LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times
By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
December 27, 2012
Media organizations will be allowed to argue against redactions in secret church files that are due to be made public as part of a historic $660-million settlement between the Los Angeles Archdiocese and alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.
Pursuant to Judge Emilie Elias’ order, The Times and the Associated Press will be allowed to intervene in the case, in which attorneys are gearing up for the release of internal church personnel documents more than five years after the July 2007 settlement. The judge’s ruling came after attorneys for the church and the plaintiffs agreed to the news organizations’ involvement in the case.
The Times and the AP object to a portion of a 2011 decision by a retired judge overseeing the file-release process. Judge Dickran Tevrizian had ruled that all names of church employees, including Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and other top archdiocese officials, should be blacked out in the documents before they were made public. In a hearing, Tevrizian said he did not believe the documents should be used to “embarrass or to ridicule the church.”
Attorneys for the news organizations argued in court filings that the redactions would “deny the public information that is necessary to fully understand the church’s knowledge about the serial molestation of children by priests over a period of decades.” The personnel files of priests accused of molestation, which a church attorney has said were five or six banker’s boxes of documents, could include internal memos about abuse claims, Vatican correspondence and psychiatric reports.
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