Judge orders Los Angeles archdiocese to release abusive priest files without omissions

Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A judge has ordered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to turn over 30,000 pages from the confidential files of priests accused of sex abuse without blacking out the names of top church officials who were responsible for handling their cases.

Judge Emilie Elias on Thursday ordered the nation's largest archdiocese to release the files by Feb. 22.

A record-breaking $660 million settlement with more than 500 victims in 2007 set the stage for the release of the files, but the archdiocese and individual priests fought for five years to keep them secret.

The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times went to court in January because the church had blacked out the names of church leaders who made key decisions about sexually abusive priests.