PORTLAND, Ore. — A year after the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland settled its bankruptcy case for about $50 million, it has released more of its files on priests accused of sex abuse — including some confidential personnel records.
The documents were expected to be released shortly after the settlement. But negotiations over the release stalled, sending the church and lawyers for the victims back to federal bankruptcy court.
An attorney for some of the alleged abuse victims criticized the latest release as piecemeal and said the archdiocese failed to provide any explanation or tie the documents together in a meaningful way for victims or the public.
"This is not the way to do it," said Kelly Clark. "This is how you do it if you want to frustrate that purpose."
Clark also said that releasing the documents out of context makes it look like the church did not find out about the alleged abuse in many cases until much later than it actually received complaints.
Mediation sessions on the release have been continuing before both sides were scheduled to head to U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan to ask for a decision. Hogan was one of two judges who mediated the settlement.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris sealed most of the documents after the archdiocese became the first Catholic diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy protection in July 2004.
She has scheduled hearings for arguments on lifting her order but is not expected to rule until October.
Archbishop John Vlazny says he authorized the release of about 2,000 pages of additional documents on Tuesday as "part of the healing process and in the interest of transparency."