Court cites clergy-penitent privilege in dismissing child sex abuse lawsuit against Mormon church

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In a ruling on Friday, Cochise County Superior Court Judge Timothy Dickerson said the state’s clergy-penitent privilege excused two bishops and several other officials with the church, widely known as the Mormon church, from the state’s child sex abuse mandatory reporting law because Paul Adams initially disclosed during a confession that he was sexually abusing his daughter.

“Church defendants were not required under the Mandatory Reporting Statute to report the abuse of Jane Doe 1 by her father because their knowledge of the abuse came from confidential communications which fall within the clergy-penitent exception,” Dickerson wrote in his decision.

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