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Los Angeles Judge Orders Franciscans to Open Clergy Files

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From The Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has ordered the Franciscans, a Roman Catholic religious order, to release hundreds of pages of private personnel files as part of a clergy abuse settlement.

The order Thursday by Superior Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman comes nearly three years after the Franciscans reached a $28 million settlement with 25 victims of sexual abuse.

Lichtman ordered the Franciscan Friars of California Inc. to release the documents within 21 days, but the ruling will likely be appealed.

Release of the files is a condition of the May 2006 settlement but some religious brothers fought back in court, saying doing so would violate their privacy rights.

An attorney for the Franciscans had no immediate comment.