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Letters to the Editor: Bishop Kevin Vann’s response to hazing allegations at Mater Dei is disgraceful

Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange
Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange expressed regret over a Mater Dei football player’s injury and the “media frenzy” over hazing.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: While Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange may decry the “media frenzy” over the alleged hazing at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, I am happy such violence has been made public.

Many young minds are not savvy enough to know it is OK to walk away from a violent interaction, despite peer pressure and the cute names for the brutal acts.

For a man of the cloth to be “saddened” by the coming to light of what really goes on under his watch distresses me greatly. For a bishop to be encouraged by the fact that the students were not involved in violent conduct against their will is disgraceful.

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If school leaders don’t guide students as to right and wrong behavior under their watch, then who will?

Margaret McVey Thomas, Pasadena

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To the editor: Vann and diocese schools Supt. Erin Barisano are “concerned and saddened.” And of course they’re “sorry” a student on the Mater Dei football team suffered a traumatic brain injury.

But mostly they’re upset about the “media frenzy” resulting from a lawsuit against Mater Dei filed by the injured student’s parents. Now that Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer has failed to find cause to charge anyone for the alleged hazing, Vann can rest easy. After all, according to Spitzer, no one participated “against their will.”

This is sort of like anyone else who has been intimidated and coerced into doing something they didn’t want to do, but did it just to be accepted as one of the boys. And of course, boys will be boys. I guess that makes it all OK.

In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as archbishop of Boston after he was accused of covering up widespread child sex abuse. It makes you wonder what Vann thought about the “media frenzy” then.

I guess we’ll never know, because when the people who are supposed to be responsible adults are more interested in issuing lawyer-speak statements than seeking the truth, well, we deserve what we get.

Robert Del Vecchio, Carson

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To the editor: Vann’s choice to use the pejorative term “media frenzy” to describe the reporting of recent events at Mater Dei portends a continued pugilistic response. He is using a very outdated playbook, one in which they will win by coming out swinging.

I wonder if they would change their behavior if one of their football players beats a fellow student to death. Unfortunately, we may find out.

Beckie Brown, Westwood, Kan.

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To the editor: I find it disturbing that Vann attempted to deflect regarding the alleged conduct of some Mater Dei students by offering up the paper tiger of a “media frenzy.”

How unfortunate that he chose such a path when he had an opportunity to right a very serious wrong. The tepid response of “we are very sorry ... and do not condone” is less than courageous.

Jean Turner, Mission Viejo


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