State Rep. Paul DeWeese today introduced legislation requiring members of the clergy to report people suspected of child abuse to the state Family Independence Agency, said Rep. Paul DeWeese, sponsor of the initiative.
Under current state law, psychologists, social workers, doctors, teachers and other professions dealing with children are required to report abuse cases. House Bill 5984 adds members of the clergy to this list. Clergy, including religious
hierarchy, would be required to report any suspected abuse.
If the report or subsequent investigation indicates a violation of Michigan law, FIA would transmit a copy of the report to the appropriate prosecuting attorney.
“It’s important to remember abuse can happen in all faiths, economic levels and social groups,” said DeWeese, R-Williamston. “Members of the clergy hold a position of trust in our society and we must hold
them responsible for their actions.”
DeWeese is working with Sen. William Van Regenmorter, who is known for his efforts on behalf of victims’ rights, and religious leaders to craft the measure. The legislation was referred to committee last week.
“I regret the incidents that make this legislation necessary, but we must address the problem now,” DeWeese said. “This measure increases safeguards for Michigan children.”
Printed in Volume 1 Issue 7