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  • Danielle
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    Danielle
    A mandated reporter is a person who is legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities. Teachers and psychologists are some examples of people that are required to report any known abuse. The laws are in place to prevent children from being abused and to end any possible abuse or neglect at the earliest possible stage.

    Historically, American law has protected a clergy-penitent privilege for a religious confessional that is similar to attorney-client privilege. In other words, clergy are not required to tell anyone about any abuse or rape they know about. Only seven states have laws requiring priests to report this information.

    Catholic priests are not the only people who hear people's confession in religious contexts. Scientology uses a process known as auditing which allegedly helps people "rid themselves of their spiritual disabilities." Like priests they are exempt from having to report any abuse they've learned about in a confession or similar process, and do not have to provide testimony in a court of law. 

    A lot of people have come forward to report their experience of sexual abuse within all kinds of religious institutions. Many times people in the church know what is going on, but do nothing to stop it. A bill that started making its way through the California legislature last year would have made CA the first since 1999 to require priests to choose between violating the law or violating the seal of the confessional.

    As predicted, virtually every religious institution fought back and the law was withdrawn. One bishop argued, "If any legislature can force believers to reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings shared with God in confession, then truly there is no area of human life that is free or safe from government. Another added, "Surely murder, theft, spousal abuse, child neglect and rape are terrible crimes. Would the state determine that priests are obligated to report these offenses to the authorities, should they hear of them in the confessional?"

    Um... sure, why not? 

    The argument is that forcing individuals to choose between the most sacrosanct part of their religious beliefs and imprisonment is what the Bill of Rights was entirely meant to avoid. Do you agree, and if so do you agree to the point where that applies to clergy and confessionals from ALL religious denominations? For instance, if I said I shouldn't have to report child molestation that I know is occurring because of my devout Pastafarianism and belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would that be acceptable? And if you don't agree, explain why you think the 1st amendment does not apply to rape or child abuse.

    (Posting in the Religion forum to see if perspectives differ from the Politics forum.) 

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Danielle
    I think mandatory reporting for priests is more likely to cause harm than achieve anything of substance. 
  • Utanity
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    --> @Danielle
    And if you don't agree, explain why you think the 1st amendment does not apply to rape or child abuse.
    Very good thought out post and all churches are now feeling the pressure to stop hiding such obseen crimes. In the USA you have the 1st amendment which covers the right to practice religion. It is a shame that these people talk only about their religious rights without thinking about civil rights.

  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Utanity
    And if you don't agree, explain why you think the 1st amendment does not apply to rape or child abuse.
    Very good thought out post and all churches are now feeling the pressure to stop hiding such obseen crimes. In the USA you have the 1st amendment which covers the right to practice religion. It is a shame that these people talk only about their religious rights without thinking about civil rights.
    We don't have the first amendment in Australia. It does not apply to us.  

    I think Churches ought to be exposing these obscene crimes.  I think that is a no-brainer.  Nevertheless, similar to the legal professional privilege which exists in order to ensure that people can speak freely in order to obtain proper legal advice, clergy professional privilege exists in order to protect spiritual advice. That some relegate spiritual advice lower than legal advice and or any other right is a matter of prejudice not of equity. 

    "civil rights" consist of every right including legal, religious, and everything else.  

    In Australia our legal system DOES NOT recognize the separation of church and state.   It clearly puts the church in submission to the State.  The Church must comply with EVERY political instruction of the government. 
  • Danielle
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    --> @Tradesecret
    I think mandatory reporting for priests is more likely to cause harm than achieve anything of substance. 

    Because? 
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Danielle
    Because pedo's will be less inclined to speak to priests who will dob them in.  Just like in Australia where a dodgy lawyer gave her clients up the police - now crooks are not giving any information to their lawyers.  Less and less people are pleading guilty. 

    Now the relatively small number of people who confess will have even less incentive to confess - and therefore less people speaking into their lives to try and get them to do the right thing.  

    Hence the children are still left at the mercy of child molesters. 

    It is madness.  Really it is only going to target priests - by people wanting to catch them out.  


  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Utanity
    A very lucid post Mikey.

    Those English lessons are paying dividends.
  • ethang5
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    --> @Danielle
    Before I answer Danielle, I would like to know if you think the same requirements should apply to lawyers and their clients.

    It seems to me that the only pedophiles who would seek out a religious authority to "confess" are ones dissatisfied with their criminal conduct. This law targets only the least vile of these criminals.

    We just need common sense. Known homosexuals should not have unfettered access to male children. We already do this for men (assumed hetero) and little girls.

