January 28, 2006

Bill requires clergy to report abuse

The Virginian-Pilot

By DEIRDRE FERNANDES, The Virginian-Pilot
January 28, 2006

RICHMOND — Clergy would have to report child abuse cases to authorities if a bill that barely escaped a Senate committee Friday becomes law.

Two days after police charged a Newport News pastor with contributing to the delinquency of three minor girls and obstructing justice by urging someone else to keep quiet about the alleged sexual abuse, the Senate debated whether to require clergy to speak out.

Under the bill, ministers, priests, rabbis and imams would be placed in the same category as teachers, doctors, police officers and social workers who are required to call in cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. Those who fail to do so within 72 hours could be fined up to $500.

SB253 passed the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee by an 8-6 vote.

The purpose is, “to have more people looking out for our children,” said Sen. Janet D. Howell, D-Fairfax, a bill sponsor.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2006 07:31 AM