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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Franciscans 'tried to expand policy of secrecy,' per lawyer who won 4-year battle Thursday re pedophile clergy

"It’s a victory for transparency," said the plaintiffs' attorney. "The opinion is a rejection of the Franciscans’ attempts to make a mockery of the entire proceeding,” Tim Hale (pictured) continued in an email about the California state 2nd District Court decision September 30, 2010, which rejected the Catholic Church argument that patient-psychiatrist privilege applies to documents Franciscans are trying to prevent releasing in pedophile priest personnel files.

“They sought to expand the scope of the psychotherapist privilege in a way that no court has previously recognized, and that would have allowed them, if the court had agreed, to exploit that privilege time and again in the future to keep the public in the dark re their perpetrators.”

Final outcome of the Santa Barbara Franciscan document dispute will set precedent for priest personnel files in more than a thousand lawsuits regarding pedophile Catholic clergy in California that settled in the past decade. The Franciscan cases that led to this decision settled in May 2006.

Hale said the Franciscans “tried to turn a process that was supposed to be for the public benefit and public safety into a vehicle to expand their policy of secrecy regarding Franciscans who abuse children.”

City of Angels asked where the documents will be for the public to read once they are released, if they would be on the Nye, Peabody, Stirling & Hale lawfirm website and Hale answered:

"Don't know yet re where the docs will be. Need to figure that out while the Franciscans are deciding whether to seek review."

Hale wrote: "It’s a victory for the brave survivors who fought this battle, and especially for today’s children, because it’s a victory for transparency.

"Transparency, as you know, is one of the most important weapons in the battle against child abuse, it’s what we fought for in the settlement agreement in 2006, and its what this proceeding has been about from day one. Every one of these survivors will tell you that what they wanted more than anything was to do everything in their power to make sure what happened to them would not be done by Franciscans perpetrators to other children."

Read the 2nd District Court of CA opinion at Leagle filed by California Court of Appeals 2nd District, Division Eight, Sept. 30, 2010.

Patient privilege does not apply to documents dealing with coverup of sex abuse or information critical to public safety of children, agreed the 2nd district court of appeals of California, Sept. 30, 2010, denying the Catholic Church’s argument that communications between the Franciscan brothers of Santa Barbara and psychiatrists they employed to treat their perpetrator priests were protected by patient privelege.

So Franciscans of Santa Barbara will have to give up their personnel files of their pedophile priests soon. City of Angels Blog will run more on the decision shortly.

Here is mainstream media coverage from Thursday:

Court: Make records public in friars' sex cases
The Associated Press - Gillian Flaccus - LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court ruled Thursday that psychiatric and other confidential records of Franciscan friars accused of sex abuse should be ...

Court Orders Release of Therapy Reports Franciscan Friars Kept on Alleged ... - Kate Moser - ‎A California appeal court today authorized the public release of confidential files on Franciscan friars accused of sexual abuse. The friars had fought the ...

Court of Appeal Upholds Order Releasing Priests' Records
Metropolitan News-Enterprise - ‎By a MetNews Staff Writer Psychiatric and other confidential records of priests whose molestation of children resulted in lawsuits against their order may ...

IN RE CLERGY CASES I - ‎Howie & Smith, Robert G. Howie and Audrey Smith for Defendants and Appellants Samuel Charles Cabot, Mario Cimmarusti, David Johnson, Gus Krumm, Gary Pacheco ...

Sex Case Court Orders Friars' Psych Files Bared Newser - Rob Quinn - ‎Face it, there's too much news. Newser cuts through the clutter, selects the best stories from hundreds of sources, ...
Calif. court orders accused friars' records released USA Today - ‎LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appeals court has ruled that psychiatric and other confidential records of Franciscan friars accused of sex abuse should be ...

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