    And no, I am not saying that homosexuals are pedophiles, but a sexual attraction to a certain gender is reason enough for the restrictions. Why else are men restricted from women rest rooms? Hetero men are not up in arms about the public's assumption that little girls need to be protected from them. Why should homo men feel picked on?
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Danielle
    Clergy Privilege....Is just a power trip....As is Scientology.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @zedvictor4
    lol! Without a shred of evidence. 
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Just comment.

    Though the reason that a lot of discussions are ongoing is because there is no shred of real evidence.

    And being given the right to pervert the course of justice and then using that right, seems like a power trip to me.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @zedvictor4
    How is it perverting the course of justice? 
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Tradesecret
    In relation to the above issue.  Anyone withholding pertinent information could be accused of deliberately perverting the course....How the Law might actually interpret things is one for my learned colleagues to quibble over.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @zedvictor4
    In relation to the above issue.  Anyone withholding pertinent information could be accused of deliberately perverting the course....How the Law might actually interpret things is one for my learned colleagues to quibble over.
    People in our society have lots of information about lots of things.  

    Some people have legitimate and lawful reasons to withhold such information. That is not perverting the course of justice.  

    How people obtain information is important.  If people obtain in it ways that are legitimate to providing it to proper authorities then they should. 

    If people only obtain the information in the process of a privileged conversation then they do not have the right - to give it to someone else.  And it is not perverting the course of justice not to hand it over.   

    Unlike you, I do not think the ends justifies the means.  I happen to think the way we get somewhere is just as important as the destination.  

    I call that justice and equity.  

    If one person's rights are violated because it was done in a good cause, then that sets a precedent for every other person in the future.  I think that puts us on very dangerous ground. 

    In Australia recently a barrister was seconded by the police to grass on her clients. Her clients who were very serious drug lords in Melbourne. She provided lots of privileged information to the police and it ended up putting lots of people into prison. Finally, what she did came out - and the Courts have been very scathing to her. She has destroyed people's faith in the legal system completely - people have lost faith in the police.  Crooks no longer give information to their lawyers - they don't trust them. And now - because she - the lawyer who gave up this privileged information has effectively been the one found guilty of perverting the course of justice - and the police as well and the courts are going to eventually see all of the crooks go free because of her foolish conduct. 

    The police thought the ends justified the means.  They were wrong. What happened means that no one will trust the police for a long time.  

    I think perverting the course of justice is extremely serious. The law must be equally applied to all - and no one should be above the law.  Yet, this includes the lowest crooks as well as the most innocent victims in our society.  And if the lowest crooks are going to be treated unequally then the system is corrupt.  personally, if the law gets to that point - then there is no need for any legal system except a gun.  And the strongest will survive - and then there will be no question of perverting the course of justice - it will be just whoever has the largest guns.  
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @ethang5 @Tradesecret
    Nope...They will go free because of the foolishness of the Law.


    Mr Ethan.....Putting theistic allegiances aside for a moment..... I would be interested to hear your conservative critique on the above Australian legal issue.

    Is it sensible or reasonable to free criminals.....Simply because a barrister was prepared to put their wellbeing on the line and tell the truth?

    Call me a liberal if you like Mr E.
  • ethang5
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    --> @zedvictor4
    Is it sensible or reasonable to free criminals.....Simply because a barrister was prepared to put their wellbeing on the line and tell the truth?
    The answer is different depending on whether you are asking a legal or a moral question.

    Legally, the law must be followed, or there is no purpose to the law. She was not supposed to divulge the conversations of her clients to the police.

    But is following the law in this case moral?

    If she could no longer perform her job legally, she should have quit as a lawyer. She broke the law, and as a consequence, all legal options are bad. While I see your moral case, it would harm society more, and for longer, if the law is not followed.

    The police are at fault here too.
  • Danielle
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    --> @Tradesecret
    Because pedo's will be less inclined to speak to priests who will dob them in. 

    So? Their confessions translate to zero penalties anyway, so why does it matter? 
  • Danielle
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    --> @ethang5
    Before I answer Danielle, I would like to know if you think the same requirements should apply to lawyers and their clients.

    I did not give my opinion so far, but no I do not think the same standard should apply for lawyers. We have a constitutional right to a lawyer acting in the best legal interest of the accused.  The attorney-client privilege encourages clients to make "full and frank" disclosures to their attorneys, who are then better able to provide candid advice and effective legal representation. We have these rights because it is important for the criminally accused to get a fair trial. We do not have a right for people (including clergy) to keep secrets just because we really want them to. 

    I agree that people who confess their sins probably recognize those sins were wrong, but they should still be held culpable under the law if applicable.

