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Hearing on release of clergy files set for Jan. 7

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A hearing date has been scheduled Jan. 7 in Los Angeles Superior Court regarding the editing of Archdiocese of Los Angeles priest personnel files that are intended for public release.The date was set at a Dec. 10 hearing by Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias. At issue is the release of priest personnel files related to the alleged sexual abuse of children by clergy. At the Dec. 10 hearing, attorneys representing plaintiffs argued that the redactions to (or editing of) the files proposed by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, under an order issued by retired U.S. District Court Judge Dickran Tevrizian, were excessive. The archdiocese did not agree. Judge Elias ordered both parties to go over the redacted documents together, and to submit a list of disputed redactions to the court on Dec. 27, before setting the Jan. 7 hearing date. Michael Hennigan, attorney for the archdiocese, repeated the archdiocese’s desire to release the documents early in 2013, possibly on Jan. 14.The courtroom exchange also focused on the fact that only archdiocesan documents containing information about childhood sexual abuse are currently to be released. Attorneys for the archdiocese indicated that currently, the number of files which meet Judge Tevrizian’s criteria stands at 69. Attorneys for the plaintiffs questioned this number, since they believe there are 149 priests with files that might have relevant documents. Attorneys for the archdiocese disputed that assertion but assured the court that they would review any file once again if requested by the attorneys for the plaintiffs. In another matter before the court, Judge Elias ruled in favor of a motion to allow attorneys for two alleged victims of Michael Baker to pursue punitive damages in an upcoming court trial, scheduled for April 9. (These two alleged victims came forward to file claims against Mr. Baker after the 2007 Global Settlement was concluded.)

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