The Power Of The Private Confessional
Recent reporting from the Associated Press on child sexual abuse raises important questions about the usefulness of clergy-penitent privilege.
Paul Douglas Adams, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confessed to sexually abusing his daughter. Adam’s bishop called a helpline run by Kirton McConkie, a church-employed law firm. Kirton McConkie advised the bishop not to report the abuse to law enforcement because clergy-penitent privilege protected him from doing so. And so the abuse continued for years, until Adams was eventually arrested.
How does this legal principle work? Who does it benefit? Why do we have it in the first place?
This Friday at 11 a.m., we’re exploring the history and present of priest-penitent privilege and asking whether this protection should change.
- Norman Jones is an Emeritus Professor of History at Utah State University.
- Sam Brunson is a Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago and contributes to the blog By Common Consent. His recent posts are, “The clergy-penitent privilege — questions and a suggestion” and “Two things the church can do now to improve its response to child abuse” | @smbrnsn
- Jean Hill is the Director Office of Life, Justice and Peace at Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, Government Liaison for the Diocese, and part-time Communications Director.| @Jeandioslc
Airdate: Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 at 11 a.m.