Activist Claims Ministerial Privilege With Inmate

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

An anti-abortion activist accused of threatening a Wichita physician is claiming "ministerial privileges" in refusing to answer the government's questions about her relationship with Scott Roeder, the convicted killer of abortion provider George Tiller.

The Justice Department sued Angel Dillard last year under a federal law aimed at protecting access to reproductive services. The government has accused her of sending a threatening letter to Dr. Mila Means, who was training to offer abortion services.

Dillard says in a filing Wednesday that she provided supplementary responses to some questions. But she argued certain questions sought confidential information covered by the clergy privilege of her jail ministry.

The government argues that the "priest-penitent privilege" does not apply in this case because there is no evidence Dillard is an ordained minister.

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