Court to hear arguments on publicizing Saints' emails to Catholic church

Chris Miller
February 20, 2020 - 6:31 am
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Today a New Orleans Civil District Court judge will hear arguments about whether or not emails that the head of public relations for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans sent to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, advising them on how to handle the church's sex abuse scandal, should be made public.

The Associated Press says due to the high profile nature of the Saints and the church, the community should see emails, which may be used as evidence in a court case pending against the church over the sex abuse scandal.

"On the one hand, the public and the press have a first amendment right to essentially see what happens in their public courtrooms," said Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino. "On the other hand, these are private parties involved in a lawsuit, it doesn't involve any public entities."

The emails may eventually end up in the public record if they're admitted as evidence in a lawsuit that a group of alleged sex abuse survivors has filed against the church.

"Once documents are used in a public proceeding in Civil District Court, then the first amendment rights of the press and the public become certainly more compelling," Ciolino explained.

A group of men suing the church claim there was a cover-up of sexual abuse, and say the Saints were part of the cover-up, by giving advice to the church on how to publicly manage the scandal. The Saints argue their advice was only to be transparent. They also say these emails shouldn't be made public unless and until it is determined the emails will serve as evidence in the lawsuit.

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