    I completely disagree with your misguided perspective that "known homosexuals should not have unfettered access to children." There is no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men. The reason gay men get offended by this  myth is that it has been debunked over and over, yet it keeps being repeated by uninformed people which perpetuates bigotry, discrimination and homophobia. Let me know if you want all the citations and links to research disproving the idea that gay men are for some reason inclined to sleep with children. 

    And note we do not keep hetero men away from little girls, although maybe we should considering the overwhelming majority of children and women who are sexually abused get raped by men they know and are close to. Men are restricted from women's bathrooms because women feel more comfortable having privacy away from the opposite sex. It has nothing to do with rape.  





  • ethang5
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    --> @Danielle
    I did not give my opinion so far, but no I do not think the same standard should apply for lawyers. 
    Why?

    We have a constitutional right to a lawyer acting in the best legal interest of the accused.  The attorney-client privilege encourages clients to make "full and frank" disclosures to their attorneys, who are then better able to provide candid advice and effective legal representation. We have these rights because it is important for the criminally accused to get a fair trial.
    But do not these good points all equally apply to the spiritual representation of the accused?

    We do not have a right for people (including clergy) to keep secrets just because we really want them to. 
    But the clergy is keeping secrets for the exact same reason lawyers do so. I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time believing you're being serious.

    I agree that people who confess their sins probably recognize those sins were wrong, but they should still be held culpable under the law if applicable.
    Why should they not be held culpable if the person across from them is a lawyer??

    I completely disagree with your misguided perspective that "known homosexuals should not have unfettered access to children." There is no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
    Rates have nothing to do with it. And gay pedophiles DO molest male children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

    The reason gay men get offended by this  myth...
    You brought up the myth, not me.

    Let me know if you want all the citations and links to research disproving the idea that gay men are for some reason inclined to sleep with children. 
    I did not allow men unfettered access to my daughters growing up. "Rates" had nothing to do with it. Heterosexual men are attracted to females. That was enough to justify the caution. The same principle should apply to homosexual men.

    And note we do not keep hetero men away from little girls, although maybe we should...
    Lol. Thanks.

    ...considering the overwhelming majority of children and women who are sexually abused get raped by men they know and are close to.
    Not all sexual abuse is rape. Last time I checked, "men" still included homosexual men.

    Men are restricted from women's bathrooms because women feel more comfortable having privacy away from the opposite sex. It has nothing to do with rape.  
    Lol. OK. I need say nothing here. The Political correctness is so incorrect, I don't need to.
  • Tradesecret
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    --> @Danielle
    What do you mean? 
  • Danielle
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    --> @Tradesecret
    You said if priests are required to turn people over to the authorities, people would not confess illegal sins.

    I'm asking why it matters if they don't confess their sins. They are not held culpable for the illegal activity anyway.
  • Danielle
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    --> @ethang5
    I didn't give my opinion in the OP because I wanted to hear from other people first.

    There is no such thing as "spiritual rights" under the law. There is such thing as the right to a fair trial under the law, which is why attorney-client privilege is not the same as clergy privilege. It is completely incorrect to say that priests keep secrets for the same reason lawyers do. Lawyers are legally obligated to provide the best possible legal counsel that has a tangible influence in the physical world; they are managed and regulated by society's standards. Priests provide subjective spiritual guidance that has no legal implications and no oversight whatsoever. That's why so many Catholic priests allowed their collogues to continue raping and molesting little children for decades with no repercussions. 

    We have a criminal justice system that exists to enforce the law. If someone's child is molested or killed, I doubt the parent would feel justice was served by the perpetrator doing some charity work, saying a few Hail Marys or whatever else the priest told them might absolve them of their sin. The victims would want to seek justice under the law which they deserve -- so there is a clear difference between the role of lawyers and the role of priests. Priests are not qualified to provide legal advice because they are not proven experts in the law of the land that governs people of all faiths. 

    I noticed you did not answer my question: if I said I shouldn't have to report child molestation that I know is occurring because of my devout Pastafarianism and belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would that be acceptable?



  • Danielle
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    --> @ethang5
    I decided to create a separate post to address your misguided views on gay men.

    Studies show there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because he often finds adults of either sex repulsive, and often molests children of both sexes.

    Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may "regress" to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Researchers found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships. The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute reports that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends, and the majority are men married to women

    Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside bathrooms waiting to snatch children or whatever other nonsense the far-right peddles to fear monger and scare ignorant people that are easy to trick. Instead most pedophiles are people who seem normal and trustworthy; that is why parents do not suspect anything and give them access to their children.

    But I digress. I hope you find it in your heart to do some research and accept that your beliefs about gay men are totally invalid and predicated on bigotry and discrimination that is not substantiated by the facts. 





