Appellate Court Rules That Letter to Pastor Regarding Sexual Conduct is Not Privileged

The Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled that a letter written to a pastor of a Catholic church alleging sexual conduct is not privileged in the same manner that a confession to that clergy member would be.  Thus, the Court ruled that the Kane County pastor must reveal who sent him the letter.  The opinion did not disclose the name of the pastor.  In the letter, a parishioner alleges that her son had sexual contact with another minor of the church.  The church and pastor sought to bar disclosure of the letter, arguing that the clergy-penitent privilege barred its release.  The Court rejected the argument, and ruled that the author of the letter must be disclosed, but not the letter itself.

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