Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Boston are deposing therapists for abuse victims. Victims’ advocates are crying foul, saying that the archdiocese, by offering therapy for victims on one hand, and then requiring testimony from them on the other only serves to undermine further the credibility of the Church. I have to agree here.
Yes, the defendants do have a right to depose therapists in cases where emotional damage is alleged, but there are things that are legal and things that are right, and they’re not always the same thing. I just don’t think it’s the correct tactic.
However, even lawyers for victims are conflicted about it.
Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor who represents sexual abuse victims, said the right of defense attorneys to depose therapists and examine their records in such cases has been misused by some defense attorneys as a strategy designed to get victims to drop their claims or accept small settlements. “It’s an intimidation tactic that forces people to choose between privacy and justice,” she said.
But Murphy also said, “If you sue for emotional damage or psychological harm, by definition you’ve waived any right to confidentiality because the person you’re suing has the right to challenge the legitimacy and integrity of your claim.”