November 19, 2005

Fight Over Priests' Files Headed for High Court

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

Lawyers for Cardinal Roger M. Mahony say they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a court order forcing the archdiocese to disclose the confidential personnel files of two former priests accused of child molestation.

The state Supreme Court let stand without comment an appellate court order that the archbishop must give the documents to a grand jury.

The church argued that disclosure would represent government infringement on religious freedom, but the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles ruled in July that the file release "will not result in excessive [government] entanglement."

In a letter dated Thursday, attorney Jeffrey S. Koenig asked the appellate court to delay its final order while the church appeals to the highest court.

"If the privileged documents are turned over to the grand jury, our efforts to obtain further appellate review will be rendered moot," he wrote in a two-page letter to Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

Posted by kshaw at November 19, 2005 07:44 AM