WASHINGTON (AP) — The attorney general of Washington, D.C., is proposing legislation to make District clergy members “mandated reporters” of suspected child abuse or neglect.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the proposed legislation by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine would also increase penalties for failing to report abuse.
All District adults are required to tell authorities about the suspected abuse of a child younger than 16. However, mandatory reporters must also inform authorities about threats and allegations of abuse, neglect or prostitution.
The bill would require clergy to report suspected abuse to police, the Child and Family Services Agency and the leaders of their religious institutions. The bill says clergy wouldn’t be required to report abuse if the abuse was revealed during “confession or penitential communication.”