University of Pittsburgh
March 25, 2007

Former Archivist for Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Speaks at Pitt April 2 on Ethical Dilemmas Posed by Records of Sexual Abuse by Clergy

James M. O'Toole to discuss role of recordkeeping in scandal as well as larger ethical issues for archivists
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-A former archivist for the Archdiocese of Boston will discuss the recent sexual abuse scandal involving Roman Catholic priests to illustrate the ethical dilemmas that crop up in recordkeeping.

James M. O'Toole, the Clough Professor of History at Boston College, explores how recordkeeping documented and exposed the sexual abuse of children by priests in his lecture titled "Inadequate Recordkeeping: Some Thoughts on Ethical Dilemmas for Archivists." The 90-minute lecture takes place at 4:30 p.m. April 2 in the University of Pittsburgh's Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland. O'Toole worked for the archdiocese from 1978 to 1986.

O'Toole's free public presentation is part of the Policy, Ethics, and Accountability Lecture Series sponsored by Pitt's School of Information Sciences (SIS) and the Johnson Institute for Responsible Government in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

At Boston College, O'Toole teaches course on the history of American religion and American Catholic history. O'Toole's pre-academic archival career included positions at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Massachusetts State Archives in addition to his service at the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston. He has published widely on archival theory, including a second edition (2006) of Understanding Archives and Manuscripts (Archival Fundamental Series, Society of American Archivists) with SIS professor Richard J. Cox. He also is the author of Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth Century America (Cornell University Press, 2004).

For more information on O'Toole's appearance and the lecture series, visit the SIS Web site at