Witness confidentiality and accompanying issues were recently explored on this blog in the post, 'Security of Budd Hopkins Archive Called into Question, David Jacobs Shares Responsibility'. Peter Robbins subsequently chose to voice some perspectives about the piece and make some related assertions. Carol Rainey chose to respond. Rainey's response was received in an email today and is published with her permission:
Carol Rainey’s Response to Peter Robbins, January 4, 2015
I would like to respond to Peter Robbins’ categorical statement below, which was posted to Sacha Christie’s Facebook page on January 1st:
“For the record – Budd Hopkins NEVER allowed the release of any tape recording or confidential file except to the individual themselves. David Jacobs has always followed this policy as well – except in single case of the event in question [the release of Larry Warren’s tape to Col. Halt].”
Budd Hopkins’ supporters have shown a disturbing commitment to turn him into “a saint” by revising and sanitizing every act and event of his life. Budd was a human being – often warm and caring, but also often thoughtless and careless about other people’s safety and needs. So are most of us divided between our good and our selfish impulses. So, please, folks, there is no need to attempt to present him as perfect and without flaw – in retrospect. That simply is not who he was. We were married for ten years, most of those happily, and long enough for me to know his character and his work.
Prior to his death, however, Budd did not make adequate provisions for the posthumous safety and protection of his subjects’ records. In other fields, a researcher’s archives are often given in trust to an academic institution or major library. The archives are transferred to these safe havens along with strict legal contracts that specify who, why, and how other individuals with serious research projects may or may not use them. If I had been one of Budd’s subjects, that would have been my strong preference for where my records would have ended up.
Peter is simply and utterly wrong when he asserts that Budd “NEVER allowed the release of a tape or file to anyone but the individual themselves [sic].” What would Peter call the fact that Budd allowed David Jacobs, at some point in the late 1990’s, to take hundreds of Budd’s hypnosis tapes back to his home in order to make copies of those confidential “patient records?”
And we both know that Budd, in his studio or living room, often played excerpts of his subjects’ regression sessions to visitors like Col. Halt, Roger Leir, John Mack, and others. I saw him play these regression tapes for journalists, for television producers, for other abductees. He also played a videotaped interview with John Cortile, aged eight or nine when it was shot, in his studio for outsiders to see, although he’d promised John’s mother that he would not.
It’s public knowledge that in his first interaction with John Mack, Budd handed him a stack of his unopened, personal mail. These were letters, often up to eight pages long, that had been sent to him in confidence by people who spilled out their deepest fears that their anomalous experiences meant they might be abductees. The names and addresses of these confidential letters (often marked “Confidential” on the envelopes) were fully in view. John has mentioned this in his writing and in conference presentations. Greg Sandow, too, has posted on the Web about Budd handing him, early on, a stack of unopened letters as a way of convincing him to take the phenomenon seriously.
In his last year of life, Budd (or his assignee) handed over to one of his supporters videotape to be publicly posted on a website that defended the “Witnessed” case. The unfortunate facts are that what Budd handed over to be made public was footage that belonged to me, footage that I’d shot with alleged abductees and witnesses for a documentary. I had obtained proper releases from each for inclusion in my film. But Budd had no release or contract whatsoever with the individuals on my film. Yet he was apparently untroubled by the ethical concerns of having handed over stolen material to be posted on a supporter’s site in full violation of my copyright -- not to mention the rights of the subjects who were then publicly “outed.”
Although I have less knowledge of David Jacobs’ policies and procedures, I am aware that Emma Woods has objected strongly, in the past, about his passing along the audiotapes of her own regressions to be listened to and transcribed by other alleged abductees.
In summary, I’d suggest to people concerned about such matters to familiarize themselves with the strict U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HIPAA regulations. More information about privacy rights for healthcare information can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html.
New York City, 2015