Attorneys seek electronic data on accused priests

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ST. PAUL— Attorneys for victims of alleged sexual abuse by clergy are asking the church to turn over electronic files about accused priests — so they can verify who had information about these priests, and when they had it.

During a hearing Wednesday in St. Paul, victims’ attorneys will ask a judge to order the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona to turn over emails, texts and other computer data about abuse allegations.

The documents are being sought in a lawsuit that alleges church officials created a public nuisance by keeping the names of accused priests secret.

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A forensics expert hired by plaintiffs says original electronic files will show when a document was created or modified. Experts can also track down documents that have been deleted.