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Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse Reporting, § 48.981(7) — “Disclosure” Element

State v. David C. Polashek, 2002 WI 74, affirming in part and reversing in part2001 WI App 130
For Polashek: Nila J. Robinson

Issue: Whether the element of “disclosure” in § 48.981(7) requires that the recipient not previously have been aware of the confidential information.

Holding: Given the plain meaning of “disclosure,” as defined by various dictionaries, as well as construciton of the term under the Federal Privacy Act:

¶23. We conclude, then, that to “disclose” information under § 48.981(7), the recipient must have been previously unaware of the information at the time of the communication. Because the disclosure of the confidential information is an element of the crime, the State has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the disclosure took place. In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 363 (1970). We thus reverse the court of appeals on this issue.

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