The Judge in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has established August 3, 2015 as the deadline for filing all claims, including sexual abuse claims. In addition, the Judge also ordered that all sexual abuse claims that wish to be treated as confidential, be confidential. This article discusses how the confidential claim procedure is going to work.
A survivor/claimant has a choice about whether to have his or her claim treated confidentially or be made public. In fact, the first section of the approved Sexual Abuse Proof of Claim form asks the claimant whether he or she wants the Proof of Claim to be handled as confidential or public. If a Sexual Abuse Proof of Claim indicates that the survivor/claimant wants the form to be treated as confidential, the form will be maintained in a file by the Clerk’s office and will not be available or viewing or copying without the Judge’s permission. If the Proof of Claim form indicates that it should be treated as public then the Proof of Claim will appear on the public claims register and will be available for viewing by the public. If the Proof of Claim form does not indicate either public or confidential, the Proof of Claim for will be treated as a confidential document.
The procedure for handling the confidential claims for all practical purposes mirrors the practice of using a pseudonym, such as John Doe or Jane Doe, in a civil case. Once the Proof of Claim form is received, there are a limited number of people who can review the form and they will be required to keep the identity and all personal information confidential. The Judge’s Order clearly provides that any sexual abuse survivor can make some or all of the information relating to the claim public at any time, even if the survivor/claimant has indicated that he or she wishes to have the claim be treated as confidential. Any public disclosure will not effect the way that the Proof of Claim will be treated.
This is a good procedure that will allow people who have been sexually abused to file their claim without having to worry that their identity or other personal information will be made public. As long as a Sexual Abuse Proof of Claim is properly completed and sent to the correct person, before the August 3, 2015 deadline, that claim will be treated confidentially.
Patrick Noaker is an attorney with the Noaker Law Firm LLC who aggressively represents clients in the courtroom, mediation and arbitration and has presented cases to judges, juries, arbitrators and mediators across the U.S. for the past 24 years. Patrick has handled hundreds of clergy sexual abuse cases in Minnesota and across the United States. Patrick can be reached at his office: 333 Washington Avenue N. # 329, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401, (612) 839-1080, email@example.com, @Noakerlaw.