Unconditional Love

    May 2000

    Telling Clergy That You're Attracted to Minors
    By Heather Elizabeth Peterson

    All of the U.S. states have mandatory reporting laws requiring certain professionals to report suspected cases of child abuse. Some but not all of these laws exempt clergy from reporting confidential information communicated by members of their faith community, on condition that the communication occurs under strictly defined circumstances.

    Many faith communities in the U.S. and elsewhere provide additional guidelines to their clergy on when they should report suspected child abuse to the legal authorities. Some faith communities also allow clergy to break confidentiality rules if the clergy member believes that the person providing the communication is endangering himself. Thus, some clergy will not only reveal confidential information concerning minor-attracted adults whom they believe have broken the law but will also reveal confidential information concerning minor-attracted adults whom they believe have not broken the law.

    Therefore, what sort of confidentiality the minor-attracted adult can expect to receive depends on the person's location, faith community, and individual clergy. Generally, the organizations that are clearest in their understanding of confidentiality issues are religious and secular support groups that deal with pedophilia or sexual recovery. They will most likely be able to provide suggestions on the circumstances under which your communications may be reported to others, and they may be able to provide you with additional advice concerning telling clergy and other members of your faith community.

    Related Link

    Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect. Includes links to all of the state laws, as well as a comparison chart of the laws.

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    © 2000 Heather Elizabeth Peterson 
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