Priest Abuse Secrets to Be Made Public

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009  |  Updated 4:26 PM PDT
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Priest Abuse Secrets to Be Made Public

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The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection before any of the lawsuits went to trial.

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego says it will release copies of files of priests, living and dead, who were accused of sexually abusing minors over the past several decades. The process to release the files will start Sunday through a secure website.

"The files are being produced in accord with the settlement agreement and court order which calls for them to be transmitted to a document repository which will be available to all counsel" Diocese of San Diego spokesperson Rodrigo Valdivia said.

The release of the files is part of a $198 million settlement of lawsuits filed by 144 people alleging abuse. The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection before any of the lawsuits went to trial.

"The diocese will deposit documents they have no objection to producing, and will provide a log of files they do object to producing," victim attorney Irwin Zalkin said. "The judge will review those logs and make a ruling whether or not they must be released."

The victim's lawyers and the diocese lawyers will then meet to talk about any differences. The perpetrators have been notified and have time to object, Zalkin said. The judge will then review those objections.

"The Diocese continues to be committed to the prevention of sexual abuse and to maintaining a safe environment for children and young people," Valdivia said.  "The Diocese is committed, above all, to reaching out with pastoral concern and care to victims of sexual abuse and their families, and to promote healing and reconciliation with them."

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