Thursday, October 24, 2013

Louisiana Court Rules Catholic Priest Not Mandatory Reporter For Sexual Abuse Via What Heard During Confession

There are actually two interesting issues the Louisiana 3d Circuit Court of Appeals rules on here.

First is the issue if a priest is mandatory reporter of sexual abuse under Louisiana law for matters he hears in a Confessional ( or for that matter in other confidential traditional clergy / layperson venues )  .

The court in Parents of Minor Child v. Charlet, (LA App., Oct. 21, 2013) basically answers the Priest is not an mandatory reporter in this situation and thus in this case there was not private or civil right of action for a failure to report.

The case involved  a now deceased  funeral home owner ( the alleged abuser ) , a minor child and her parents , the priest , and the Diocese of Baton Rouge.  Religion Clause took note of the case here.

The full opinion is here and is worth reading . The Concurrence is interesting because there is a lot of history that goes into the first time such a issue was heard in the United States ( way back in 1813 ) .

Of added significance was the other cause of action the Plaintiffs brought that that court also threw out. That is a alleged tort of " negligent advice " that the plantiffs allege was given to the child during the confession.The Court pretty much affirmed they were not going there and failed to recognize any sort of Tort for malpractice on bad spiritual advice.  Thus the case against the Priest and the Diocese of Baton Rouge was thrown out for no cause of action on both grounds.

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