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New York case tests confidentiality of Vos Estis investigation

September 13, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: A lawsuit in New York is testing the confidentiality of church records compiled in an internal investigation of a bishop accused of sexual abuse.

The case involves a Vatican-ordered investigation, under the terms of Vos Estis, of multiple complaints against retired Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany. The investigation was headed by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The plaintiff in an abuse lawsuit has sought the release of the documents from the investigation.

Lawyers for the New York archdiocese have fought against disclosure, saying that the investigation was “an exclusively canonical process related to the Catholic Church’s right to select its ministers.” The plaintiff’s attorney replies that courts have already permitted access to records from investigation of accused priests, and the same logic should apply to investigations of bishops.

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