California lawmakers are not ready to pass a bill that would require members of the clergy to interrupt the seal of confession if they research on child sexual abuse.
Sen. Jerry Hill, who wrote the suggestion, said he “hit the pause button” on Senate Bill 360 due to the fact he became aware that it would no longer skip.
“This issue remains essential to me, and I will continue to champion it in the desire that my colleagues can come together on regulation. I strongly accept as true with that for any institution self-policing and self-investigation are not effective methods to fight alleged abuse, as our own nation Legislature has found,” Hill said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
“To be clear, I even have positioned SB 360 on hold. The invoice is on pause, it has now not been withdrawn,” he stated.
Originally, SB 360 sought to do away with an exemption in California regulation that allowed individuals of the clergy to keep away from criminal liability for no longer reporting child sex abuse found out of below seal of confession.
The invoice turned into amended in committee so that the law would handiest practice to confession from both a church employee or a member of the clergy.
“Under this bill, if a teacher, instruct, or janitor confessed that she or he had abused a toddler, a priest has no responsibility to report the conduct to law enforcement,” consistent with an analysis provided to the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, which was set to check the invoice. “But if that instructor, train or janitor took place to paintings on the Catholic parish where the priest also worked, the responsibility to record could be precipitated. Additionally, the confession of any priest would continually cause the duty to report.”
The evaluation said that the bill, in its current form, “calls into question the neutrality of the proposed regulation.”
“Why to have to some abusers be protected and now not others?” the evaluation said.
In addition to civil liberty questions, the evaluation also raised practical issues approximately SB 360.
Failure to file child intercourse abuse is a misdemeanor offense; breaking the Catholic seal of confession is grounds for fast excommunication.
“It is hard to assume what priest could pick out to be excommunicated in preference to serve a maximum sentence of six months in county jail,” the evaluation stated.
Hill’s suggestion drew emotional testimony at a hearing in April, wherein dozens covered up to talk in support of the bill, including Kameron Torres, who stated he turned into abused two times at the same time as growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness community.
The invoice additionally had the support of several agencies which include California Civil Liberties Advocacy, which argued that children ought to be afforded identical safety beneath the California Child Abuse Neglect Reporting Act.
The bill was adversarial by means of several organizations, including the California Catholic Conference, which argued “there may be no proof that we’re aware of to signify that there has ever been a trouble with clergy failing to make mandatory child abuse reviews because of statistics obtained for the duration of the sacrament of confession.”
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