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Chris Fane's Student Ministry News

A youth ministry blog consisting of a collection of articles and notes related to
student / youth ministry. Gathered by Chris Fane of egadideas.com



Court refuses to block access to church counseling records

FROM: ASSOCIATED PRESS / BY: TONI LOCY

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere in a California prosecutor's efforts to obtain confidential counseling records kept by the Catholic Church on two priests under investigation for molesting children.

The justices, without comment, declined to hear a church appeal of a state court ruling permitting the Los Angeles district attorney to subpoena records -- including letters and details from confessions and treatment -- generated by Cardinal Roger Mahony and the priests in dealing with concerns about child sexual abuse.

The subpoenas are significant because similar records are being sought in hundreds of lawsuits filed by sexual abuse victims across the nation, including more than 500 in California.

The church had argued the subpoenas violate the First Amendment's protection of religion, saying ``state review of confidential, pastoral counseling . . . inherently entangles the state in the internal religious life of churches and intrudes into religious practice.''

Attorneys for the church also said the subpoenas will ``chill'' the relationship between Mahony and the priests. Already, instead of counseling, priests are hiring attorneys and refusing to undergo psychological evaluations, the attorneys said.

>>ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE
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