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Bridgeport diocese appeals court decision to make public sex-abuse documents

June 12, 2009

The Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has decided to appeal a decision by the state's highest court requiring the public release of documents that detail the reactions of diocesan authorities to sex-abuse allegations against Catholic priests. The diocese has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to reconsider its decision and hear new arguments, saying that the case "raises significant concerns and deserves review by the full court."

The diocese has energetically defended the privacy of files that were sealed after a 2002 settlement with sex-abuse victims. But a lower court ruled in favor of a plea by several newspapers to unseal those files, and the state's highest court upheld that ruling in a 4-1 decision issued in May. During the appeals process the 12,000 documents in question will remain sealed.

In a separate legal dispute, the Bridgeport diocese is contesting a state panel's ruling that it must register as a lobby because of its active involvement in the debate on legislation that would have forced disclosure of church financial information. Bishop William Lori said that the diocese was exercising its religious mission, and simply trying to "defend ouserves in the face of two pieces of legislation that were unfriendly to the day-to-day mission of the Church."

 


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