Church Loses Fight Over Sealed Papers

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The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the release of thousands of pages of sealed documents concerning sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.

The court's decision Monday effectively lifts a stay that has delayed the release of the documents since 2006, when four newspapers persuaded a Connecticut court to unseal them.

The materials were filed in 23 lawsuits against the Catholic diocese by parishioners during the 1990s, alleging that the church failed to supervise its priests and reassigned those suspected of abusing children. The cases were settled in 2001, as the Catholic abuse scandal grew in national prominence.

The sealed documents are said to include transcripts of depositions of church officials, including Cardinal Edward Egan, and files from the investigation of priests accused of abuse during the 1960s and 1970s. A 2002 article in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant described some of the documents, which the newspaper said it obtained from sources it didn't name.

The other newspaper plaintiffs were the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post.

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