Violations of Confidentiality: Is there Accountability?

Many professionals say confidentiality is inherent and necessary in their work.   Physicians and medical people promise confidentiality.  Lawyers promise confidentiality.   Priests promise confidentiality.   Journalists promise confidentiality.

Many confidentiality breaches happened recently.   Here are just two that were in the news, plus the ongoing problems with the College of the Holy Cross.

J. K. Rowling used a pseudonym to write a new book in a field she had not published in before.   A senior partner in a law firm she hired breached her confidentiality,  disclosing that J. K. Rowling was behind the pseudonym.   The law firm took responsibility and apologized “unreservedly” and explained that the disclosure was by a partner who told his wife’s best friend, who then told a London columnist.

J. K. Rowling said in response: “A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”

Another confidentiality breach this week was by a sergeant in the Massachusetts state police whose job is to take photos for the agency.   He was quoted as saying he was angry that an alleged criminal appeared to be glamorized by a cover of Rolling Stone magazine.   The sergeant released bloody photographs showing the scene of the alleged criminal’s arrest — without any authorization to do this.  He was relieved of duty and is facing a hearing.

No one at the College of the Holy has ever been held accountable for breaching the confidentiality promised to me by the president of the College of the Holy Cross.  No one.  Never.   Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, the president of the College of the Holy Cross, allowed thousands of confidentiality breaches.   The Board of Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross has never held anyone accountable.

Because all of my polite letters and communications were ignored for a long time, I began the Vigil for Justice at the College of the Holy Cross.   I expect to be there a very long time due to the problems with arrogance, elitism and hubris — and cover up.

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One Response to Violations of Confidentiality: Is there Accountability?

  1. William J. Conley, Jr. said my confidentiality was breached because “We didn’t think a new president should have to deal with this.” Vincent F. O’Rourke, the general counsel for the college, covers it all up and asserts there was no confidentiality promised.

    The shenanigans at the College of the Holy Cross — not knowing the requirements of confidentiality and then covering up egregious mistakes — has turned accountabilty there into my life’s work.

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