Judge: Accused Sex-Abuse Priests Must Be Named

Roman Catholic Church ordered to release its files

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 7, 2013 3:15 PM CST

(Newser) – A judge today ordered the release of thousands of pages of personnel files that would identify Roman Catholic priests accused of child molestation and their leaders in the church. The ruling by Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias contradicts a previous order in 2010 by another judge that allowed the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to redact the names of church higher-ups. Attorneys for the archdiocese previously said they planned to make the confidential files public by the middle of this month with the names of the church hierarchy blacked out.

It was unclear how long it would take to adhere to the new ruling. Church attorneys expressed concern about combing through 30,000 pages of documents. Elias continued to meet with attorneys following the hearing. The AP and the Los Angeles Times intervened in the case in December and argued in court papers that the redactions would prevent the public from learning which church officials knew about abusive priests, how much they knew, and how they handled it. Files released in other dioceses, such as Boston, have shown that the church shuffled priests among parishes without calling police. See more here. (One lawyer says 200 sex-abuser priests are hiding out in California.)

A priest at the altar.
A priest at the altar.   (Shutterstock)
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