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Judge Won't Shield Air Force Rape Counselor

A federal judge on Wednesday refused to shield a civilian rape counselor from arrest for her refusal to turn over a patient's records in an Air Force (search) rape case headed for court-martial.

A military judge had issued an arrest warrant last month for Jennifer Bier (search), who defied a subpoena for the counseling records of an alleged victim of a lieutenant charged with sexual assault.

In denying Bier's request for an injunction barring her arrest, U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham (search) said the defendant's right to a fair trial trumps Bier's claim of patient confidentiality.

Bier said she will not turn over the records.

"What person wants their private information, their deepest pain, shared with a nameless, faceless judge who may pass that along to your rapist's attorney?" she said. It (the ruling) basically says to victims you can have justice or you can heal, but you can't have both."

Her attorney, Wendy Murphy (search), said she will appeal.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, representing the military, declined to comment.

Lawyers for the military argued that state law does not apply to their subpoena because the case is in military court. They said patient privacy rules are less stringent in the military.

The accused, 1st Lt. Joseph Harding, is charged with sexually assaulting two female cadets while he attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado in 1999 and 2000.

Harding is stationed at Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Miss., but his court-martial has been moved to Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, the headquarters of his unit.