The Troubling Case of Timothy Ramaekers

What we know is bad. What we don’t know is scary.

Last week, family members of Matthew Carrigan gathered outside of Corpus Christi Parish in Aliso Viejo to warn parishioners about Fr. Tim Ramaekers. According to a lawsuit filed by Carrigan, Ramaekers allegedly molested Carrigan when he was a young student at St. Justin Martyr Parish and School in Anaheim Buena Park. 

Ramaekers denies the allegations.

And that’s where the problem starts.

When Ramaekers spoke at the Saturday and Sunday masses, he continually referred to “false allegations.” He kept mum about the lawsuit, even though the suit itself is in jeopardy. Because of the recent California Supreme Court decision in the Quarry case, it could be dismissed on the statute of limitations, NOT because of the merits of the case. Ramaekers said nothing about that.

The Diocese and Ramaekers also said that the Diocese did a complete investigation on the allegations. To date, they have not publicly disclosed the findings. What we do know is that the investigator had no access to Ramaekers’ secret personnel file, which is the sole property of the bishop and can only be released by a court order. We also know that a church-hired investigator has the same credibility as Enron hiring a private investigator (in fact, Arthur Anderson, Enron’s auditor, was criminally charged with shredding Enron documents).

Ramaekers also said that the Sexual Misconduct Oversight and Review Board (read more about it here) decided that the allegations were without merit. But similar boards in Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Fransisco, Orange (yes, Orange), and other places have either said publicly that information was withheld from them or that the bishop did not take their recommendations. In fact, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hid allegations against 37 priests from its board. A Grand Jury had to sniff those out.

We also know that in the past, Orange diocese officials have not disclosed findings against priests like Michael Pecharich. Diocese officials told parishoners that Pecharich only had one allegation of a boundary violation. What they didn’t know was that he had been accused of child rape by four boys and that Brown and his people (in this case, John Urell) had known about the allegations since Brown became bishop in 1998 (and did nothing). Their “complete investigation” failed to disclose that.

What else do we know? Well, we know that Ramaekers worked at St. Justin Martyr alongside two notorious predators, Sigfried Widera and Robert Foley. Boise Bishop Michael Driscoll (then the chancellor of the Orange Diocese) sent Foley to England to escape prosecution. Widera was sent to Orange after being arrested for child sex abuse in Milwaukee. He went on to molest at least a dozen children at parishes in Orange County. He committed suicide while on the run from police.

We also know that Tod Brown mislead Catholics about 1997 allegations against him, when it could have been just as easy to say (just like he did with Ramaekers), “There was an investigation, and they found nothing.” But he decided to keep the allegation hidden, because it was easier.

We know that Brown has little respect for victims and the courts. In 2007, when former Chancellor Msgr. John Urell was summoned for a deposition in the Andrade/Mater Dei High School sex abuse case, Tod Brown sent Urell to Canada, defying the court and the law. Brown was charged with contempt, but the charges were dropped when the case was settled.

Diocese officials are also standing behind the “there is only one accuser” meme. I was the only accuser of my perp, but documents showed that he molested other girls as well. Did I mention that the diocese and my perpetrator denied my claims until the moment the documents were released?

None of this makes Ramaekers a predator. But how do we know it doesn’t, if we can’t trust the people giving us the information?

Simply put: The Diocese of Orange has a real credibility problem.

Ramaekers called the accusations his 9/11 moment. Unfortunately, the parishioners now have to sift through the rubble and debris in an attempt to find the truth. Hopefully, they won’t find any children.


8 thoughts on “The Troubling Case of Timothy Ramaekers

  1. Thanks Joelle! What is tragic about the sex abuse allegations involving the Diocese of Orange is that at least two reports were lodged against former Mater Dei employee Jeff Andrade and Michael Harris, before the criminal statute of limitations expired and the OC District Atty decided for unknown no reason there would be NO PROSECUTION.

    When I think about Lenihan’s confession on the pulpit at St. Edward’s that there are rumors about he and a teenage girl that have been resolved, while he celebrated his first Mass as Pastor, I want to barf! Widera also made regular appearances at St. Ed’s as his black leather jacket and motorcycle were a big hit with school age children.

    If any type of justice occurs in Orange County, California, it will have to come from the federal government in the form of some type of RICO proceeding. We all know that Orange County law enforcement chose POLITICAL GAIN above the urgency to protect innocent children long ago. Maybe someone should hold the OC officials responsible for aiding and abetting sexual predators that are protected by GOLIATHS…. then we parents can start to have faith that all children will be safe.

    1. Does anyone have any idea what happened to Robert Foley after he fled
      To England to avoid responsibility? I was raised at St Justin Martyr church and remember thinking Foley strange after he talked about a very sexual Frankenstein movie.

  2. I, too, don’t understand how the Roman Catholic Church has avoided RICO charges! Since there has been one victory, small though it was, up in Philly in the Monsignor Lynn case, maybe it’s time to go after bigger fish by casting a bigger net of charges.

  3. Wow! Joelle, you rock! This was an amazing article and I really hope more people will read it. Clearly people are still in denial (and all of Raemakers lies …or lies by omission have certainly added to this mess). I just hope people can get their heads out of the bushes and really think about the risk they are taking by believing anything this man has to say. Keep doing what you’re doing….you are GREAT at it!!

  4. Thank you Joelle, we really appreciate your help and explanations. I really feel we are going to see more victims come forward now that he has moved from St. Joseph’s. (St. Justin is in Anaheim not Buena Park) I’ll be in touch.

  5. As posted at the OC Weekly
    (, it does not take a rocket scientist, high-priced attorney, or the Pope himself to interpret the laws of the land…. when child abuse and/or endangerment of any kind is suspected, it is MANDATED BY LAW that the suspicions be reported to the appropriate government agency–Let fair and equal justice then take its course. However, here in the rich, famous and Republican saturated Orange County, California, not one damn thing has changed in the past TEN YEARS. One would think that the recent child endangerment conviction of Mon. William Lynn in Philadelphia, would ring a bell in the minds of morally decent human beings. Tragically, precious children and unsuspecting parents refuse to seek truths that no child, adult or employee is safe when a politically-connected and the deep legal pocketed religious institution and its legal advisors believe they are above the law. Is a telephone call to a judicial officer or elected government official continuing as a RICO enterprise here in the OC? Brownie… WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Do you believe that OC Catholics in the pew

    Posted at OC Weekly:
    “It would be simple and much safer for unsuspecting children and their families if the Diocese of Orange, Bishop Brownie and his inept attorneys would follow the laws of the land: MAKE A REPORT TO THE APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY and let the justice process work, free of conflicts of interest, obstructions of justice and intimidation tactics! BUT, the Diocese of Orange and its corrupt officials are above the law to actually do the right thing…. and the OC District Attorney, OC Sheriff and the infamous OC Board of Supervisors are the ENABLERS that have destroyed children, families, careers and reputations–IN THE INTERESTS OF POLITICS, MONEY, EGO, PUBLIC RELATIONS, AND ANY RICO ENTERPRISE DISGUISED AS SOME TYPE OF LEGITIMATE BUSINESS DECISION.

    The Diocese of Orange and many other institutions have lost all credibility as it relates to supervising their own sexual predators and life-long employed criminals. Is anyone paying attention??????? “

  6. The Roman Catholic Church compared to Enron! I absolutely LOVE it! Does anyone else remember what Enron stock traded for before it fell to about a quarter? It was over $80.00! If I were to put a price on perceived “stock in the Catholic Church,” right now, in July 2012, a quarter might be too high in some circles!

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