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By MICHELE M. BETTI | b&a opinions |

The Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules met on April 17, 2015 at Fordham University School of Law in New York City.  The Committee seeks approval of two proposed amendments for release for public comment:

1. Abrogation of Rule 803(16), the ancient documents exception to the hearsay rule; and

2. Amendment of Rule 902 to add two subdivisions that would allow authentication of certain electronic evidence by way of certification by a qualified person.

The Committee is accepting public comments on line until February 16, 2016.

The Ancient Document Rule under the Federal Rules of Evidence is a permissible method to authenticate a document.  Under the rule, if a document is (1) more than 20 years old; (2) is regular on its face with no signs of obvious alterations; and (3) found in a place of natural custody, or in a place where it would be expected to be found, then the document is found to be prima facie authenticated and therefore admissible.

I represent victims of child sexual abuse both under the age of majority and over the age of majority against both secular and non-secular entities.  I have searched the archives of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc. aka The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Ossining, New York and the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Hawaii, aka The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Both searches uncovered documents very relevant to my cases that proved that as early as the 1950s the Catholic Church knew it had pedophile priests in treatment for psychosexual disorders.  Despite this knowledge, the Church continued to employ these pedophile priests and transfer them from school to school and parish to parish, which resulted in the abuse of hundreds of young children that attended these schools and parishes.  This has been the pattern and practice of the Catholic Church and its Religious Entities in the United States and around the world.  Such practice has resulted in the devastating abuse of thousands of children around the globe.

The above is documented in thousands upon thousands of “ancient” documents.  If The Ancient Document Rule is removed you will affect the admission of these important documents that directly show the knowledge the Church had in moving these pedophile priests to different schools and parishes.

There is an Ancient Document Rule exception for a reason.  Do not remove something that has such value to the victim, the attorney, and the justice system.  If the document is properly authenticated through the Ancient Document Rule then it should be admitted.

To leave a comment, go directly to their comment page at – !submitComment;D=USC-RULES-EV-2015-0003-0001

Copyright 2016, b&a opinions.

–Michele M. Betti of the Law Offices Of Betti & Associates is an advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

–If you have any information on any pedophile priests in the United States or other child sexual abusers please immediately come forward and report their abuse to law enforcement agencies.