Vatican Ordered to Release Some Priest Files

An Oregon federal judge has ordered the release of some Vatican documents concerning the sexual abuse of a survivor in the 1960’s. In his ruling, Judge Michael Mosman ordered the Vatican to release some documents relating to the issue of whether the priest accused of sexual molestation was an employee of the Vatican. The judge limited the discovery request to those document relating specifically to the priest accused of sexual molestation, Fr. Andrew Ronan, who died in 1992. The documents that should be made available per the judicial order concern Ronan’s interaction with certain Vatican departments such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy since these departments are the ones that would have most likely been involved in the priest’s sexual abuse allegations and the Vatican’s handling of the charges which include laicization or removal from the clerical state.
The Vatican has taken the position that it knew nothing about the priest until after the sexual abuse took place. However, Fr. Ronan is known to have abused a seminarian in Ireland prior to transferring to the United States where he continued to abuse minors. He was subsequently laicized in 1966.
The Ronan case is an interesting one since it is the first of its kind to involve a judicial order mandating the release of Vatican documents concerning a sexual abuse lawsuit.