|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
October 15, 1999
Mr. Steven D. Monté
Dear Mr. Monté:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID#128901.
The City of Dallas (the "city") received a request for several specific police reports. You state that two of the requested reports involve allegations of sexual assault. You assert that the complainants' identities and a detailed description of the offense are excepted from required public disclosure based on section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with the common-law right to privacy.
Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from required public disclosure information considered to be confidential by law, including information made confidential by judicial decision. This exception applies to information made confidential by the common-law right to privacy. Industrial Found. v. Texas Indus. Accident Bd., 540 S.W.2d 668 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). Information may be withheld under section 552.101 in conjunction with the common-law right to privacy if the information contains highly intimate or embarrassing facts about a person's private affairs such that its release would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person, and if the information is of no legitimate concern to the public. See id.
Information that either identifies or tends to identity a victim of sexual assault is protected from public disclosure based on the common-law right to privacy. See Open Records Decision Nos. 393 (1983), 339 (1982). We conclude that the city must not release to the public any information that furnishes a basis for identification of the victim. The remaining information must be released. We have marked the documents accordingly.
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.
Kay H. Hastings
Ref.: ID# 128901
Encl. Marked documents
cc: Mr. Derek Carrillo
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US