Push to require clergy to report abuse stalls in Mormon Utah

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Religion

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lindsay Lundholm looked out over hundreds of people at the Utah State Capitol last year and felt a deep sense of healing. Abuse survivors, religious leaders and major party politicians were all gathered to rally for an end to a legal loophole that exempts religious clergy from being required to report child sexual abuse once it comes to their attention.Lundholm, one of the rally’s organizers, recalled telling the crowd how, growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Idaho, she told her bishop about her painful abuse only to see it go unreported.
Unearthing the trauma wasn’t easy, but back in August she hoped reforms could be forthcoming so others would not face what she did.
“There was really a lot of momentum,” said Lundholm, now a teacher in northern Utah. “Everyone we were talking to was like, ‘This is a no brainer. This is something that needs to be changed.’”
It hasn’t.
Pressed by Lundholm and other survivors, Republicans and Democrats announced plans last year to reform laws that exempt religious clergy from reporting child sexual abuse cases revealed in conversations with parishioners. Despite initial momentum, religious groups in several states have blocked those efforts, doubling down on lobbying tactics they’ve used for years to defend exemptions.
That’s the case in Utah, a deeply religious state …

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