Kane County attorney Jim Scarth says attorneys defending Challenger in a civil lawsuit have no right trying to get documents pertaining to an unrelated criminal case against Stephen Carti-sano, the wilderness therapy program's founder.
But Challenger attorney Russell Workman believes he's entitled to the details of a diversion agreement between the Kane County attorney's office and the former Challenger field director, Lance Jagger.Cartisano and Jagger were charged in August with negligent homicide and child abuse in the June 27 death of Kristen Chase, 16, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., who suffered exertional heatstroke while hiking as part of her Challenger experience.
The two were also cited with eight other child-abuse charges, which say Challenger participants were neglected and physically abused.
Shortly after the charges were filed, Jagger quit Challenger and later agreed with Scarth to testify against Cartisano. In exchange for the testimony, Scarth agreed to drop the charges against Jagger.
Scarth wants the terms of the agreement protected. "The core of our position is confidentiality," Scarth told U.S. Magistrate Calvin Gould during a hearing Tuesday in which Scarth asked that Challenger's subpoena for the agreement be quashed.
Workman - one of the attorneys defending Challenger and Cartisano against a lawsuit filed in June by a South Carolina girl - said the document will likely be made available to the defense during the criminal case.
"If this will be available in discovery anyway, I don't see why it shouldn't be available in the civil case," Workman said.
Gould took the case under advisement.
An angry Scarth told reporters afterward that he believes Challenger's civil attorneys are attempting "to interfere with the prosecution."
Cartisano's criminal trial is set for May 13.