Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect - Maryland

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The Requirement for Clergy to Report 

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-705(a)(1)

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including a law on privileged communications, a person other than a health practitioner, police officer, educator, or human services worker who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect shall notify the local department or the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Privileged Communications

Citation: Fam. Law § 5-705(a)(3)

A minister of the gospel, clergy member, or priest of an established church of any denomination is not required to provide notice when they have reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect if the notice would disclose matters in relation to any communication that is protected by the clergy-penitent privilege and either of the following applies:

  • The communication was made to the minister, clergy member, or priest in a professional character as part of the discipline enjoined by the church to which the minister, clergy member, or priest belongs.
  • The minister, clergy member, or priest is bound to maintain the confidentiality of that communication under canon law, church doctrine, or practice.