Mo. Bill Proposes Criminalizing Clergy Sexual Exploitation

CBS St. Louis

By: Christina Turner, State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (MDN) – Missouri lawmakers considered a bill that would criminalize clergy sexual exploitation.

House Bill 1346 would create a class C felony of sexual exploitation by or of a clergy person. The bill would prevent any sexual conduct between a parishioner and religious leader within 120 days of first advisement.

Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, is the bill sponsor and vice-chair of the House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety. She says the bill was inspired by a woman whose pastor took advantage of her in the aftermath of a difficult pregnancy. After telling her husband what happened, the victim went to the police.

“The police of course said, ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do, it was consensual,’” Conway said. “Well her response was, ‘Well, it was consensual because she was so unduly influenced by this man.”

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