Catholic Church in California Lobbies Against Legislation Aimed at Protecting Children and Preventing Abuse
A bill that was aimed at reforming mandated reporting laws to ensure that all crimes committed against children are reported to the authorities immediately was withdrawn from consideration following extensive lobbying by the Catholic Conference of California. We are disappointed that, once again, church officials have mobilized to defeat legislation that could help prevent more cases of abuse in the future.
SB 360, a bill that was sponsored by State Senator Jerry Hill, would have removed an exception to California’s mandated reporting rule that allowed Catholic clergy to refrain from reporting any crime they learned about in confessional. But thanks to extensive lobbying from the Catholic Conference of California, this loophole will remain intact for the time being.
Once again, church officials have poured tons of money, time and effort into defeating legislative reform aimed at preventing abuse. Given that the church has spent more than $10 million knocking down other legislation that would benefit survivors and protect children, we are not surprised, simply disappointed.
We hope that SB 360 will be reintroduced when the time is right and that parishioners and the public will rally against church officials protecting themselves and will instead rally for the protection of children and the prevention of abuse. We also hope that Catholics in California who are as disturbed as we are will be sure to let church officials at their own parish know about their disappointment.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)