The files of Catholic priests, accused of sexual abuse, should be made public, a California judge said in a tentative ruling Oct. 12.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sabraw said the content of the employment files "is a matter of public concern and interest and outweighs privacy interests of the defendants," reported The Associated Press.
The names of the defendants and alleged victims, background information on the plaintiffs, and Church administrative records should be made public, but medical and psychiatric records would remain confidential, he said.
The order applies to the 160 consolidated civil cases, involving 40 priests, against Northern California dioceses.
The documents had been sought by media organizations, arguing for public access to the internal Church files of accused priests.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys had received internal documents earlier this year and turned over some of them to various media, but Sabraw ordered a temporary stop to the distribution this summer.
Last month, a Southern California judge ordered the Los Angeles Archdiocese to surrender the confidential records of two former priests.
Sabraw is expected to issue a final ruling after he hears further arguments by Church officials, media representatives and plaintiffs' attorneys.