How the Mormon Church Protects Itself From Sex Abuse Lawsuits

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Recent legislative efforts have made progress on improving the rights of church sex abuse survivors, but a major loophole in the laws surrounding this terrible crime is keeping perpetrators safe.

New Associated Press investigations into the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called LDS or the Mormon church, have revealed that church leaders liberally apply “clergy-penitent privilege” to protect bishops who sexually abuse the children under their care.

This law, found in 33 states (including Louisiana), exempts church bishops and other religious leaders from reporting incidents of child sex abuse revealed to them in private confessional settings.

Every state has a set of mandatory reporting laws, requiring people in certain professions to report any suspicions of child sex abuse. These typically include coaches, teachers, police officers, healthcare professionals, and anyone with regular contact with children.

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