(Photo: St. Louis Archdiocese)
Names of over 100 priests and employees of a Missouri archdiocese that have credible accusations of sexual abuse against them have been released to a person suing the institution.
In response to an order from the Missouri Supreme Court, the Archdiocese of St. Louis turned over the list of individuals and complaints Wednesday to the plaintiff of a lawsuit leveled against them. The move came as the state's highest court denied a writ by the archdiocese to keep the records private for the sake of all involved, according to a statement.
"The archdiocese had litigated to protect the privacy rights of all involved, including victims who had no connection to current litigation and who had come forth confidentially regarding their reported allegation," reads the statement in part.
"We appreciate the concern given this case throughout the appellate process, and although we share the disappointment of the many innocent individuals who will be affected by it, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will comply with the court order entered by the Missouri Supreme Court."
The archdiocese gave the list of names and complaints to a teenage plaintiff who is suing the church, reported St. Louis Public Radio.
"The underlying case is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 24. It involves a 19-year-old girl who is suing the Archdiocese for failing to properly supervise priests in its parishes," reported Rachel Lippmann of SLPR.
"Many of the alleged cases happened decades ago, making civil and criminal cases impossible. But dioceses and archdioceses around the country have paid millions in settlements for claims that happened within the statute of limitations."
The list includes the name of priests and employees of the archdiocese with credible complaints against them going back to 1986.
An unnamed woman filed suit against the archdiocese in 2011, having alleged that she was abused while a child. Her attorney, Kenneth M. Chackes, told The Associated Press that the names should be "very helpful."
"Without seeing the names, it's hard to know how many people complained about sex abuse by priests, and to know how the archdiocese responded," said Chackes.
While the plaintiff is able to view the names, the list will remain sealed to the public, per the Missouri court's order.