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October 12, 1999

Mr. Steven D. Monté
Assistant City Attorney
Criminal Law and Police Division
Office of the City Attorney
City Hall
Dallas, Texas 75201

OR 99-2909

Dear Mr. Monté:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 129286.

The City of Dallas Police Department (the "department") received a request for a copy of all incident, offense, follow up, continuation, prosecution, and lab reports as they pertain to an investigation of sexual assault of a child. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Section 552.101 encompasses confidentiality statutes such as section 261.201 of the Family Code.

Section 261.201(a) provides as follows:

(a) The following information is confidential, is not subject to public release under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may be disclosed only for purposes consistent with this code and applicable federal or state law or under rules adopted by an investigating agency:

(1) a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect made under this chapter and the identity of the person making the report; and

(2) except as otherwise provided in this section, the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.

Because the requested documents relate to an allegation of child abuse, the documents are within the scope of section 261.201 of the Family Code. You have not indicated that the department has adopted a rule that governs the release of this type of information. Therefore, we assume that no such regulation exists. Given that assumption, the requested documents are confidential pursuant to section 261.201 of the Family Code. See Open Records Decision No. 440 at 2 (1986) (predecessor statute). Accordingly, the department must withhold these documents from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code as information made confidential by law.

We are resolving this matter with this informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and may not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

Rose-Michel Munguía
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

RMM\nc

Ref: 129286

Encl: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Paige Massey
Attorney at Law
9309 Prince William
Austin, Texas 78730-3418


 

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