Court: Law can shield priests from reporting abuse evidence

Houston Chronicle

Kevin Mcgill, Associated Press Friday, October 28, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s Supreme Court has ruled that a priest is not required by law to notify authorities after hearing evidence of abuse from a child making a religious confession.

Friday’s ruling deals with a section of Louisiana law requiring health workers, teachers, clergy and others to report evidence of child abuse to authorities. A lower court held the law unconstitutional because it would force priests to violate their religious beliefs by reporting information from confessions.

But the Supreme Court ruling analyzed the law and concluded that religious leaders are exempt from the law when they hear evidence of child abuse in a “sacramental confession.”

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