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United Church of Christ to lobby for child abuse reporting bill

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2001

BOSTON (AP) -- The United Church of Christ is urging its ministers to support a bill that would require clergy to report suspected sexual abuse.

A UCC teacher recently claimed his confession of abuse to church leaders was a spiritual act and should be kept secret.

Susan Dickerman, associate minister of the United Church of Christ, has e-mailed every Congregationalist minister in Massachusetts, asking them to work for a change in the law.

Massachusetts is one of 21 states that exempt clergy from laws requiring people who work with children to turn in alleged sexual abusers.

The Massachusetts Catholic Conference decided to support the legislation this summer after changes were made to exempt admissions made in confessionals.

In June, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston admitted as part of a civil suit that after he learned a priest had molested seven boys, he transferred the clergyman to another parish, and later to other parishes around Boston.



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