March 09, 2005

Diocese to allow review of files from '02 search

Toledo Blade


Lucas County prosecutors will once again review files from the Toledo Catholic Diocese following an informal meeting Monday of prosecutors and Thomas Pletz, a diocesan attorney.

But saying she was bound by attorney's ethics rules and criminal statutes of limitations, Prosecutor Julia Bates cautioned that the inspection most likely will not lead to criminal charges, as victims have demanded for years.

Instead, she characterized it as a "voluntary production of information" by the diocese to make sure documents that prosecutors reviewed in 2002 are the same papers that police saw during a search of the diocesan office in September.

"We just want to re-examine those records, make sure they are the same ones we already reviewed," she said.

She said she must trust the diocese in turning over all allegations of child abuse in such an agreement. The move takes place three weeks after The Blade revealed that police, with a court order, twice searched the diocese last year during its investigation of the 1980 murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

During the second search, police found records alleging child abuse, but did not seize the documents.

Posted by kshaw at March 9, 2005 06:02 AM