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The Liability of Knowing but Not Acting

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 Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the felony conviction of a priest who worked in an administrative position with an archdiocese for "endangering the welfare of a child" for failing to take steps to protect children from a priest who had molested children. In 1992, a Catholic priest (the "defendant") was appointed Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where he served for 12 years, until 2004. As ...

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Posted:
  • August 19, 2015

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