Jump directly to the content

Confidential and Privileged Communications

A Washington state appeals court ruled that a youth pastor's confession to a church elder that he had molested members of the church youth group was protected by the clergy-penitent privilege.

Washington
State:
Key point 3-07.2. In order for the clergy-penitent privilege to apply there must be a communication that is made in confidence. This generally means that there are no other persons present besides the minister and counselee who can overhear the communication, and that there is an expectation that the conversation will be kept secret.
Key point 3-07.3. In order for the clergy-penitent privilege to apply there must be a communication that is made to a minister.
Key point 3-08.05. In most states a counselee can waive the clergy-penitent privilege by disclosing the privileged communication to someone other than the minister. In some states the minister also may waive the privilege.
The Clergy-Penitent Privilege

A Washington state appeals court ruled that a youth pastor's confession to a church elder that he had molested members of the church youth group was protected by the clergy-penitent ...

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

Related ResourcesView All

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.
Managing the Legal Risks of Lay Counseling
Managing the Legal Risks of Lay Counseling
Develop specific policies and procedures that protect your church, lay caregivers, and those who receive care.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws
State by state laws to report child abuse.