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Court orders SNAP to release internal records

Catholic World News - April 23, 2012

A Missouri court has ordered the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to turn over records to lawyers representing priests who have been charged with sexual abuse.

Jackson County Judge Ann Mesle said that she would restrict the scope of the information to be released, but said that defendants had the right to learn whether SNAP had coached witnesses on bringing charges against priests. “I believe they are entitled to have information on repressed memory,” the judge said.

The legal arguments over “repressed memory” are crucial to Missouri lawsuits, where plaintiffs have invoked that psychological claim in order to bring suit in cases that would ordinarily be beyond the statute of limitations. The state’s top court has ruled that if victims are able to demonstrate that they repressed memories of abuse, the statue of limitations begins to run only when they recover those memories.

The effort by defendants’ lawyers to force release of the SNAP files has provided some an ironic reversal of roles. In scores of other cases, SNAP has demanded complete disclosure of confidential personnel files by Catholic dioceses. But the group has fought stubbornly to prevent disclosure of its own internal records. Judge Mesle said that she expected her order would be appealed.

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  • Posted by: damian.riggs8445 - Apr. 24, 2012 1:39 PM ET USA

    SNAP: it's way past time for them to be even-handed in their disclosure.

  • Posted by: Jdarc - Apr. 23, 2012 6:16 PM ET USA

    While I am all for any victim of abuse (abuse by anyone) to receive justice, I hope this is the beginning of the end for SNAP.

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