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Minnesota Supreme Court Protects Sex Assault Victims’ Privacy Rights

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently reinforced the privacy rights of sexual abuse victims.  In In re Hope Coalition, the court held that a criminal defendant’s interest in obtaining the records of a sexual assault victim’s counselor for the purposes of developing his defense did not overcome a statutory protection in Minn. Stat. § 595.02, subd. 1(k), which “creates a privilege for sexual assault counselors.”   In sum, the court held that the statutory privacy protection “cannot be pierced in criminal proceedings without the victim’s consent.”  The statute did “not permit disclosure of privileged records in a criminal proceeding, even for in camera review [by the judge alone], without the consent of the victim.”

Farrish Johnson Law Office has a history of assisting with breach of privacy claims and can provide a consultation to those who believe their private records have been improperly disclosed.