Do Pastoral Counselors Have a Duty to Report Clergy Sexual Abuse Done by Their Clergy Clients?
Ashby, Homer U Jr.
The journal of pastoral care & counseling : JPCC 2010 Fall; 64(3): 2.1-11
What does a pastoral counselor do when a clergy client reveals that he or she has been sleeping with a parishioner? Does the counselor have an ecclesiastical duty to report this offense to a church official; or does the pledge of confidentiality trump any disclosure? Some ecclesiastical bodies require their clergy to bring knowledge of these offenses to church authorities. Does this requirement apply to pastoral counselors? The authors have been confronted with these questions in their ministry of pastoral counseling and have struggled with producing a faithful, professional response. Along the way they have not received clear direction from judicatories or professional organizations. This article is the authors' attempt to answer the questions raised above as well as to challenge professional and ecclesiastical bodies to confront more forthrightly the dilemmas these situations cause for pastoral counselors who seek to protect the welfare of the Church as well as protect the pledge to maintain confidentiality.
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