In more than 40 states in the U.S., clergy members are not required to report sex abuse confessed by abusers during confessionals. The following states – New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia — mandated that the clergy must act as mandatory reporters if sins of abuse arise in confessionals. In other states such as Connecticut, Indiana, and Tennessee, some priests broke the confidentiality rules between priest and confessor to report abuse, but it is unclear if current law requires the reporting. Recently, Utah State Representative Angela Romero drafted a bill requiring clergy leaders of any religious affiliation to report abuse.
Patient-doctor and attorney-client privileges protect the individual’s privacy when discussing sensitive issues. Between the priest and penitent, the same holds true, but this loophole fails to protect abuse victims and survivors, so lawmakers want to make changes to this confidential arrangement. Very few states require clergy members to act as mandatory reporters of abuse, but gradually this may change to accommodate the victims and survivors and not the abusers.
If you or someone you love faced the trauma of clergy abuse, our compassionate New Jersey clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar will guide you in filing a claim. Please call us today at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We proudly represent clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide from our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey.