Advocates are calling a bill making priests and other clergy mandatory reporters of sexual abuse a first step.
The bill that passed the Assembly includes a provision missing from the original draft. The original would have required priests report child abuse they hear about during the act of confession. The current version keeps those conversations private.
“This exception swallows the rule,” said Jennifer Freeman, Smith’s attorney. “Just like for lawyers, if we hear that someone is about to commit a crime and is in danger of committing a future crime, we must come forward. We can’t hide behind the attorney-client privilege.”