Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect - South Dakota

Date: May 2023

The Requirement for Clergy to Report 

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-3 

Persons mandated to report suspected child maltreatment include religious healing practitioners.

Privileged Communications

Citation: Ann. Laws § 19-19-505

As used in this section:

  • The term 'clergy' includes a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting them.
  • A communication is 'confidential' if it is made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.

A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a member of the clergy in their professional character as spiritual adviser.

The privilege may be claimed by the person, by their guardian or conservator, or by their personal representative if they are deceased. The person who was the member of the clergy at the time of the communication is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the communicant.