Clergy required to report child sexual abuse told in confession under bill

Clergy required to report child sexual abuse told in confession under bill
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Members of the clergy would be required by law to report instances of child abuse under a new measure introduced Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Reps. Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, announced the bill in a news conference, along with another measure that would abolish the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases.

“As a survivor of childhood rape, this is long overdue,” @SenTaylor says at a news conference announcing two bills aiming to help end child sexual abuse, including by clergy. #news3now

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) August 7, 2019

The “Clergy Mandatory Reporter Act” would require that members of the clergy report all instances of child abuse, including sexual abuse, to law enforcement.

Currently, clergy members are included in the list of those required to report abuse, but are given an exception under the law for information “he or she receives solely through confidential communications made to him or her privately or in a confessional setting… under the disciplines, tenets or traditions of his or her religion.”

.@ChrisTaylorWI introduces a bill that would require that clergy become mandatory reporters of child abuse. She says it’s the first time the bill has been proposed. “This bill ends this big loophole,” she says. #news3now

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) August 7, 2019

The “Child Victims Act” would remove the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases, which would allow victims to pursue legal action against perpetrators after the age of 35. The bill would also create a window for any victim who was previously not allowed to pursue that action under the law to do so within three years of the passage of the bill.

There is no statute of limitations for criminal charges against someone for sexual abuse of a child.

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