D.C. attorney general proposes making clergy ‘mandated reporters’ of abuse

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Source: Washington Post

Fenit Nirappil Michelle Boorstein

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine is proposing legislation to add clergy to the list of “mandatory reporters” who must tell authorities about suspected child abuse or neglect, the latest fallout from a growing clergy sexual-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

If the bill is approved by the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), pastors, rabbis and other clergy would be required to report suspected abuse to police or to the Child and Family Services Agency, as well as the leaders and boards of directors of their own religious institutions.

Racine’s bill also would increase penalties for failing to report abuse and require all mandatory reporters — clergy, teachers, health-care workers and others — to attend training on their responsibilities under the law.

Mandatory reporters would face fines of as much as $2,500 and 180 days in jail upon the first failure to report. Survivor advocates have said training and penalties are an important part of making such requirements effective.

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