Judge: Turn Priest's Files over to Court-Appointed Referee

San Diego Union-Tribune
September 18, 2008

A Los Angeles judge Thursday said personnel files of Catholic priests and other accused offenders involved in the San Diego diocese's sexual abuse settlement should be turned over to a court-appointed referee next month.

Judge Emile Elias gave an attorney hoping to block the release until Oct. 14 to seek an appeal, said Anthony De Marco, a victims' attorney who was present at the hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

San Diego lawyer Robert Jassoy had requested a two-month postponement on behalf of seven alleged offenders. Jassoy said in his request that the delay was needed to give him time to ask the state appeals court to rule on the legality of releasing the files. He could not be reached for comment.

Last September, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego agreed to pay $198 million to settle claims with 144 men and women who said they were sexually abused by clergy and other church workers when they were minors. As part of that settlement, the diocese agreed to make public the personnel files of the accused.

The referee's task will be to review the documents in the files and recommend to Elias what to make public.

Attorneys for the victims objected to the request for the postponement, saying it's important for the public to know what was known about these alleged offenders and what actions were taken by the church.

"We're ready to do that, when the court requests us to do that," diocese chancellor Rodrigo Valdivia said.


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