977.
CHUNG: Tell me, your division, the District Attorney's Office, has gone after a number of priests. You know, are you basically taking advantage of this California law, unlike any other state, and do you plan to prosecute more?
MEDVIGY: Well, we've taken each defendant as they've come. Some have been priests. Some have been policemen. Some have been schoolteachers. We're not focusing just on the clergy, and to say we're taking advantage of it, we're using it as a tool certainly. We've excluded a lot of cases that we thought we could not prove or didn't qualify under the law.
Obviously, we had six other victims testify in this case. Only one of them could have qualified under the law. We didn't file that one, only because in the very beginning of the trial, she was too emotionally upset and wasn't real cooperative with the prosecution. So yes, we're going to enforce the law.
CHUNG: All right, Gary. Thank you so much Gary Medvigy and Chris Andrian for being with us tonight.
MEDVIGY: Thank you.
ANDRIAN: Thank you. CHUNG: When we come back, a judge has ordered Boston's Cardinal Law to tell what he knows about accused priests and the Pope has summoned American cardinals to Rome, a look at the big picture when we return.
CHUNG: We're going to turn from the case of Father Kimball to the Archdiocese that touched off the wave of recent scandals and scrutiny. A judge today said that on June 5th, Boston Cardinal Bernard Law will have to answer lawyers' questions about his handling of accusations against Father Paul Shanley and a dozen other priests in the archdiocese.
For a look at the broader issue of the Catholic Church and its handling of pedophile priests, we're going to go now to Boston where CNN Correspondent Jason Carroll is covering the latest news there, and to Rome where CNN Bureau Chief Alessio Vinci will tell us about the Pope's response.
Jason, let's start with you. Can you give us a quick summary of the events, just today, concerning the judge's ruling?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well late today, a judge did rule that Cardinal Law will have to answer questions under oath regarding Father Paul Shanley.
As you said, he will be deposed on June 5th. He's being sued by a man. Father Shanley is being sued by a man who says that he was molested by Father Shanley when he was a young boy, and court documents that came out during a proceeding, that these documents revealed that -- excuse me, I said court documents.
I didn't say church documents revealed that Father Shanley had been moved from parish to parish over a period of time under Cardinal Law's watch, and many people here in this community of Boston are very upset over this.
And in recent days, there have been many calls for Cardinal Law to resign but, Connie, there is no indication that Cardinal Law intends to do that.
CHUNG: Jason, Cardinal Law actually had a meeting with the Pope this past weekend and the question of resignation did come up. What can you tell us about the meeting?
CARROLL: Well, I can tell -- first of all, tell you that we were told that Cardinal Law was in seclusion; however, we were not told where he was in seclusion. But now, we are being told that he did, in fact, meet with the Pope. He also met with several top officials at the Vatican. It was a three-day meeting.
Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Boston did release a statement. During the statement, Cardinal Law was quoted. He did give some details about what happened specifically during that meeting. He said that he went to the meeting to seek counsel and to seek advice. He said that the Shanley case was mentioned during that meeting.
He also mentioned that there were calls in the community for him to resign. He said that the Pope is conscious of the gravity of the situation here. He said that he came away from the meeting saying that he really got a sense that the Vatican is committed to protecting children.
He also came away from the meeting encouraged to lead the Archdiocese of Boston. He said that he would lead the Archdiocese of Boston with every fiber of his being, as long as God gives him the opportunity to do so. Connie.
CHUNG: All right, Jason. I want to go to Alessio now. Alessio, can you tell me if any information was released from the Vatican regarding this meeting last weekend?
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF: Actually, as Cardinal Law was here in Rome, not at all. There was a total secrecy about the fact that Cardinal Law was here in Rome. We actually learned about it from the statement that the Cardinal himself or the Archdiocese released in Boston upon his return.
Only this morning, yesterday morning European time, did the Vatican Press Office release the statement, which was basically a copy of the statement that Cardinal Law and the Archdiocese in Boston had released. So the Vatican here has been trying to keep the thing, at least for now, very secret, and certainly the trip of Cardinal Law.
