The bill would extend to a range of positions and professions across church, state, and private insitutions, but provides explicit exemptions for the confessional, and priests would not be required to report abuse they learned about in that context.
Excerpts from story as reported in CNA (Catholic News Agency):
.- A law has been proposed in the District of Columbia which will broaden the classification of those required to report instances of child abuse or neglect. The bill would apply to clergy but make exceptions for the sacrament of confession.
“Teachers, health professionals, and clergy have a special responsibility to protect children, but far too often abuse goes unreported or is covered up,” said Attorney General Karl Racine in a statement to the media.
“To help stop child abuse in the District, this bill requires more adults to report it and trains them on how to spot it.”
Currently, everyone over the age of 18 in the District of Columbia is required to report suspected or known abuse of a child under the age of 16 to police. Mandatory reporters, however, are subject to enhanced requirements, and can receive thousands of dollars of fines and up to six months in prison for failing to report cases of abuse.
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