Judge Sides with Priests
December 6, 2012
A Delaware bankruptcy judge has granted motions filed by two former priests who objected to release of their personnel files as part of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington’s $77 million bankruptcy settlement.
Kenneth Martin and Charles Wiggins, who were removed from ministry by the late Bishop Michael Saltarelli in 2001 and 2003, respectively, had sought protective orders to prevent the diocese from releasing their files to members of a creditors committee for possible subsequent disclosure to the public.
Judge Christopher Sontchi on Tuesday issued one-page orders granting the motions, almost six months after hearing arguments behind closed doors and barring reporters from the courtroom.
The diocese agreed to a $77 million settlement with some 150 alleged victims of priest sex abuse to end its bankruptcy case. The agreement also required church officials to turn over internal documents detailing how the diocese handled pedophile priests.
Martin and Wiggins were among the priests named by Saltarelli in 2006 as those against whom the diocese had sexual abuse allegations that were “admitted, corroborated or otherwise substantiated.”