I was honored when I was asked to present at next week’s Law and Religion Scholars Network Conference at Cardiff University School of Law in Wales. The Center for Law and Religion, a think tank based at the school, has hosted some of the world’s leading scholars on the rapidly intertwining subjects of law, religious organizations and sexual abuse.
They tapped me to speak about a long-running and fascinating topic in my case load: medical records of clerics who have been accused of sexually abusing children. I’ll also discuss Catholic Church-run perpetrator treatment centers on the European continent and the new facility imported from the United States Catholic Bishops: The Saint Luke Institute.
Some of the issues I’ll cover:
- What are abuse victims’ legal rights regarding clerics’ medical records from church-run treatment facilities?
- The church’s notion of “good name” versus the public need for safety and child protection, and
- Recent legal developments regarding the medical records of clerics who have been accused of the sexual abuse of minors.
Then I’ll address some recent church practices, including:
- What have bishops or their staff done upon discovering a cleric has been sent to a medical facility?
- What do they do when they discover medical records for perpetrator treatment in a cleric’s personnel file?
- When a bishop or his staff comes to the conclusion that a cleric would benefit from psychological assessment or a leave of absence to attend an in-house treatment program, how are clerics convinced to go?
- After a cleric has been sent for assessment and/or residential treatment, how do bishops handle the medical records? How do they determine who owns the records? How do they view doctor/patient privacy? How do they keep the records out of the reach of prosecutors?
If you find yourself in Wales next week, be sure to drop by.