  • ethang5
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    --> @Danielle
    There is no such thing as "spiritual rights" under the law.
    I said nothing about spiritual rights. I said spiritual representation. The government provides spiritual representation at prisons and in the military.

    There is such thing as the right to a fair trial under the law, which is why attorney-client privilege is not the same as clergy privilege. It is completely incorrect to say that priests keep secrets for the same reason lawyers do.

    The law may treat lawyers and priests differently, but that may not be the reason lawyers and priests keep secrets. The point is, and the question you dodged, is, "Why should they not be held culpable for their crimes if the person across from them is a lawyer?"

    You answered the question, "Why is a lawyer allowed to keep their secrets?" But that is not the question I asked.

    Lawyers are legally obligated to provide the best possible legal counsel that has a tangible influence in the physical world; they are managed and regulated by society's standards. Priests provide subjective spiritual guidance that has no legal implications and no oversight whatsoever.
    This has nothing to do with why a criminal should be allowed to keep his crime a secret.

    That's why so many Catholic priests allowed their collogues to continue raping and molesting little children for decades with no repercussions. 
    Nope. So many Catholic priests allowed their collogues to continue raping and molesting little boys for decades because they to were homosexual pedophiles. Being regulated by societies standards would not have made a bit of difference.

    We have a criminal justice system that exists to enforce the law. If someone's child is molested or killed, I doubt the parent would feel justice was served by the perpetrator doing some charity work, saying a few Hail Marys or whatever else the priest told them might absolve them of their sin.
    Would the parent feel better if the crime never came to light because a lawyer is allowed to keep it secret and the criminal did nothing at all in terms of penance?

    The victims would want to seek justice under the law which they deserve -- so there is a clear difference between the role of lawyers and the role of priests.
    How would the victims seek justice if the crimes are kept secret? Basically, you don't want priests to be able to do what lawyers already do, because you have an antireligious bias.

    Priests are not qualified to provide legal advice because they are not proven experts in the law of the land that governs people of all faiths. 
    Keeping knowledge of a crime secret is not legal advice and one needs no legal training to keep a secret.

    I noticed you did not answer my question: if I said I shouldn't have to report child molestation that I know is occurring because of my devout Pastafarianism and belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would that be acceptable?
    No, but not for the reason you think. I agree with people who place their religion above the state law. I do too. And I am willing and ready to suffer the cost of that belief. But FGM is not a recognized official religion that is entitled to protection by the state.

    If a person was to show that a real existing religion to which he belonged, believed that it's adherents did not have to report child molestation that they knew was occurring, I would judge him less harshly than a person like a catholic priest whose religion had no such prohibition. Follow your religion if you must, but the state will judge you on their terms.

    My issue with you is the incoherent imbalance between lawyers and priests. Either no crime should be able to be kept secret, or Priests deserve the same protections as lawyers. As a father, telling me that my child's killer went free because he confessed to his lawyer instead of his priest would not be justice to me.
  • ethang5
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    --> @Danielle
    Studies show there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because he often finds adults of either sex repulsive, and often molests children of both sexes.
    Bolderdash. A heterosexual man would find any sexual contact with another male, regardless of age, repulsive. I call bs on this study.

    Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may "regress" to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations.
    More bs. Many, many otherwise "normal" adult guys would sleep with a physically mature 16 year old female if they could get away with it. It has nothing to do with regression or stress.

    Researchers found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships. The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute reports that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends, and the majority are men married to women. 
    Word play. The majority of pedophiles ARE men, and the majority of men ARE married to women.

    Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside bathrooms waiting to snatch children or whatever other nonsense the far-right peddles to fear monger and scare ignorant people that are easy to trick.
    More deceptive word play. Male child molesters who molest boys ARE gay. We know most child molesters are not gay, because most men are not gay.

    Instead most pedophiles are people who seem normal and trustworthy; that is why parents do not suspect anything and give them access to their children.
    Most child molesters are easy to figure out if the parents paid attention and weren't fooled by insipid political correctness that tries to cancel reality. Most children are never molested. Molesters look for children of poor, uneducated, uninterested parents with loopy progressive  ideas about parenting.

    But I digress. I hope you find it in your heart to do some research and accept that your beliefs about gay men are totally invalid and predicated on bigotry and discrimination that is not substantiated by the facts.
    I don't subscribe to PC nonsense, and I never allow it to cancel reality I see before my eyes. Gay men are just like straight men. That is how I know them. They are no more honest or saintly than straight men. And homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is nothing to be cheered, or congratulated. It does not bestow virtue. It just is.