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Introduced Version House Bill 2226 History

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hb2226 intr
H. B. 2226


(By Delegates Brown, Amores, Hrutkay and Doyle)
[Introduced February 11, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]




A BILL to amend and reenact §57-3-9 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to removing the privilege of confidentiality in communications to clergy when the communications involve matters involving sexual abuse of a minor child.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §57-3-9 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. COMPETENCY OF WITNESSES.

§57-3-9. Communications to priests, nuns, clergy, rabbis, Christian Science practitioners or other religious counselors not subject to being compelled as testimony.

(a) No priest, nun, rabbi, duly accredited Christian Science practitioner or member of the clergy authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage in this state pursuant to the provisions of article two, chapter forty-eight of this code shall be compelled to testify in any criminal or grand jury proceedings or in any domestic relations action in any court of this state:
(1) With respect to any confession or communication, made to such person, in his or her professional capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church or other religious body to which he or she belongs, without the consent of the person making such the confession or communication; or
(2) With respect to any communication made to such person, in his or her professional capacity, by either spouse, in connection with any effort to reconcile estranged spouses, without the consent of the spouse making the communication. This subsection is in addition to the protection and privilege afforded pursuant to section three hundred one, article one, chapter forty-eight of this code.
(b) The privilege provided in subsection (a) of this section does not apply to any communication relating to the sexual abuse of a minor child, unless the communication was made in accordance with subdivision (1), subsection (a) of this section, and was made as a recognized, privileged confession.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to remove the confidentiality privilege in communications to clergy when the communication involves sexual abuse of a minor child, unless the communication was made as a recognized, privileged confession.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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