A judge’s ruling Monday requiring the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release thousands of pages of confidential records, including the names of church higher-ups, is an important victory for the public and victims of sexual abuse.
The battle over the clergy files has dragged on for far too long. In 2007, the church agreed to settle hundreds of claims against it for $660 million. That deal also required the release of clergy personnel files, which include internal memos, Vatican correspondence and medical records. But the release of the files has been on hold. Last year, a court-appointed referee vetted the documents and ruled that the names of church leaders who are not accused of abusing children should be redacted to avoid further embarrassment to the church. The Times and the Associated Press filed motions objecting to the referee's decision to redact the names of church leaders, including Cardinal Roger Mahony and others.