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Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus ordered to release files on 14 accused priests

Priest fired from St. Xavier after allegations of 'inappropriate communications' with student
Posted at 2:57 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 19:41:13-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio judge has ordered the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus to release files on 14 accused priests as part of an ongoing lawsuit.

Franklin County Judge Jaiza Page made the decision on Friday, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Lebanon attorney Konrad Kircher requested the files in February.

Kircher is representing Kevin Heidtman, who says he was sexually molested by the late Monsignor Thomas Bennett during the 2002 to 2003 school year. Heidtman's suit was filed in July 2018.

Heidtman is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of at least $2 million from Bishop Frederick Campbell and St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley.

The 14 priests are named on a list of Columbus clergy that the diocese says were “credibly accused” of abusing children.

Kircher expects to receive the files within 28 days.

“I think these records will show that when faced with this knowledge, the diocese kept violations secret rather than warning the public and protecting more children,” Kircher said.

The diocese did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.