Advocacy Group Denied Appeal to Order to Hand over Information about St. Louis Priest's Accusers
By Nassim Benchaabane
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 12, 2016
ST. LOUIS • An advocacy group won't be allowed to appeal a federal court's order to hand over private information about people who accused a St. Louis-area priest of sexual abuse of a minor.
A federal judge in St. Louis ruled Friday that the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests has to hand over emails, text messages and contact information of people who accused Rev. Xiu Hui “Joseph” Jiang of sexually abusing a boy in a Catholic school bathroom on charges that were later dropped.
Jiang filed a civil lawsuit against the boy’s parents, police and SNAP leaders David Clohessy and Barbara Davis, alleging they conspired against him for monetary gain, and that police officers went after him because of his religious and racial background.
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SNAP refused to comply with the order, which also required turning over all records of donations attorneys for SNAP have made to the organization. The order said federal law does not guarantee privacy in the production of pre-trial evidence.
Clohessy argued that was too broad and that it sought all communications about anything discussed between SNAP and the group’s lawyers for 10 years. He pointed to a state court ruling that SNAP may qualify as a rape crisis center, entitling it to keep certain communications with its clients private.
In her ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson said the state doesn't recognize that privilege in cases in which federal common law governs claims of privilege. She also said SNAP has not produced evidence to argue the order was too broad and that appealing the ruling would only delay the lawsuit, not help settle it.