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Victims blast diocese for destroying priests’ psychological records

Catholic World News - December 22, 2010

The Diocese of Green Bay destroyed some priests’ psychological records in 2007 in order to comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the diocese’s vicar general said in a recent deposition. A diocesan spokesman said that these records were destroyed only in cases in which priests were deceased and there was no pending court litigation related to abuse.

“There was never an order issued by me-- nor anyone else-- to destroy documents or evidence contained in the files of priests accused of abuse while I served as bishop of Green Bay,” insisted Bishop David Zubik, now bishop of Pittsburgh. “To the contrary, it had been diocesan practice in Green Bay not to destroy documents in priest files-- even after a priest had died-- if there was litigation involving that priest or any pending claims. I reinforced that practice by having it formally written into the diocesan records retention policy in 2007.”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests accused the diocese of destroying potential evidence in sex abuse cases and called for a federal investigation.

“This is an issue of considerable public interest,” said James Santelle, the local US attorney, who pledged to “make some determination about what if anything the … Department of Justice should be doing on this.”

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Dec. 22, 2010 8:12 AM ET USA

    The SNAP crowd is starting to look like Holocaust hunters in their zeal to pore through the records of dead priests with no allegations against them. Like the Holocaust hunters who are faced with tracking down a dwindling number of nonagenarian perps, the SNAP crowd has to keep the pot stirred to keep the donations rolling in. This is much ado about nothing.

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