August 25, 2009
Supreme Court Orders Abuse Records Unsealed
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that documents from lawsuits against six Roman Catholic priests for alleged sexual abuse must be unsealed, according to the Associated Press.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg denied the Connecticut diocese's request to keep the seal until the full court decides whether to review the case. The diocese wrote that it intends to ask the full U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, stating that "granting access to such documents would intrude upon the private affairs of citizens, with the potential to inflict great harm and injustice."
The records have been under seal since the diocese settled the cases in 2001, and an attorney representing The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post requested to see the documents. Here's more from the Hartford Courant.
In its motion asking the high court to keep the stay in place, the diocese says there is a good chance the high court will take up the diocese's case because of two issues: the state Supreme Court's definition of what constitutes a legal document; and the church's contention that its First Amendment rights would be violated by the unsealing of documents that church officials produced with the understanding that they would be sealed forever.