May 11, 2005

Chaplain accused of abuse to keep quiet


5/11/2005, 9:35 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

A former prison chaplain accused of sexually abusing boys more than two decades ago intends to invoke doctor-patient and clergy-penitent confidentiality laws to resist answering some questions during a sworn deposition scheduled for next week.

In a motion filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the lawyer for one of the alleged victims says the Rev. Michael Sprauer plan to use the doctor-patient law in response to questions about any diagnosis or treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as any treatment he may have received for "sexual disorders or deviant behavior."

Moreover, the Roman Catholic priest intends to invoke the clergy-penitent privilege for anything reported in confidence to another clergyman about allegations of sexual abuse, according to a filing by attorney Erin K. Olson that was reported by The Oregonian in its Wednesday editions.

Sprauer, a former prison chaplain at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, has denied the accusations by 17 men who say Sprauer molested them in the 1970s.

In the motion, Olson's client asks Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris to rule on whether Sprauer should be allowed to assert the two privileges during the deposition.

The deposition is one of many taking place prior to Aug. 8, when the first batch of cases against Sprauer, and other priests and employees of the Archdiocese of Portland are scheduled to go to mediation.

Posted by kshaw at May 11, 2005 04:58 PM