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Crucial Hearing Set Wednesday In California Clergy Sex Cases
Tentative Ruling Issued That May Open Secret Records
A Northern California judge has tentatively decided that most of the records in dozens of civil sex abuse lawsuits against Catholic clergy will be made public.
A hearing on the matter will take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday 10/13 in Alameda County Superior Court.
In a ruling issued late Tuesday, Judge Ronald M. Sabraw, who oversees 160 clergy sex abuse cases, determined that for now, the employment of many of the priests involved should be released "in the public interest."
Two attorneys - Larry Drivon of Stockton and Rick Simons of Hayward represent alleged victims in the cases.
"We're one step closer to the truth, despite the determined efforts of highly paid church lawyers to continue the shameful cover up," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "For the hundreds of wounded California men and women who are seeking justice, this is a critical victory."
Last week, Sabraw ruled that molestation victims can seek punitive damages in court against the church. He also recently set March 2005 trial dates in some cases and tossed out several other cases in which he felt there was not enough proof that church officials had known about an abusive priest's crimes.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests