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Church Historian Says He Found Empty Files

Attorney General Acknowledges Some Documents Missing

Jan 8, 2003 | AP

A priest who wrote a history on the Catholic Church in New Hampshire said he discovered empty clergy personnel files while researching his book.

Monsignor Wilfrid Paradis told the Union Leader he believed the files were destroyed to get rid of evidence of sexual abuse. He said he found at least a half-dozen files that contained almost no record of the priests' years of service or correspondence typically found in files. He would not identify the priests.

Senior Assistant Attorney General William Delker acknowledges some documents are missing. He wouldn't characterize them, or why they were removed, but he said the details will be clear when the state releases thousands of pages of files it reviewed in its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal.

Meanwhile, Paradis says police protected priests who broke the law. He cited many priests who were stopped for drunken driving, for instance, but never arrested and says it's very possible police also protected clergy accused of abusing children.

Delker said the documents being released next month will speak for themselves on whether priests got preferential treatment.

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