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CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A district court judge has sided with Wyoming media interests, ruling circuit court hearings and records concerning sex crimes don't necessarily have to be closed to the public.

District Judge Keith Kautz of Torrington ruled Friday in favor of the Wyoming Press Association, several Wyoming newspapers and The Associated Press.

The media groups had challenged the closure of court proceedings for a man accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing a Glenrock girl this summer.

Kautz wrote it should be possible for circuit courts to avoid identifying victims or suspects without sealing the court files or closing hearings.

Media lawyer Bruce Moats says Kautz's ruling is a victory for public access.

The Wyoming Attorney General's Office had opposed the media groups. An attempt to AG Greg Phillips Monday wasn't successful.

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