Monday, April 20, 2009

Ramsey County Judge: List of suspected archdiocesan priests should stay private for now

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona do not have to make public a list of priests suspected of abuse, Ramsey County Judge Gregg Johnson ruled today.

St. Paul lawyer Jeff Anderson is seeking the list as part of a suit he has filed on behalf of an abuse victim and had said that he was going to make the list public as soon as he got it. Anderson still will get the list, but he is barred from revealing its contents.

Lawyers for the church had argued that because church leaders thought the list would remain private, they had included everyone who had been accused regardless of whether the charges were proven. The list still can be used in the trial, but now only those charges supported by evidence can be introduced.

The archdiocese issued a statement: "We are pleased that Judge Johnson agreed with us that these matters should be determined at the time of the actual trial. Once the evidence is presented in the courtroom, then the judge will determine what, if anything should be disclosed. That is all we were asking: to avoid premature disclosure that would have damaged a potentially innocent individual." Star Tribune

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