Plan Would Seal Columbine Depositions for 25 Years

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DENVER -- A federal judge on Friday proposed keeping secret for 25 years the sworn statements made by the parents of the Columbine High School gunmen for a civil lawsuit settled more than three years ago.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock suggested the plan to settle a dispute over whether the depositions should be destroyed. His proposal calls for the material to be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration. It was not immediately clear what would happen to the depositions after 25 years.

The parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gave the statements in 2003 for a civil lawsuit filed by families of victims of the 1999 massacre in Littleton, Colo. Harris and Klebold killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives in the April 20, 1999, shooting.

After the lawsuit was settled, a magistrate ordered the depositions destroyed, but victims' families and others argued that the documents had historical value and could contain lessons to prevent school shootings.

Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel was among those slain, objected to Babcock's plan. He said there is a right for the public to know, but the federal government seems to believe the release of such information "is somehow going to unravel American society."

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