October 13, 2005

Records' Release Is Criticized

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione and Sandy Banks, Times Staff Writers

The Los Angeles Archdiocese has promised for more than two years to make public 126 summaries culled from the personnel records of priests accused of molesting children. Late Tuesday, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony made good on his pledge, but already critics are questioning his motives.

Attorney J. Michael Hennigan, who represents the archdiocese in more than 560 sexual-abuse lawsuits, said the documents were released in connection with a recent court decision. A state appellate court ruled last month that it couldn't stop the archdiocese from making the information public.

"We did it as fast as we could," he said, adding that the "release has nothing to do with that settlement process."

But one attorney for 127 men and women suing the archdiocese suggested that the release may have had to do with looming trial dates that have been set after years of failed mediation.

"The writing is on the wall: We will be trying these cases," attorney Katherine K. Freberg said. She suspected that the archdiocese wanted to release damaging information now rather than risk it becoming public nearer the time of jury selection.

Posted by kshaw at October 13, 2005 09:20 AM