Diocese Must Submit Records on Clergy

By The Associated Press, carried in New York Times
February 8, 2003

HOENIX - A state appeals court has ordered the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix to turn over nearly 2,300 records and documents to a grand jury investigating reports of sexual abuse by clergy members.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals upheld a decision by Judge Eddward P. Ballinger Jr., who had examined about 3,500 documents in the case.

"The church has repeatedly indicated it wants to cooperate," said the Maricopa County prosecutor, Richard M. Romley. "We ask that they turn over the documents as quickly as possible without further appeals."

A lawyer for the diocese and a church spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

The dispute centers on lawyer-client privilege. In 1994, the Arizona Legislature granted greater lawyer-client privileges to corporations facing civil lawsuits. Lawmakers did not apply those broader privileges to criminal matters.


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