Jump directly to the Content

Pastor Allowed to Testify at a Man’s Sexual Abuse Trial

Appeals court determined that the pastor acted in the role of a friend and the clergy-penitent privilege did not apply.

Key point 3-07.4. In order for the clergy-penitent privilege to apply, there must be a communication that is made to a minister acting in a professional capacity as a spiritual adviser.

A Michigan appeals court ruled that a trial court did not err in allowing a pastor to testify concerning a criminal defendant’s confession.

The defendant communicated with his pastor “as a friend”

A young girl was repeatedly sexually molested by her stepfather (the “defendant”) beginning when she was 7 years old. The jury found the defendant guilty, and trial court sentenced the defendant to “three concurrent sentences of 25 to 50 years’ imprisonment,” according to the disposition of the court.

The defendant appealed, arguing that his pastor should not have been allowed to disclose a confession he had made to him. The pastor testified that the defendant admitted ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Sex Offenders in the Church
Sex Offenders in the Church
Legal and safety concerns to address when dealing with a sex offender.
Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan
Child Sexual Abuse Response Plan
Put a plan into action to prevent child sexual abuse from happening in your church.