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LA archdiocese to release accused priests' files

Posted: October 20, 2012 9:00 p.m.
Updated: October 20, 2012 9:00 p.m.
 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Five years after settling with sex abuse victims, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles says it will release the confidential personnel files of about 200 accused priests.

The Archdiocese will hand over the records to a judge on Dec. 10, spokesman Tod Tamberg told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (http://bit.ly/XBblV3) on Friday.

The files — with the names of innocent individuals redacted — will ultimately be made public under a record $660 million settlement the Archdiocese agreed to in 2007, the newspaper reported.

The personnel files of 13 priests were released Friday to Anthony De Marco, an attorney who represents a victim allegedly abused by the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera. That case is pending and the records remain under a protective order from the court and cannot be made public.

De Marco said the archdiocese is supposed to provide him with documents on 12 other priests within two weeks.

The December public release of all 200 confidential personnel files is vital to public safety, said Joelle Casteix, Western regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"Some of these priests are still out roaming the streets unsupervised," she told the Tribune. "These men who are known to archdiocese officials as having abused kids are living in neighborhoods, could be baby-sitting, volunteering in schools, and these documents will provide information that can protect kids now."

De Marco expressed concern about the fact that the archdiocese redacted the name of the former archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony, from the documents.

"I have seen the archdiocese try to find every way they can to preserve the name and reputation of those folks that were complicit," he told the newspaper. "That's a concern I have — that folks like Cardinal Mahony, various bishops and other higher-ups, will be protected."

Tamberg dismissed a notion by De Marco that the files may be incomplete, pointing out that all the redactions were done in the presence of lawyers for both sides, by order of a judge.

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