All we know, Connie, is that the meeting next week will involve as many as 11 U.S. cardinals. They will be meeting here with three top Vatican officials, also three cardinals. There will be two days of meetings. We do understand that the Pope may participate at some of those meetings, may be in those rooms at times.
He will not sit in as chair of meetings. He will not be participating throughout the day of those meetings. He will be briefed, of course, of the proceedings of these meetings, but the Pope, we understand will not be in the rooms all day long while the U.S. cardinals meet with the Vatican officials.
And to give you another sense about how secret this whole thing has been, the Pope today made his first public appearance here in Rome, after calling the cardinals' meeting next week, and he didn't even mention the fact that there was going to be a meeting next week.
All we know, according to a brief statement issued by the Vatican, is that this meeting has been called to discuss the pedophilia scandal, and in the words of the Vatican, statements to restore some trust in the clergy and some happiness in the families. Connie.
CHUNG: Well tell me what do you expect will emerge from the meeting, particularly since so much secrecy has surrounded this? Will we hear any information?
VINCI: Well again, there has been no official information about what will exactly be discussed. What we do suspect will be discussed is a series of guidelines that the U.S. bishops have been working already on for quite some time.
These are guidelines that would tell archbishops and cardinals in the United States how to handle, for example, first information of sex abuse allegations, how to report it and when to report it to the police, because the Vatican position has been all along that while the victims have to be protected and while pedophilia is a crime, they're also saying that the priests and those who have been accused by alleged victims should also be protected, should have the right of defense.
And therefore, perhaps during this meeting, Vatican officials and the U.S. bishops and cardinals who will be coming here will be discussing in detail those guidelines, which by the way, probably will be made public in a bishop's meeting in the United States in June in Dallas. Connie.
CHUNG: Thank you. Jason tell me, would guidelines satisfy those who are being so critical and who are charging cover up on this church, for part of the church?
CARROLL: Well, I got to tell you, Connie, I really get the sense that Cardinal Law's strongest critics, first of all want to see him resign. They also want to see action. They do want to see some sort of guidelines put out, indicating what clergy should do when there are allegations of sexual abuse.
Critics say first on that list should be that whenever an allegation comes to light, it should immediately be reported to the authorities, and let the authorities conduct an investigation.
On the flip side of that, though, you do have Cardinal Law's supporters who are out here and they're somewhat encouraged by the fact that the U.S. cardinals are being called to the Vatican, and they do say that they do believe that Cardinal Law would be the best person to lead the Archdiocese of Boston through this crisis. Connie.
CHUNG: Thank you, Jason, and just one quick question, 15 seconds. Alessio, how do Vatican officials feel the United States cardinals are handling this crisis?
VINCI: Well, officially they're not saying anything, but probably some Vatican officials have told reporters here that they're quite baffled by the way some U.S. cardinals and some bishops have handled the case, for example by going to the press and talking so much to the press, and also how their legal strategy by paying millions of dollars to settle some of those court cases and some of those allegations before they become public.
And some Vatican officials here feel that perhaps by paying this much of money, the U.S. church sends the wrong message to some alleged victims who said, if I can go to church and can sue them, perhaps they can get a lot of money out of it.
So Vatican officials here are a little bit baffled, if you want, for the lack of a better word, at how the U.S. church in the United States has handled the whole case. Connie.
CHUNG: All right, thank you. Thank you, Alessio Vinci in Rome, and Jason Carroll in Boston. We'll be right back.
CHUNG: Tonight's story is just one case in a single parish that had as many as a half a dozen similar accusations against other priests. If you multiply the pain and anguish of the victims, the parish and in some cases wrongly accused priests, you begin to get some idea of the scope of this problem as it affects the nation's 62 million Catholics, not to mention other denominations struggling with similar problems.
Already, the Catholic Church has paid more than a billion dollars to settle such cases in the last couple of decades, and that's just the financial toll.
That wraps up our special report, FALL FROM GRACE, CRISIS IN THE CHURCH. I'll be heading to Rome to cover the unprecedented talks at the Vatican next week. And coming up next, Larry King talks with an award-winning poet who's battling muscular dystrophy at the age of 11. That's "LARRY KING LIVE" next. Thank you for joining us. Goodnight.
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