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Puerto Rico diocese that defrocked priests fights request for information

Attorneys for a Puerto Rico diocese that defrocked six priests facing sex abuse accusations say they oppose a criminal investigation in part because the majority of the cases involved consensual sex with the alleged victims.

Diocese attorneys say the priests were defrocked for violating canon law, not criminal laws.

The argument was one of several presented without evidence on Friday to a judge reviewing a lawsuit that the Diocese of Arecibo filed against Puerto Rico's justice secretary. The diocese contends that it should not be forced to release the names of alleged victims to prosecutors in order to protect their confidentiality.

Prosecutor Claudia Juan Garcia accused the diocese of withholding information to protect the priests and said it is up to the state to determine which acts constitute a crime.