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Child Abuse Reporting

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that church leaders who failed to report allegations of child abuse could not be sued.

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 New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that church leaders who failed to report allegations of child abuse could not be sued by the victims on the basis of their failure to report.

A female church member sought spiritual guidance from elders of her church because of marital problems she was experiencing, which included physical and verbal abuse. In response to her requests, the elders provided the couple with spiritual advice ...

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

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