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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Newspapers Fight to See|Secret Records on Priests

(CN) - The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press will argue next week for the release of unredacted personnel files of dozens of California priests who faced sexual abuse allegations.

As part of its historic $660 million settlement in 2007 with hundreds of people who said they were abused as children by priests, the Los Angeles Archdiocese had to publicly release its personnel files.

To spare embarrassment and ridicule, Judge Dickran Tevrizian, who has since retired, gave the diocese permission to black out the names of prominent archdiocese employees, including Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press then intervened in the case.

The Times reported that Ray Boucher, an attorney representing the alleged victims, filed papers last week asking Judge Emilie Elias to release the unredacted names.

"Each of the higher-ups in the Los Angeles Archdiocese who recklessly endangered generations of this community's children by protecting pedophile priests will themselves be protected," he wrote.

In an interview with Courthouse News, Boucher said Elias' ruling is expected as early as Monday. "It's been a ten-year battle for many of these victims and receiving the documents and knowing who within the Church allowed these crimes to take place against them has been a vital and important part of doing justice to them and bringing closure and resolution," he said. "Hopefully [Elias] will rule that the names of the hierarchy should be released. For most of the victims of clergy sexual abuse, having the names of the hierarchy available to the public is a strong part of public safety, and ensuring there is accountability for those people who aided and abetted these crimes."

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