The A.P. reports that L.A. Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman has given the Franciscan religious order three weeks to make public the personnel files of hundreds of its members.

The ruling came as part of a $28 million settlement with 25 plaintiffs of a sexual abuse suit. Lichtman had ordered the documents to be released in 2006, but some of the Catholic brothers belonging to the California order fought the decree on privacy grounds. Those friars are expected to appeal Lichtman's ruling.

Lichtman had, in 2007, also ordered the confidential personnel files be made public, even though they may have contained unproven accusations of sexual misconduct. According to an L.A. Times article from that year, the charges against “10 current and former Franciscans who were accused of fondling, masturbating, orally copulating and sodomizing boys and girls for 30 years starting in the 1950s.”

LA Weekly