Breaking Catholic Seal of Confession to Report Sex Crimes

NBC News Bay Area

June 26, 2019

By Pete Suratos

One of the largest settlements has been reached for sexual abuse cases involving a diocese in the North Bay.

The news comes on the heels of Catholic Church officials calling on state lawmakers to reconsider a bill that would penalize priests for not reporting the sexual abuse of minors told to them during confessions.

A letter was sent by the president of the Catholic League calling the bill unjust and even threatening to sue.

The bill would penalize priests for not coming forward with sexual abuse claims involving minors told to them in the confessional by a coworker or another priest.

While the Catholic League believes priests should be held accountable for their actions, the bill — if passed — would violate a sacrament of the church.

The letter comes as lawyers for two brothers sexually abused by a clinical director for a Sonoma Valley boys home reached a $6.8 million settlement. The home is affiliated with the Santa Rosa Diocese of the Catholic Church. It’s the largest single settlement in more than a quarter-century for the area.

As of May, the diocese has paid out more than $30 million in settlements for clergy abuse.

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