- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A judge has ordered the state to pay Kentucky’s two largest newspapers more than $300,000 in attorney fees in a dispute over access to child abuse records.

In addition, media outlets reported that Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd left in place a $756,000 fine against the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. That means the case has cost the agency over $1 million.

Shepherd criticized the cabinet in his order last week, saying the agency’s actions in denying The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader access to the records dragged the case out and “vastly increased” the amount it must pay.

The court battle over records involving the deaths or severe abuse of children began five years ago.

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