Jgnat, that's why I put the caveat about adults on there.
Are ALL adult publishers w/ knowledge of child abuse liable....
Avishai, I got your meaning. My comments were directed at burntheships. I'm not a fan of all-or-nothing solutions.
I would say, that this includes, elder's wives also. Elder tells wife to keep a watch on little Cindy at the hall, and keep her away from Brother Smith. She knows he was at a judicial meeting til late last night. She puts two and two together.
The rule of thuumb in Cananda is this
If a person ion a position of authority or through professional contact knows of abuse they are bound by law to report. They are legally required by law to report or risk legal action against them.
The public does not carry the legal responsibility but they do carry a moral responsibility to report. As a professional I am legally bound to report but as a lay person I am not. I think I am in rather murky ground since I am retired. But I would report it.
Yes the WTS wants it both ways. Sometimes it is just elders who are clergy. Other times they carry that over to include pioneers and other times they include every baptized person (minors would be excluded legally due to age as you said). The WTS is notorious for changing the meaning of words to suit their purpose - a sign of a cult in action.
being an "ordained minister" is not enough to be under the clergy-penitent laws in some states.
It has to do with the counseling and confidentiality aspect and so far only elders are officially given that responsibility in the congregation.
Anybody in their right, sane mind should report child abuse. That includes EVERY publisher in a congregation who is aware of the abuse. They should report it to the authorities - not the elders- the police authorities. The safety and welfare of children trumps any authority leaders of a mind control cult have ! No matter how any rulebooks in laws are written. A person's conscience should make them speak out
I think I saw some Internet chatter recently about wts changing the meaning of "ordained ministers" in their religion. I was wondering if it had something to do with mandatory reporting, but I didn't have time to look it up and forgot about it. May have been on allexperts.com.......can't remember exactly.
When I was a regular pioneer, I had an ID card that said I was a full-time ordained minister. IIRC, only certain jws were considered ordained ministers..such as reg pios [not aux pios], missionaries, MS, Elder, CO, and on up the food chain.
As for the legal question, you should be able to find a chart of the mandatory reporting laws in each US state on Silent Lambs' site or elsewhere.