L.A. Times asks judge to stop redaction of priest abuse records
A Los Angeles County judge is set to meet today with lawyers for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and victims of clergy sex abuse.
The hearing before Superior Court Judge Emilie H. Elias comes three days after the L.A. Times filed a motion opposing the redaction of the names of high-ranking church officials in confidential church files set to be made public in coming weeks. The records, all pertaining to priests accused of sexual abuse, are being released as part of a 2007 settlement with more than 500 alleged victims.
“The public is entitled to know which members of the hierarchy had information about the widespread molestation of children and what they did about it,” lawyers for the newspaper wrote. “Without this information, the public will not be able to assess the extent of institutional or individual knowledge of the abuse.”
A retired judge tasked with overseeing the file release ordered church lawyers last year to black out the names of all employees of the archdiocese. The judge, Dickran Tevrizian, said he was impressed with the church’s reforms and feared the files would result in “guilt by association” against church officials who had contact with abuser priests.
“You know that the Church recycles priests. Now you want to know who in the clergy recycled. For what useful purpose? The case is settled,” Tevrizian told victims’ lawyers last year.
The terms of the agreement prohibit the archdiocese and the victims from appealing the redactions, but Elias has the final say and has ruled that “any other interested person or entity” can ask her to review Tevrizian’s decisions on the file release.
-- Harriet Ryan and Victoria Kim
Photo: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: L.A. Times