Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mystery document
Mystery Document Appears In Priest Probe
Updated: Friday, 11 Mar 2011, 5:23 PM EST
Published : Friday, 11 Mar 2011, 4:08 PM EST

There are now questions about a document obtained by Fox 29 that appears to prohibit the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from releasing information on sexual abuse by its clergy to law enforcement authorities.

Strangely enough. the document is coming from the Archdiocese, and not lawyers from those making the allegations against clergy members.

Our Dave Schratwieser has been talking to legal experts about why the document would even be necessary .

Some legal experts Fox 29 spoke with seemed quite interested in this document and what the exact purpose for it might be.

The document obtained by Fox 29 appears to be a form that prohibits the ASrchdiocese from passing along information to law enforcement authorities from anyone making allegations against the clergy related to sexual abuse.

What seems to be odd about this form is it appears to come from the Archdicocese, and not from an attorney representing the alleged victims.

It bars the Archdiocese from releasing that information to investigators unless they receive a subpoena from a grand jury.

Fox 29 asked former prosecutor and noted Center City attorney Brian Mcmonagle to take a look at the document.

"I was stunned when i first saw this document, because I've never seen anything quite like it," McMonagle said.

"I assume you could make the argument that this is a way for the Archdiocese to protect itself from stale claims that are made by victims who in the beginning didn't want disclosure and later claim the Archdiocese was preventing them from making disclosure."

McMonagle also raised some interesting questions about just exactly when the archdiocese may have presented the forms to alleged victims.

He said it would be interesting to see if it was when the complaint first came in or later on.

Fox 29 called the Archdiocese looking for an explanation and other information on this form.

There has been response to that call at this point.

McMonagle noted that it's possible the document could have been used for that, but without knowing when alleged victims were presented with it, by whom, under which circumstances and what the Archdiocese's explanation for using this form, that's a difficult question to answer for sure.

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