Bills requiring clergy to disclose abuse won’t be considered

Feb 28, 2023, 9:06 AM

Several bills that require clergy to report child abuse won't be heard in Utah's legislature this y...

File: Inside the Utah Capitol Rotunda, February 2, 2022. (Paul Nelson)

(Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY  —  Several bills that require clergy to report child abuse won’t be heard in Utah’s legislature this year. 

Sen. President Stuart Adams, R-Salt Lake City, acknowledged that everyone wants to stop child abuse. But he said he believes mandatory reporting would force clergy into a difficult situation, namely, either violating the freedom of religion or introducing the chance that the clergy member could be punished.

“I think they have a first amendment right of religious protections and I don’t think I want to put a clergy in a spot where they have to be excommunicated or thrown in jail,” said Adams.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, introduced H.B.115 Child Abuse Reporting Revisions. It would have deleted provisions that exempt a member of the clergy from being required to report child abuse and neglect. The House Rules Committee read the proposal in January, but it went no further.

S.B.72,  sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Pitcher, D-Salt Lake City, would have modified the clergy exemption related to reporting child abuse. The bill provided this exemption if the clergy member had reason to believe that abuse or neglect was ongoing or likely to occur again. S.B.72 went no further than a reading by the Senate Rules Committee in mid-January.

Correlation between anonymous reporting and clergy abuse bills

Majority Leader Ann Millner, R-Ogden, argued reporting goes down when abusers can’t go to the clergy anonymously.

“Most of the research shows that if people aren’t able to come to them, for fear of being reported on, they’re not able to provide the help and support they need,” said Milner. “In fact, the reporting goes down.”

Adams said he and other leaders met with a “broad-based” group of religious organizations before deciding not to move the bills forward. However, those religious groups weren’t specified. 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Race, Religion + Social Justice

sign says "trans lives matter," the sign was for a protest about how slc school district was implem...

Heather Peterson

Implementation of new Utah bathroom law causes confusion in SLC School District

A new Utah bathroom law that takes effect on May 1 is at the center of some confusion about what schools do and don't need to do.

2 days ago

Media representatives get a chance to tour the Layton Temple on Monday, April 15, 2024....

Britt Johnson

Preparations underway for Layton, Utah Temple open house

Church leaders and community members said they're looking forward to sharing the spirit of the Layton Temple.

6 days ago

Yolanda Francisco with restoring ancestral winds speaks about the new helpline aimed at helping nat...

Eric Cabrera

Sexual assault helpline for Native American communities launched in Utah

The helpline is intended as a starting point from which to build trust between the Native communities of Utah and the state.

13 days ago

a sign in spanish lists requirements to vote, latino voters are a target for misinformation...

Associated Press

Latino voters are coveted by both major parties. They also are a target for election misinformation

Given the high stakes of a presidential election year, experts expect a surge of misinformation, targeting Spanish-speaking, Latino voters.

13 days ago

church of jesus christ of latter-day saints construction on temple square illustrates growth of mem...

Becky Bruce

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints reports membership growth

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the growth of the faith in 2023 means there are now more than 17.2 million members.

13 days ago

President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church, records as message to be shown during the Sun...

Devin Oldroyd

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announces 15 new temples

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the construction of 15 new temples Sunday.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Bills requiring clergy to disclose abuse won’t be considered