Tim Hale, the attorney representing 25 victims of child abuse at the hands of Franciscan friars, won a key procedural victory last week that mandated the release of confidential files of five past and present priests acknowledged to be pedophiles. Although the release of these documents was part of the $28 million settlement agreement reached between Hale and the Franciscans in 2006, the order and the pedophile priests have since appealed. Hale fully expects the recent ruling to be appealed as well. If it stands, it will allow him – as agent of the plaintiffs – to publish the psychiatric files, employment records, and expulsion records of the priests accused of molestation. Hale argued that releasing this information will help the public protect itself. Attorneys for the Franciscans, however, noted that the most recent case of alleged abuse took place 17 years ago and no new ones have come to light. In addition, they argued that if confidential records between priests and their therapists are made public, fewer problem priests will seek the treatment they need.