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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Disclosure to Civil Authorities

Volume 1 . Chapter 3 . § 3-08.10
Key point 3-08.10. The clergy-penitent privilege does not prevent clergy from disclosing confidential communications to the police. Rather, it prevents clergy from disclosing the content of privileged communications in court. Clergy who choose to inform the police about information shared with them in confidence are providing no more than a "tip." The police will need to confirm the information through their own investigation, since the minister will be prevented by the privilege from disclosing the information in court.

Case Study

• The body of a woman was found at a church camp. A few weeks later, another woman went to the home of a local pastor and confessed that she had killed her. When the woman left, the pastor called the police and ...

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