A judge has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Louis to release the names of all priests accused of sexual abuse in the past 20 years. Under the order, the names of those who made the complaints also would be turned over by the end of the working day Friday.
But St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker said the archdiocese could withhold the names of those involved in cases the church determined were “unsubstantiated,” making it unclear exactly what the archdiocese will ultimately release from 234 complaints identified by the court.
Dierker has been trying for six months to get the archdiocese to turn over the information as part of a civil suit against the first priest defrocked in St. Louis as the child abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has continued to play out in court. The lawsuit alleges that there was a pattern by the archdiocese of covering up abuse claims and that church leaders knew that failing to disclose past problems could cause new ones.