Sunday, Aug 19, 2018
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Release of records about teacher denied

A judge in Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday declined to release documents in a civil lawsuit involving a former California high school teacher now working at Adrian College in Michigan.

Thomas Hodgman, choir director at the college, had asked Judge Peter Lichtman to block the release of several documents that had been held by the Diocese of Orange County in California.

The diocese agreed not to object to the release under terms of a $100 million settlement agreement between the diocese and dozens of victims of sexual abuse by priests and others.

Mr. Hodgman was among those named in the lawsuits. He was accused of carrying out a relationship with a student in the 1980s when he was a teacher at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif.

The school is part of the diocese.

His accuser, Joelle Casteix, has become an outspoken critic of the diocese and has spearheaded an effort to release the documents, saying the information will help protect others.

Judge Lichtman released many of the documents in the settlement, but declined to release those in the cases in which the individual defendants objected.

John Manly, attorney for Ms. Casteix, said he will continue to work for the release of information in Ms. Casteix's case. The case now goes to California's Second District Court of Appeals, he said.

Additionally, he said there are other legal ways to make the case public, including pursuing legal action involving Adrian College, which has stood by Mr. Hodgman.

Officials there have told The Blade that Mr. Hodgman has endured personal trauma because of the allegations and they note Mr. Hodgman was never criminally charged. Mr. Hodgman has repeatedly declined to return phone calls seeking comment, although he initially told The Blade the allegations against him were "bogus."

Yesterday, an attorney for the college said the school would have no immediate comment on any action taken by the court.

Mr. Manly said he and Ms. Casteix remain undaunted.

"I think there's going to come a day very soon when I'm going to get Thomas Hodgman across the table from me in a deposition," Mr. Manly said.

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