The privilege is defined by the law not what you consider yourself to be.
Is it clergy privilege?
In other words an opposing struggle between set church laws and set secular laws.
Church laws are set to protect the image of the church in its ongoing appealing wholesomeness and virtue .
Secular laws are established to protect the general public at large.
The reason pedophiles are imprisoned and strongly regulated after their release is because there is a measurable probability of pedophiles reoffending.
This is also supporting by the fact that offending priests who were resigned to different Parishes reoffended into acts of pedophilia.
In Kansas also look at how the law is written.
(b) Privilege. A person, whether or not a party, has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent a witness from disclosing a communication if he or she claims the privilege and the judge finds that (1) the communication was a penitential communication and (2) the witness is the penitent or the minister, and (3) the claimant is the penitent, or the minister making the claim on behalf of an absent penitent.
Notice that the law is written that the person making the communication can prevent the disclosing of the communication. So in Kansas, if I go up to a priest and tell them that I have molested someone and say I prevent you from going to the police by the law the priest cannot go to the police.
Ohio, it is the McFarland case where someone wrote letters to the service department. The Plaintiff's attorney claimed that because the letter may have been read by a number of different people that there is no privilege. The court ruled that regardless of how many people read it or know it it is what is the expectation of the person who started the communication. The court ruled that the letters that dealt with purely spiritual matters were a privilege, those that didn't speak of purely spiritual nature were not.
And therein lies the tragedy.
The jw's expectation is that the whole thing is a purely spiritual exercise (the reason they trust and forgive so much of the org). The reality could not be further from the truth - as far as Watchtower and their minions are concerned - the priority is the legal dept with it's focus purely on worldly affairs.
My opinion is this
When Uncle Perv admits to elders his "sin" after being accused of it and after being summoned and questioned about it it's NOT a confession in the "confessional" sense of the word it's an admission of guilt that should be taken straight to authorities.
When a child tells an adult about Uncle Perv they are asking for help NOT a confession.
When goodness knows how many elders and NON elders sit around or phone around basically gossiping about whether a victim is a victim or a liar and what sort of spiritual man the accused is it's NOT clergy penitant privilege by a loooong shot.
I think the admittance of guilt even after an accusation is a confession and protected. A confession is the unburdening of a transgression or wrongdoing. There is no condition about when the information is confessed.This is privileged information.
A child reporting abuse is approaching the adult authority figures in their lives for assistance and protection. This is not privileged information.
I don't understand how regular adults can sleep at night knowing that a child has been abused and feel no responsibility to report it to the police no matter their standing as a mandatory reporter. We should all consider ourselves mandatory reporters when it comes to children, or vulnerable others.
If someone confesses to an Elder and they form a J.C does this not negate their rite to "Ecclestical Privilege"?
My understanding is it is only bettween the Clergy they confessed to and the confesser not 2 other Elders and the service dept and whoever else knows??
I live in a Commonwealth country and our laws are mostly from the British legal system and to the best of my knowledge this is the case.
Clergy privilege is not a valid concept in 2018. It’s a leftover church rule that was originally from a time where the church had political clout/power. They could dictate rules. It isn’t 1432 anymore .
In all of my 33 years as a Jehovah`s Witness I was always of the belief that the J.W. religion claimed it had no Clergy Class.?
That was just one other factor that distinguished them from false religion Christendom who had a Clergy/laity class distinction.
And for them to claim Clergy/Penitent in a court of law is hypocritical
Here in the U.K there is no Law that allows the Priest/Penitent conversations to be confidential. So it is incumbent on all U.K Elders when they uncover a Crime to report it to the Police.
The Elders should be Prosecuted if they do not, but it seems there is a very lazy and laid back attitude to this here, sadly. Just one Case would spur on the Elders to better protect the vulnerable, perhaps.