LAWSUITS: The bishop is still facing contempt charges for sending a key witness out of the country. By Gillian Flaccus THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange said Friday that it will pay nearly $7 million to settle four sexual abuse lawsuits, including one for which the bishop faces contempt of court proceedings for sending a monsignor out of the country before he could testify. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityThe cases were the first to be filed since 2004, when the diocese reached a record-breaking $100 million settlement with about 90 plaintiffs. The four lawsuits, the first of which was to go to trial Oct. 15, involved allegations against three lay teachers at Mater Dei High School and Santa Margarita High School, as well as a lay musician at a neighborhood parish. “I’m sorry that any of this happened and that even one person was abused,” Bishop Tod D. Brown said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “We’ve taken every possible position that we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and I hope it doesn’t.” Sarah Gray, one of the plaintiffs, said she was pleased to have a settlement but still had to work on personal healing. “I really wanted to go to trial, and at the same time, I think, the settlement really accords the same amount of accountability to the diocese,” said Gray, who alleged she was sexually molested by her choir teachers in the late 1990s at Mater Dei. The diocese will pay $6.685 million to the four plaintiffs, making an average payout of $1.7 million per person. The case against a coach at Mater Dei had put Brown in the unusual position of having to sit for a contempt of court hearing, scheduled for Tuesday. If the hearing goes forward and Brown is found to be in contempt, he could face sanctions from a verbal reprimand to jail time. Defense lawyers said they had not reached the settlement to avoid Brown’s contempt of court hearing for sending a key witness to Canada for medical treatment. Brown will insist on going forward with the hearing Tuesday to clear his name, said Peter Callahan, the bishop’s attorney. “The bishop wants to go; he wants to clear his name from these accusations,” Callahan said. “The story is going to be that we settled to avoid the contempt charge, and that’s just a darn untruth.” Orange County Superior Court Judge Gail Andler this week ordered a hearing to determine whether Brown should be held in contempt for sending a high-ranking church official to Canada for medical treatment before he could complete his deposition in the case. Brown denied Friday that he sent Msgr. John Urell away to keep evidence out of the court’s hands.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
zoomImage Courtesy: Port of Virginia, VIG The Virginia International Gateway (VIG) has completed another step in its expansion project as it launched operations at its container stack No. 1.The end of the stack-yard work leaves only two projects to be completed before the entire USD 320 million effort comes to a close in June, according to the Port of Virginia.“This new capacity is quickly being integrated into the operation and the Port of Virginia is beginning to see positive results,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.With the completion of stack No. 1, the terminal now has 13 additional container stacks, each served by two new rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs). The new stacks compliment 15 existing stacks, also served by RMGs.Those stacks are on a schedule to be refurbished throughout the year with two stacks complete and three underway.The expansion has doubled the terminal’s annual container throughput capacity, according to the port authority, as VIG can now process 1.2 million container lifts a year.The expanded stack-yard is being combined with four new ship-to-shore cranes and 800 additional feet of berth space.“In February 2017, we started work on what was a green-field site — we started from scratch – and now we are just a few months from completion,” Reinhart said.Once completed, the VIG expansion is expected to increase the port’s overall annual container capacity by 40 percent, or 1 million container units, by 2020.