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Child Abuse Reporting

The Missouri Supreme Court refused to rule that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom prohibits states from applying child abuse reporting laws to ministers who learn of incidents of child abuse.

Key point 4-08. Every state has a child abuse reporting law that requires persons designated as mandatory reporters to report known or reasonably suspected incidents of child abuse. Ministers are mandatory reporters in many states. Some states exempt ministers from reporting child abuse if they learned of the abuse in the course of a conversation protected by the clergy-penitent privilege. Ministers may face criminal and civil liability for failing to report child abuse.

The Missouri Supreme Court refused to rule that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom prohibits states from applying child abuse reporting laws to ministers who learn of incidents of child abuse in the course of communications protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Two pastors of a local church were served with subpoenas by a local prosecutor. The subpoenas ordered the pastors to appear at the prosecutor's ...

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