The Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday ordered Cardinal Roger Mahony to hand over documents from the archdiocese’s secret personnel files of priests accused of sexually abusing children.
Judge Thomas F Nuss, ruling that it was in the interest of the state to protect children from sexual abuse, rejected the claim made by the Archdiocese’s lawyers that criminal investigators demanding the disclosure of the documents were violating the U.S. Constitution by interfering with the operation of the Church.
The Archdiocese’s lawyers have said that they will appeal the ruling. They have waged a two year legal battle to keep the documents secret, a battle which has drawn criticism from an independent Catholic review board, who say that it does little to enhance the Church’s reputation for transparency.
Lawyers of 500 alleged victims who believe the documents will prove that Church hierarchy failed to protect their clients from sexually abusive priests, and prosecutors who have charged two priests with absuing children have been fighting to have the documents released.