Petition update

Latest Response From The Archdiocese

Kevin Turowsky
Boston, MA, United States

Sep 8, 2017 — The AOB's latest response to this petition:

The request for the release of personnel records related to A. Joseph Maskell is one we treat very seriously and is deserving of careful consideration and prayer. It is also a very complex one. Among the many legitimate legal and privacy concerns surrounding such a request, there are other practical realities that need to be considered.

While some feel the release of Maskell’s personnel records would provide clarity and possibly even closure, the reality is that it would provide neither. The release of files, especially redacted ones--would likely create frustration and/or even cause some to believe information they were expecting to find but didn’t was removed or never included. It would also create a precedent that would likely soon be followed by requests for the release of personnel records of other priests and employees of the Church.

The Archdiocese’s decision not to release confidential personnel records is not a refusal to share relevant information about those who harmed children while representing the Church.

In fact, in 2002, the Archdiocese published the names of clergy credibly accused of committing child sexual abuse dating back to the 1950s, the earliest records on hand. It included information about where clergy served, as well as the dates of the allegation(s) and the dates in which action was taken by the Archdiocese in response to those allegations. This was true even for those who were accused but not immediately removed from ministry. This unprecedented act of transparency provided the foundation for our practice of public disclosure that remains in place today.

Thus, I reiterate our earlier statement that Archdiocesan records related to Maskell are confidential, and Archdiocesan policy and state law would preclude us from disclosing much of the information in them as they include confidential personal information (e.g. names of alleged sexual abuse victims), personnel records, health records, attorney-client communications, personally identifying information (such as social security numbers), etc.

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