San Diego Diocese Turns Over Priest Files

It’s the largest collection of priest abuse documents from any diocese in California that have been turned over to the public after a judge ordered diocesan officials to do so. The Diocese of San Diego settled a number of priest abuse cases in 2007 for $200 million and a promise to divulge all the documents relating to priests who abused minors. Finally, the Diocese complied with the settlement agreement and the judge’s order. When the settlement was finalized in 2007, it was agreed that a judge would inspect the San Diego priest documents and decide which documents should be made public. The judge has now reviewed the documents and released 10,000 pages of documents.
In any priest abuse case, the documents are the most important aspect of the case. As in Boston, the San Diego documents reveals patterns of abuse by priest predators as well as the cover-up, mismanagement, and secrecy of the diocesan officials, including bishops who either ignored abuse reports or simply transferred the offending priest. The San Diego documents also reveal the international character of the priest sexual abuse crisis. In this particular instance, priests were allowed to move not only from diocese to diocese but from one country to another in spite of known allegations of the sexual abuse of minors. Very often, the diocese that received the predator priest was unaware of the priest’s past criminal behavior and didn’t bother checking his background for fear of what may be discovered.
The public revelation of the San Diego documents is a victory for truth and justice. More importantly, it’s a victory for all the survivors who suffered the sexual abuse perpetrated by trusted Catholic priests. It’s also a victory for all children in the future.