Judge Says Newtown 911 Tapes 'Searing,' But Must Be Made Public

Families of Newtown victims had hoped ot keep the calls sealed.

ByABC News
November 26, 2013, 3:09 PM

Nov. 26, 2013— -- The 911 calls from the Newtown school massacre must be made public because there is a "clear public interest" in the recordings a Connecticut judge ruled today in a blow to the relatives of victims who had fought to keep them sealed.

Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission had approved the release of the calls but Danbury State's Attorney Steven Sedensky asked for a stay. Judge Eliot Prescott has given Sedensky time to pursue an additional appeal, but said the calls should be released by Dec. 4.

The judge, who listened to the recordings prior to making his decision, conceded the public airing of the 911 calls "will likely be a searing reminder of the horror and pain of that awful day," but he said delaying their release would not "ameliorate the pain."

"Release of the audio recordings will assist the public in gauging the appropriateness of law enforcement's response," Prescott wrote. "In fact, public analysis of the recordings may serve to vindicate and support the professionalism and bravery of the first responders on Dec. 14, 2012."

In a statement Sedensky's office said he is reviewing the decision.

"That review will be completed before the effective date of the decision as set by the court," the statement said.

Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among the 20 first graders killed, had hoped the calls would not be made public.

"What parent could possibly want that," Hockley told ABC News. "It serves no public good, it's not in anybody's interest. It's not the way I want Dylan to be remembered."