RJI Supports SB 360 (Hill)–California: clergy exemption in sexual abuse cases
March 6, 2019 2pm Pacific
RJI today submitted its letter of support for SB 360 authored by California Senator Jerry Hill which will require that clergy members report child abuse or neglect whenever it is suspected. The legislation will correct a loophole in the law that has been in effect since 1997 in California statute that exempts clergy members from reporting child sexual abuse even though 45 categories of professionals who have contact with children are required to do so. Because children abused by those in authority, especially those who are clergy members, is such a state, national and global problem this law is needed now to correct this dangerous loophole.
RJI has acted on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse since its founding in 2008 and previously through the work of California-based The Justice & Reconciliation Project (JRP). RJI is a national and global leader which advocates for victims-driven restorative justice calling for systemic criminal justice reform to address glaring problems and abuses throughout our justice systems. RJI works with victims of violent crime nationally and globally including victims of clergy abuse.
“Children must come first. There is a great need to do whatever is necessary to protect children from sexual abuse wherever it is found,” said Lisa Rea, president, Restorative Justice International. “This scandalous scourge of child sexual abuse in our churches and places of worship must be seriously addressed in our laws to stop the abuse and open doors for healing in victims of abuse while urging accountability in offenders who have abused children and also requiring accountability and transparency by church authorities and those in leadership.” she added.
RJI praised Senator Hill for his courage in stepping up and sponsoring the legislation. “This is exactly the kind of leadership we need now to fight such a serious societal crime as clergy sexual abuse,” said Lisa Rea.