BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Catholic church’s secrets could become public information if a federal lawsuit succeeds.
A federal lawsuit is asking the court to order Catholic leaders to name predator priests nationwide.
The lawsuit was filed in Minnesota on Tuesday, coinciding with the annual bishops meeting that’s currently gathering in Harbor East.
The lawsuit asks the court to release the names of all the priests in their dioceses accused of sex abuse.
Attorneys say in 120 of 197 dioceses, the lists are incomplete- or nonexistent.
“The danger is real, and the danger is imminent. The truth, as they know it to be, is hidden,” said Jeff Anderson, attorney.
The lawsuit lists six defendants, all survivors of sex abuse.
“I am here to protect kids today. I’m here to protect kids tomorrow, and I’m here to protect children who’ve grown into adults who haven’t had a chance to heal,” said Joe McLean, a survivor from Minnesota.
McLean said they are trying to do that by forcing the church to not only name accused priests but give the details of their past sins, and reveal church leaders who may have covered up the crimes.
Including Baltimore’s late Cardinal William Keeler.
Once championed for releasing the names of 57 so-called predator priests, Keeler’s legacy was stained in August, when a Pennsylvania grand jury completed a 900-page investigation, revealing hundreds of priests molested more than 1,000 victims.
It accused Keeler of “criminal inaction”, saying he knew of at least two cases of sex abuse and failed to report it.
since then, Archbishop William Lori has agreed to open church files to state investigators.
“Any measure that we do to bring about healing must first and foremost be done with the survivors in mind,” Lori said.
The Pope asked the bishops to delay formal action at the conference, something survivors may now instead see in court.
Attorneys have done this before in Minnesota, where the legal maneuver worked at the state level.