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DA Gets Court Orders For Records of Priest's Therapy Sessions

Mar 26, 2003 | AP

Mobile County District Attorney John M. Tyson Jr. says court orders have been served on two psychological therapists for their records on treatment of the Rev. J. Alexander Sherlock, a priest who has admitted to a history of sexually abusing children.

The orders signed by Mobile County Circuit Judge Joseph S. Johnston called for therapists John W. Davis of Mobile and Dr. David D. Harwood of Montgomery to provide "complete copies of records" of their treatment of Sherlock.

Tyson's office said Tuesday that the documents relating to the treatment "may, and are believed to contain evidence" of criminal actions by the priest.

Sherlock, 62, served six Mobile area Catholic parishes between 1966 and 1997.

Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb has said Sherlock admitted to sexually abusing three minors. Three of the incidents took place during the 1970s, Lipscomb said. The archbishop has said the victims were "older teenagers" at the times of the abuse.

Lipscomb said he learned of a fourth credible allegation earlier this month.

Lipscomb revealed the allegations concerning Sherlock March 16 in Montgomery, where the archbishop assigned Sherlock in 1997. Sherlock resigned on Feb. 28.

Tyson's request for the orders stipulated that the information "will be used solely in this investigation and will not be publicly disclosed unless necessary to prosecute a criminal action, and then only in open court."

The DA said he has received responses to the court orders, "and at this point, I don't know of a reason that we should have to file additional motions."

Officials at the Archdiocese of Mobile could not be reached for comment Tuesday about the new development. Sherlock, 62, also could not be contacted.

Tyson opened a criminal investigation into allegations against Sherlock last week.

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