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United States

(1) Any physician, resident on a hospital staff, intern, nurse, coroner, school teacher, day care personnel, social worker, or other person having reason to believe that a child under the age of eighteen (18) years has been abused, abandoned or neglected or who observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse, abandonment or neglect shall report or cause to be reported within twenty-four (24) hours such conditions or circumstances to the proper law enforcement agency or the department. The department shall be informed by law enforcement of any report made directly to it. If the department knows or has reason to know that an adult in the home has been convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct or felony injury to a child in the past or that the child has been removed from the home for circumstances that resulted in a conviction for lewd and lascivious conduct or felony injury to a child, then the department shall investigate. When the attendance of a physician, resident, intern, nurse, day care worker, or social worker is pursuant to the performance of services as a member of the staff of a hospital or similar institution, he shall notify the person in charge of the institution or his designated delegate who shall make the necessary reports.

(2) For purposes of subsection (3) of this section, the term “duly ordained minister of religion” means a person who has been ordained or set apart, in accordance with the ceremonial, ritual or discipline of a church or religious organization which has been established on the basis of a community of religious faith, belief, doctrines and practices, to hear confessions and confidential communications in accordance with the bona fide doctrines or discipline of that church or religious organization.

(3) The notification requirements of subsection (1) of this section do not apply to a duly ordained minister of religion, with regard to any confession or confidential communication made to him in his ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which he belongs if:

(a) The church qualifies as tax-exempt under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3);

(b) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the duly ordained minister of religion; and

(c) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the duly ordained minister of religion specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine. A confession or confidential communication made under any other circumstances does not fall under this exemption.

(4) Failure to report as required in this section shall be a misdemeanor.

Year of enactment

1995

Last Amended

2018