Short extract from http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/snap-subpoenas-harm-key-ally-victims about legal moves to force SNAP to hand over records:
If SNAP leaders are compelled to testify in cases of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors and are forced to turn over confidential correspondence from victims, whistleblowers and media, the advocacy group will be irreparably harmed and victims of clergy sexual abuse will have lost a key ally in their fight for justice.
The subpoenas are wrong on a number of counts.
First, the extraordinary breadth of material the subpoenas order SNAP to release is a kind of legal carte blanche that courts should protect against. Lawyers defending accused priests seek documents and correspondence dating back to the organization’s founding 23 years ago — including emails, press releases, drafts of press releases, and any correspondence with members of the press, lawyers and the public, if that correspondence mentions the dioceses, the bishops, the defendants or the accusers.
The lawyers also seek any document that makes mention of “repressed memory.” That opens the possibility that the identity of someone who has never gone public with their story but had written to SNAP at some point mentioning the phrase “repressed memory” would now be revealed. The judge in one of the cases has made one concession to victims’ right to privacy by requiring SNAP to provide the court — not opposing legal counsel — with a log showing dates and times of contact with victims.
While the subpoena might lead the public to believe that SNAP’s primary mission is lining up plaintiffs to sue the church, the reality is quite different. According to SNAP’s director, David Clohessy, “the overwhelming majority” of victims the group has dealt with “never consider or take legal action or go public.”
If SNAP does not hand over their records concerning that “overshelming majority”, can they be charged with “cover-up”? Should pastoral care of victims sometimes take precedence over mandatory reporting to the legal system?