Catholic religious order abuse files may go public

FILE - In this Monday, July 16, 2007 file photo, attorney Ray Boucher listens to several plantiffs, alleged victims of clergy abuse, during a news conference outside Los Angeles Superior Court. Boucher, a coordinating attorney for the plaintiffs, said the records kept on accused priests by the religious orders are critical to understanding the scope of the sex abuse scandal and the internal dynamics that contributed to it. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes,File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Less than three months after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released the files of priests accused of sex abuse, attorneys for victims are back in court seeking similar records kept by more than a dozen religious orders.

A hearing Tuesday began the process of determining if — and how — the records kept by religious orders such as the Jesuits, Vincentians, Salesians and Dominicans, among others, will be made public.

Attorneys for several orders said they weren't ready to release any files. They question whether they are even obligated to do so under a $660 million settlement signed in 2007 with more than 500 alleged victims of priest molestation.

A judge wants all the orders to submit their positions in advance of a May 28 hearing.