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Church tries to keep some documents secret

March 20, 2012 at 3:18 PM

PHILADELPHIA, March 20 (UPI) -- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia wants documents that could reveal its legal strategy in civil suits kept out of a landmark sex abuse trial.

Monsignor William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in Philadelphia, is the first Roman Catholic official in the United States to be charged with covering up sexual molestation charges. He is scheduled to go on trial Monday with two allegedly abusive priests.

Lawyers for the church asked a judge Monday to reject a request by Lynn's legal team for 12 documents, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Robert Welsh, representing the archdiocese, said the papers are about policy development.

Releasing them could hurt the church's efforts to deal with lawsuits from alleged abuse victims, Welsh said. He added the archdiocese "has a dog in the fight" and has to protect itself, he added.

Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina did not make an immediate ruling.

The church has already handed over about 30,000 documents. The 12 in dispute Monday were on a list of papers church lawyers say are protected by attorney-client privilege.

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