“Senate Bill 5280, and its companion bill in the state House (HB 1098), would make it illegal for clergy not to report sexual abuse allegations to authorities unless the information came in the form of a confession,” explains Wilson Criscione reporting for InvestigateWest.
Watch Sara Young, a survivor of child sex abuse as a Jehovah’s Witness, testify on behalf of the bill.
Currently, Washington is one of a handful of states in the country that do not list clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect at all.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, who said she was motivated to change the law after reading InvestigateWest’s reporting last year examining alleged sexual assault cover-ups by Jehovah’s Witnesses and Washington’s relatively weak state laws regarding clergy’s reporting requirements.
Read the full details via InvestigateWest:
WA Lawmakers Propose Bill Requiring Clergy To Report Child Abuse, Citing InvestigateWest Reporting
Washington lawmakers propose bill requiring clergy to report child abuse
How Washington State Law Lets Clergy Hide Child Sexual Abuse
Jehovah’s Witnesses Covered Up Child Sexual Abuse In Washington State For Decades, Lawsuit Alleges
I welcome the news of the proposed bill and wish you every success in getting it passed as law. Having once been a witness I have knowledge of the shadowy world of judicial committees convened by elders to look into matters, and accusations of child sexual assaults, although having no qualifications to do so.
Jehovah’s Witnesses members trust their elders to help in cases of child sexual abuse. Sadly, the elders are instructed from their handlers in upstate New York to silence the victims and not report these CSA crimes when they hear reports of them. This is the reason I believe that elders must be held accountable to report such crimes to the authorities. Much valuable time is lost when elders first report to their head office, rather than report to secular authorities such as police. Valuable evidence may be lost as well. Also, reporting will hopefully prevent more CSA crimes from being committed and more harms against children from occurring. Let’s help the children be safe. Let’s help the children enjoy their childhood and prevent the trauma!