Vermont bishop testifies against clergy reporting bill

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s leading Roman Catholic bishop testified Friday against a bill that would remove an exemption to the state’s child abuse and neglect reporting laws for members of the clergy. Bishop Christopher Coyne told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday that information shared in a confession must remain confidential, even if priests are mandated reporters when they learn of child abuse in other ways. The bill was proposed after a lawmaker learned from an Associated Press story that Vermont is one of 33 states that exempt clergy from reporting abuse in some circumstances.