Archdiocese of Los Angeles fails in bid to keep sex abuse records confidential.
On Monday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias overturned a 2011 order and authorized the release of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles records that identify pedophile priests. The order releases a treasure trove of documents relating to the abuse of children by Archdiocese priests – abuse that has resulted in the payment of over $600 million to victims in 2007.
The documents include memos between church officials; complaints from parents; medical records and even communications with the Vatican regarding the abusive priests. In light of the volume of documents – nearly 30,000 pages – it was not clear exactly when the records would become available. Additionally, Judge Elias wanted names of people who were not involved in the scandal to be redacted, and attorneys for victims and the Archdiocese are in discussions about how the redactions can be accomplished. Importantly, both attorneys for the Church and abuse victims agreed that the records be released to the public as soon as possible.
At the time of the original settlement in 2007, the parties had stipulated that the records could become public. But a group of priests later went back to court and blocked the full release of the records, claiming that public disclosures would violate their privacy. Several years later, in 2011, another judge authorized disclosure, but only with heavy redactions.