Are Elders Mandated Reporters or not? (California)

by awakenyr2004 22 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • awakenyr2004

    I know Clergy are mandated here in California but are Elders considered Clergy?

    Father is on drugs and since confessed. He was df'ed I think last week. Kids say the mom is protecting him. They have family support but parents don't want them with family. I don't understand these people!

    According to the oldest daughter he attacked her in front of her minor sisters. He was verbally and emotionally absuive to her for a year now. According to the daughter it was all her life. The siblings say they only witnessed it this last year or so since she was df'ed. Father is sick in the head to say the least.

    I believe the oldest daughter was telling on the father (to the elders) the entire year and they did nothing but encourage her. One elder was said to have moved from the congregation because the other elders refused to listen to him and report the abuse. I believe he reported it on his own but I cannot be sure.

    The daughter was reinstated recently and the father told her "Jehovah forgave you but you're gonna have to work a lot harder for me to forgive you." Father of the year, Right! That is just a little glimpse into this man's sickness. He gets off on controlling his family. Now he has added drugs to the mix.

    Anyways, I am wondering if the elders are obligated to report. If so they should have a long time ago when the daughter first started telling them about the father's abuse. Now she is telling anyone who will listen about her mom and dad. I'm wondering if congregation gossip and the dad being df'ed would finally push the elders to call CPS or police.

  • awakenyr2004

    I forgot to add that the father sent a letter to the elders confessing drug use and I believe expressing his wish to be df'ed. I'm not sure how true this next part is but he met with the elders and said he doesn't want to be df'ed after all and that he wants help.

    They kicked him out anyway. I don't blame them one bit. This guy in my opinion cannot be redeemed whether sober or not.

  • GLTirebiter

    Link to summary of clergy reporting laws by state (US Dep't of Health and Human Services--PDF file).

    I believe the oldest daughter was telling on the father (to the elders) the entire year

    In California (and many other states) the clergy privilege is limited to "pastoral communications". Communications including victims, witnesses and other third parties may not be considered to be "pastoral" and not exempt from the reporting requirement. To know if that applies to the elders' contact with the daughter, you would need the advice of an attorney familiar with the law, especially how the courts interpret what is (and is not) pastoral communications.

  • awakenyr2004

    I called the WT legal dept this morning. They passed me around a few times and put me on hold a few times. I was looking for a simple yes or no answer and finally got one after too much time on the phone.

    I asked if Elders are mandated reporters in the state of CA. The final answer was "if the law requires it, yes". The first answer was it depends on the type of abuse. Okay, I told him for at least the third time, I am talking about child abuse. He wanted all the specifics, elders names, names of family involved, congregation name. He even tried to get my full name after I told him I am not a JW. I didn't want to give him my name or the family's name and told him so. I did tell him the city of the congregation which is really all I know. He then asked if I knew the street name. Geez! Why all the questions I asked him. I really am only looking for a yes/no answer. I did end up giving him a lot of the specifics of the situation but no names or places. That is when he finally gave me a final answer, if State law requires then yes they are mandated to report.

    I was so annoyed! The elders in this situation should have reported a long time ago! I am still not convinced they did.

    I found out the name of the congregation and I will call them Thursday nite and ask them if the reported it. I don't expect an answer or even an honest answer but I will ask.

  • Separation of Powers
    Separation of Powers

    I believe that California is a required report State. It will be difficult for the average long-time elder to get their head around this. Abuse, all abuse mind you NOT just sexual, is reportable. In fact, if you have first hand knowledge of their abuse, then ????

  • awakenyr2004

    Yes, CA does require clergy to report. I was just wondering if and how the elders would try and get around reporting child abuse of any kind.

    The law is clear for mandated reporters. It is not only first hand knowledge but a reasonable suspicion of abuse.

  • LisaRose

    Just call child protective services, if you wait for the elders to do the right thing the child could end up dead. It's a cult, they don't care about the children, just protecting themselves.

  • awakenyr2004

    LisaRose, I did call myself. I know at least one other person called CPS as well. I think the parents are evading CPS as they do not have a permamnent address. The adult daughter and 2nd eldest moved out. The two other teenage girls are with the parents.

  • Oubliette

    I asked if Elders are mandated reporters in the state of CA. The final answer was "if the law requires it, yes".

    In other words, either he didn't know or wouldn't say.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    It places them in a difficult situation. Normally, the WT wants recognition of its clergy as "clergy." Most denominations insist on graduate seminary school and clinical pastoral education. The Witnesses have no credentials. Yet they don't want to report fiends to law enforcement. They confuse religious process with legal process. I am certain "clergy" is defined in CA, if not in statute, then in case law. Because the Witnesses are so unlike other religious groups, it may be difficult whether to count them as clergy. I don't have time to read the statute and case law. The elders should have enough sense to protect their assets and consult a private lawyer whose responsibility is his/her client, and not the Watchtower.

Share this