Criminal contempt of court proceedings began against Orange County Catholic Bishop Tod Brown on Tuesday. The hearing was to determine if Brown violated a judge’s orders when he sent Msgr. John Urell, the church official that investigated sex abuse allegations, out of the country before he could finish testifying in a sex abuse lawsuit, which has since been settled for $7 million.
Attorneys for the plantiffs alleged that Brown sent Urell out of the country, and beyond the reach of a subpoena, so he would not have to finish the deposition that ended abruptly in July, reports the Los Angeles Times.
During the Tuesday proceedings, diocesan attorney Peter Callahan argued that no such order existed when Brown made the decision to send Urell to the treatment center.
The judge heard opening arguments, and then postponed the rest of the hearing until December 3, according to the Associated Press.