January 26, 2005

Cardinal Fights Records Ruling

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

Lawyers for Cardinal Roger M. Mahony on Tuesday appealed a court order that would have forced the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to surrender to prosecutors the confidential personnel files of two former priests accused of molestation.

A Los Angeles judge had ruled against Mahony's claim that disclosure would "interfere with the communications between priests and bishops." He had ordered the internal church documents turned over to prosecutors by Friday.

In a statement, Mahony's lead lawyer, J. Michael Hennigan, said such communications are "essential if bishops are to continue to support and counsel their priests."

The earlier court ruling came more than two years after Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley sought the internal church documents as part of an ongoing county grand jury investigation into alleged molestation by priests.

By the time retired Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas F. Nuss ruled against Mahony last September, the number of accused priests had dwindled to two, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling barred the prosecution of decades-old child sexual abuse cases. The appeal the church filed Tuesday involved 40 pages of documents sought by prosecutors, Hennigan said.

Posted by kshaw at January 26, 2005 06:49 AM