Jump directly to the Content

Mandatory Reporters and the Clergy-Penitent Privilege

What to do when a confession of child abuse is disclosed confidentially.

Key point: In some states the clergy-penitent privilege does not protect ministers from the legal duty to report child abuse. However, the privilege still may protect ministers from having to testify in a civil lawsuit arising out of the abuse.

• A federal court in Utah ruled that a church official did not have to disclose in a civil trial information shared with him by a father who was guilty of abusing his adopted child. In many states ministers are mandatory reporters of child abuse. This means that they can be criminally prosecuted for failing to report known or reasonably suspected incidents of abuse. In most of these states the clergy-penitent privilege does not excuse ministers from their duty to report. As a result, ministers who are mandatory reporters under state law have a duty to report incidents of child abuse even if they learn of them in the context of a confidential ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • September 1, 1994

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan
Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan
Put a plan into action to prevent child sexual abuse from happening in your church.
Understanding Pastoral Liability
Understanding Pastoral Liability
Know the situations in which a pastor is personally liable for wrongdoing.
Using Social Media Safely
Using Social Media Safely
Policies to keep your church staff and members safe when using social media.
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
12 Law & Tax Guidelines for New Ministers
Essential knowledge to ensure legal and financial clarity and integrity in ministry.