Debate Over Release of Church Sex Abuse Documents

A Waterbury judge heard arguments Monday on how the state should release documents from sexual abuse lawsuits against catholic priests.

The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the paperwork unsealed and now it's a matter of how and when they will be made public.
The documents are from a global lawsuit back in 2001 when the catholic church settled with 23 victims who sued 6 priests.  But now that the documents are on the verge of being unsealed, its seems the diocese of Bridgeport are still trying to put up legal barriers. 

"Make no mistake, what you heard in there from the defense attorney is we do not want to give you those documents and we in fact want this destroyed," Michael Recks client was abused by one of the catholic priests named in the global lawsuit. 

He says attorneys for the diocese are still fighting to keep documents from that suit under wraps, even after their release was ordered.

Back in 2001, after the diocese settled with its victims it was granted a request to seal documents from the case. Several newspapers soon hired attorneys to fight for their release.

Fast forward to this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the paperwork must be unsealed, except for certain medical documents and the names of 7 priests who were accused but never charged with sexual abuse.

Monday, attorneys for the diocese asked the judge to destroy all original documents, return CD ROM's with images of those documents to the diocese, and for time to review a copy of the documents, to make the correct information remains sealed.

They told the judge they could go page by page and separate what should and should not be released.

The judge didn't rule, but victims advocates like Reck, say the Supreme Court's ruling is a step in the right direction, "I am encouraged that justice is occurring that these docs will come out that survivors who are alive today will be able to achieve some semblance of healing by gaining access to those docs.

Attorneys for the newspapers and diocese both declined to comment. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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