Bill To Make Clergy Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters Advances Washington State Senate

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – A bill that would require clergy members to report child abuse or neglect in Washington state has cleared the Senate.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 5280 unanimously Tuesday.

Sponsored by Sen. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, the legislation would require clergy to report sexual abuse allegations to authorities unless the information was received in a context protected by clergy-penitent privilege such as a confessional setting.

Frame says Washington is one of only seven of states in the country that do not list clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect.

The bill heads next to the House for consideration.

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