Northern Utah lawmaker wants to force clergy to report confessions of child sex abuse to police

The Salt Lake City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt lake City Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah law currently says a perpetrator’s confession of abuse to a member of the clergy can remain confidential.

But according to a report from Fox13Now, a bill is being drafted in the Utah State Legislature to remove that exception.

“I have a huge issue when those religious institutions aren’t obligated to report child sex abuse,” said Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City. “I want to take that privilege away.”

Rep. Romero said her bill would make it mandatory that ecclesiastical leaders report any disclosure of child sex abuse to law enforcement to launch an investigation.

“My concern is getting somebody off the street that shouldn’t be on the street, regardless of if they confessed to a clergy member or regardless if someone they know told a clergy member,” she said. “Regardless of what that religious institution is, it needs to be investigated by law enforcement.”

Other states have explored eliminating the exception as religious institutions have grappled with abuse scandals.

“Within our predominant religion here, within Catholicism, within all these institutions,” Rep. Romero said. “People covered it up.”

Read the full story here:

Written by BEN WINSLOW,

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2019, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

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