A Church’s Responsibility to Report Sex Abuse by a Church Member


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In Pennsylvania, certain classes of professionals are required to report reasonably suspected cases of child sex abuse. Medical providers, school teachers, and members of the clergy are mandatory reporters under Pennsylvania’s child sex abuse reporting law.

Church organizations and parochial schools must have policies in place so that all employees know what their duties are with respect to reporting suspected cases of child abuse, including sexual abuse or molestation. Priests, teachers, and school/church administrators must be aware of the steps they must take in order to report a suspected case. Liability often results when the church or school fails to have a policy and/or fails to train its employees about the policy.

For example, a priest or school teacher may abuse a child. Other employees or students may become aware of the abuse. However, without a clear policy about what is expected, those employees/students do not know what to do and the abuse continues.

In some cases, a report may be made to church or school administrators. Those administrators may not know what to do and often do not know what investigation should be done.  Sometimes, out of fear of the repercussions, administrators intentionally sweep the allegations under the rug. Nothing is done and the abuser continues the abuse and may even begin abusing others. This type of situation demonstrates how the lack of a sex abuse reporting policy results in continued abuse and eventually, civil liability.

Related Church Sex Abuse Legal Articles:

Priest & Church Member Sex Abuse Lawyer, Representation by a Former Prosecutor

Former sex crimes unit prosecutor, Brian Kent, has devoted his entire career to helping victims of sex abuse find justice. For a free, confidential consultation about a church priest/clergy sex abuse case, call Click To Call.

Mr. Kent’s law firm has the resources and experience to handle matters outside the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, and the firm’s sex abuse lawyers can be admitted on a special basis in other states such as New York.

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