Catholic Church Sex Abuse Documents Released

The Diocese of Bridgeport has released more than 12,000 pages of documents, from 23 lawsuits, containing information about sexual abuse complaints against several Connecticut priests and how the church handled those complaints. 

The records include testimony, depositions, affidavits and motions that had previously been under seal. They could shed light on how recently retired New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan handled the abuse allegations when he was Bridgeport bishop.

The almost 450 pages of depositions Egan gave, how that he did not investigate aggressively some claims of abuse, he reassigned priests who he knew had allegations made against them and he minimized allegations made against several priests, the Hartford Courant reports.

"Claims are one thing. One does not take every claim against a human being as a proved misdeed. I'm interested in proved misdeeds," Egan said, according to the Courant.

The legal fight started eight years ago and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, almost. The high court refused to hear the diocese's appeal of a Connecticut Supreme Court decision ordering the release of the documents. The Connecticut court set the deadline for today to give the diocese time to review the documents and flag ones those it considers privileged.

Diocese officials played down the importance of the release.

"Contrary to the naysayers, this is very old news. Between 1993 and 2002, more than 200 media reports were published about these and other cases, including extensive Hartford Courant coverage in 2002 in an article that published, without permission, many of the sealed documents," Bridgeport diocese spokesman Joseph McAleer told the Courant.

The diocese settled the lawsuits in March 2001, paying an undisclosed amount to 23 plaintiffs who alleged that they had been sexually abused by seven different priests.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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