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Judge Forces Catholic Church To Release Sex Abuse Documents
The release “concludes a sad and shameful chapter in the history of our Local Church,” the archdiocese said.
A California judge has forced the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release some 12,000 pages of church documents revealing how it handled allegations of priest sexual abuse.
There were many — 192 priests and bishops were named in litigation, the archdiocese said.
“The cases span decades,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a statement Thursday. Some go back to the 1930s.
CNN reports the archdiocese already published the names of accused clergy in a 2004 report, but the release of Thursday’s documents will allow the public to trace how the church handled the allegations. It may bring to light some cases where accusations were kept under wraps and the accused were kept out of the sight of the law or accusers.
The documents had served as evidence in 508 civil cases by sex abuse victims that were settled in one stroke in 2007.
Victims received a total of $660 million in the landmark judgment.
Most of the documents were inner-church correspondences about accused clergy. The archdiocese fought to purge the names of the accused from the papers until Thursday, when Judge Emilie Elias ruled that they be made public by February 22.
The church published them shortly after the ruling. There are 124 personnel files in total, 82 which reveal sex abuse allegations against minors.
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