Matt C. Abbott
Text of sexually-harassed firefighters' lawsuit; Chris Korzen vs. Bill Donohue (Donohue wins)
By Matt C. Abbott
February 20, 2009

According to a Feb. 17 AP story:

    'A jury determined Tuesday that four San Diego firefighters were sexually harassed for being ordered to participate in a gay pride parade and awarded them combined damages of $34,300....'

    'The firefighters — Alex Kane, Chad Allison, Capt. John Ghiotto and Capt. Jason Hewitt — claimed they were subjected to sexually charged conduct and lewd comments while riding a fire engine in the July 2007 parade, which drew about 150,000 spectators.

    'The firefighters' attorney, Charles LiMandri, said during his closing argument that his clients were targets of vulgar gestures and catcalls while being forced to watch barely clothed men and women simulate sex acts and touch themselves and one another....'

If you wish to read a detailed account of what took place — and the proverbial "story behind the story" — click on this link to read the 24-page 2007 amended complaint, in PDF format, filed on behalf of the four firefighters (warning: contains graphic language; and some of the parade photos attached to the complaint are offensive in, and to, nature.)

Dr. Judith A. Reisman points out:

    'The claim that men and women are not traumatized by demeaning pornographic displays in the public square is, on its face, so comatose and coarse that one is stunned at how quickly humans can be dehumanized. Our emotions are intelligent; they are how we manage in the real world.

    'The San Diego firemen were not only exposed to degrading sadosexual conduct, they were also singled out for such conduct. Our research (see: Crafting Bi/Homosexual Youth, Partner Solicitation Language) found that cowboys, firemen, military men, and police are targeted by male homosexuals.'

Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, isn't happy with Catholic League president Bill Donohue. Mr. Korzen, you see, welcomes the possible nomination of pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Korzen accuses Mr. Donohue of "omit[ting] key facts about Gov. Sebelius's record in preventing abortions in Kansas."

Just what are those "key facts" of which Mr. Korzen speaks?

    'Had Mr. Donohue been interested in presenting a full accounting of the facts, he would have mentioned Gov. Sebelius's tireless support for children's health care and education, and her efforts to provide public financing for adoption and pregnancy support centers — all components of an effective pro-life agenda that can find broad support among the American people. Had Mr. Donohue been interested in providing a full accounting of the facts, he would have mentioned that the number of abortions in Kansas declined by 12.6% from 2001 to 2007, due in part to Gov. Sebelius's advocacy for pregnant women and struggling families.'

Mr. Korzen ends his news release with these statements:

    'Like Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann — who often seems more interested in scoring political points against Gov. Sebelius than crafting effective abortion policy within the reality of politics — Mr. Donohue is doing a disservice to those Americans who will benefit from Gov. Sebelius's leadership as Health and Human Services Secretary. We remind U.S. Catholics and other observers that the Catholic League is part of a right-wing political movement at the margins of the Catholic community, and urge them to view Mr. Donohue and his comments in this context.'

Well, as a member of the "right-wing political movement at the margins of the Catholic community," I have to say that Mr. Korzen is using sophistry in an effort to portray Gov. Sebelius in a favorable light.

Mr. Donohue hits the nail on the head:

    'Almost all of those working in the Obama administration are pro-abortion, and the expectation is that almost all future appointees will be champions of abortion rights, as well. Fortunately, most are not in a position to affect abortion policy. One glaring exception is the secretary of health and human services. Unfortunately, Gov. Sebelius, a Catholic, may get the job.

    'Sebelius' support for abortion is so far off-the-charts that she has been publicly criticized by the last three archbishops of Kansas City. In 1992, when Sebelius was a state legislator, Archbishop Ignatius Strecker rebuked her for leading what he dubbed a 'death-march of the unborn.' When Sebelius became governor in 2003, Archbishop James Keleher, citing her abortion record, asked her to move her inauguration interfaith service from Topeka's Assumption Catholic Church. She refused. The current archbishop, Joseph Naumann, called her out on the issue: he challenged her to name one instance in her long legislative career where she supported limiting abortion rights. She could not. He subsequently asked her not to go to Communion.

    'None of these archbishops overreacted. Not only does Sebelius support the now outlawed practice of killing babies who are 80 percent born, so-called partial-birth abortion, she has accepted donations from one of the most notorious practitioners of this Nazi-style act — Dr. George Tiller. Moreover, she even hosted a dinner for him in the Governor's Mansion.

    'Just yesterday, the pope admonished House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on this issue. Now we have the specter of another pro-abortion Catholic stiffing the Catholic Church. This is setting up a confrontation that pro-life Catholics will not walk away from. It is also setting up a battle between those Catholics who are honestly pro-life, and those who feign a pro-life position while always embracing the likes of Sebelius.'

So there.

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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