Remove Clergy Exemption from Utah’s Mandatory Reporting Laws
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According to Utah Code 62A chapter 4a section 403, “members of the clergy” are not required to report child abuse if it is confessed by the perpetrator. Various documents released by the Truth and Transparency Foundation (TTF), via MormonLeaks and FaithLeaks, show that clergy typically and intentionally avoid reporting abuse to law enforcement except in states where they are required to do so, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We, at the TTF, believe that any exemption of clergy members in mandatory reporting laws is an affront to the safety and well-being of abuse survivors and provides an environment where predators are enabled. Thus, we are proposing the exemption be removed entirely and that clergy members explicitly be required to report child abuse reported to them by any individual regardless of the reporter’s role in the abuse.
Some may claim this is an attack on religious liberty. We ask you to reconsider that argument and realize that the proposal does not oppress members of any religious denomination. In addition, some of the states with the highest rates of religious affiliation do not make any exemptions for clergy.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, all 50 states have similar mandatory reporting laws, yet only 12 make absolutely no exemption for clergy. These 12 states include Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. Like Utah, each of these states have majority populations who, according to Gallup, identify as religious.
We encourage all of our supporters to place continual pressure on their Utah representatives by signing this petition, as well as contacting them and asking them to sponsor the amendment. When doing so, please feel free to utilize scripts we have prepared here. You can find your representatives and their contact information here.
Our press release and communication with the Utah State Legislature can be found here.
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