|By Michael Stone|
And the children suffer: Louisiana Supreme Court rules priests don’t have to report child abuse.
In a disappointing decision that puts children at risk, the Louisiana Supreme Court rules that Catholic priests are not “mandatory reporters” of child abuse when administering sacramental confession.
The Oct. 28 ruling finds that laws which categorize priests as “mandatory reporters” of suspected child abuse do not apply to priests who discover such information while hearing confessions.
The ruling refers to article 609 A(1) of the Louisiana Children’s Code:
With respect to mandatory reporters: Notwithstanding any claim of privileged communication, any mandatory reporter who has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect or that abuse or neglect was a contributing factor in a child’s death shall report in accordance with Article 610.
... The Advocate reports the original case involves a young woman who told a Baton Rouge-area Catholic priest that a longtime church parishioner was sexually abusing her when she was only 14-years-old. The priest did nothing to stop or report the alleged abuse.
The new ruling protects the priest and the church from being held accountable for failing to protect children and report child abuse. In essence, the ruling places church dogma above the law.
As always, it is the children who suffer.