What happens when ecclesiastical leaders fail to report child abuse?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Victims of childhood abuse say Utah’s mandatory report laws don’t go far enough in protecting children.

Utah is a mandatory report state, meaning that any adult who is aware of abuse happening to a child is legally required to report it, but there are a few exceptions. 

When it comes to ecclesiastical leaders there are two exceptions

  1. If the perpetrator confesses abuse of a child to their ecclesiastical leader, the leader is not required to report to law enforcement. 
  2. If the dictates of the religion mandate that confessions not be shared, the leader is not required to report. 

But victims say the real issue is enforcement. Failure to report child abuse can result in fines and even jail time but examples of that enforcement are exceptionally rare.

Representative Angela Romero says her team is looking into the issue and plans to propose changes in the near future. 

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