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Legal Issues and the Church

Legal Issues and the Church - 49 min.
by William Meyer - Attorney

Important information for churches to understand:
  • Everything a pastor hears during a confession is legally protected under clergy-client privilege, pastors are not required to report anything told to them during confession
  • Unlike pastors, counselors and therapists (including church counselors) must report any illegal behavior that a client tells them
  • Pastors, unlike attorneys (see below), cannot refer someone to a counselor and have their pastoral protection cover the individual while in counseling
  • Attorneys can hear confessions and refer people to therapy, both with protection
What is new in the legal arena?
Essentially, there are more mandatory reporters now. Mandatory reporters of suspected child sexual abuse now include:
  • All employees of public or private companies (this includes churches)
  • All volunteers/leaders at youth groups/camps/kids events
  • Also anyone tied into community events: i.e. coaches
How using an attorney helps
  • Attorney finds out what they did and what the legal consequences are
  • Attorney can refer them to a therapist WITHOUT the person being reported, because the person is still covered by attorney client privilege
Who can I contact if I have questions?

Please feel free to contact the PLA office at anytime. We’ll get you moving in the right direction or we’ll direct you to someone who will.
Pure Life Alliance

PO Box 50 
Portland, OR 97207 

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