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Child Abuse Reporting

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a victim of child abuse could not sue ministers who knew of the abuse but failed to report it.

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.

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a victim of child abuse could not sue ministers who knew of the abuse but failed to report it, but he could sue the church for breaching its promise to pay his counseling bills.

A 36-year-old male (Eric) claimed that he was sexually molested by three priests some 20 years before when he was 16 years of age. He sued his former church and diocese on the basis of several theories of liability including ...

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