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More priest abuse files must be released by September, judge says

This file photo shows documents released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles regarding priest abuse.

May 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Roman Catholic religious orders have until September to release secret files on priests accused of molesting children in the Los Angeles archdiocese.

Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias made the ruling Tuesday and attorneys say the first files could be made public within the next few weeks.

After a five-year legal battle to keep the documents sealed, the archdiocese released files on 120 priests earlier this year, but many clergy members who worked within the archdiocese weren't included if they belonged to separate religious orders.

Religious order priests often were assigned to work in Los Angeles parishes but belonged to separate organizations, each of which had its own chain of command and specific mission.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.