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Confidential Communications with More than One Person

Clergy-penitent privilege may be revoked if information has been shared with others.

Key point: The clergy-penitent privilege may be "waived" when a counselee shares the same information with another person.

• A New York court ruled that a murderer did not "waive" the clergy-penitent privilege when he disclosed to police a confession he had made to two ministers. A drug dealer murdered his girlfriend in New York, and then took a bus to Miami. A clerk at the bus station in Miami noticed that the murderer was "in deep need" and asked him to come over to the ticket counter. The clerk spoke with the murderer and repeatedly assured him that God loved him. The murderer related to the clerk that he had grown up in the church and had become involved in drugs after leaving the church. He also admitted that he had killed someone. The clerk called his pastor, and a few minutes later the pastor, along with another pastor (a former police detective), arrived at the station. ...

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Posted:
  • January 2, 1995

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