A Missouri appeals court ruled Friday that the Archdiocese of St. Louis did not have to release the names of priests accused of sexual abuse in the past 20 years as part of a lawsuit against the archdiocese.
A St. Louis judge had given the archdiocese a Friday deadline to turn over the names to a woman who sued, saying she was molested by a priest as a child, and to the woman’s attorney. Otherwise, the names were to be kept under seal.
The Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals ruling did not say if release of the names eventually would be required.
The archdiocese’s appeal included a list of 115 complaints made against archdiocese employees since 1986. The accusers and employees are not identified by name, and it wasn’t known how many of the accused were priests.
The woman, who was 19 when the lawsuit was filed in 2011, claimed abuse by a priest began when she was 5 years old and attended St. Cronan’s parish in the city. The priest, who was later defrocked, had been convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy at a parish in University City decades earlier. He received treatment and was reassigned to St. Cronan’s.
The lawsuit alleges a pattern of covering up abuse claims.
“We’re disappointed that the archdiocese chose to continue to fight to keep all this information secret,” said the woman’s attorney, Kenneth M. Chackes.
Messages to the archdiocese were not returned.