The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to release unredacted files showing the names of church leaders who made decisions that left abusive priests in positions of further harming children. The Associated Press reported the decision noting that 30,000 personnel files could be released in the next few weeks.
Ray Boucher of Kiesel & Larson in Los Angeles, who made our 2012 Lawdragon 500 guide, has fought an epic battle with the church for the files, following his role securing a $660 million settlement for abuse victims in 2007. As part of that settlement, the Archdiocese agreed to release the files, but then reneged on its commitment to disclose the names of those who facilitated the abuse.
Mike Hennigan of McKool Smith has led the defense of the Archdiocese and former Cardinal Roger Mahony.
Boucher called the contents of the files "chilling", saying, "Every bishop and every vicar of clergy has been so indoctrinated with the view of protecting the church from scandal that they allowed heinous crimes to be committed."
The Los Angeles Times and Associates Press joined the litigation to make the files public. An initial batch of 14 priest files made public in January showed that Mahony schemed to shield abusive priests and maintain the church's public image at the expense of full disclosure. The full release is expected by Feb. 22.