US States Push for Clergy Accountability in Abuse Cases

Just as the bishops convened in Rome, Senator Jerry Hill introduced a bill in the California legislature that would classify members of the clergy as mandatory reporters. The bill (SB 360) would amend the state’s Health and Safety Code and Penal Code to remove exceptions for clergy who acquire information through “penitential communications,” thus requiring them to report all incidents or suspicions of abuse to law enforcement, regardless of how they came by the information. Failure to do so would result in misdemeanor charges against the clergy member.

In Pennsylvania, on the heels of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, State Representative Mark Rozzi introduced the “Real Deal” bill, which would eliminate statutes of limitation on child sexual abuse cases. A similar bill has been introduced by Delegate C.T. Wilson in the Maryland General Assembly.

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