The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act requires specified mandated reporters, which, since 1997, has included clergy members (i.e., priests and deacons), to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect involving persons under the age of 18 years within 36 hours of receiving information on an incident. A mandated reporter’s failure to report such suspected incidents is a misdemeanour under California law. Since 1997, clergy and (arch)dioceses have been reporting suspected incidents of child abuse to the designated law enforcement agencies. As chaptered, A.B. 299 (Pacheco) provides that:
- A mandated reporter may include if he or she deems it appropriate, any nonprivileged documentary evidence relating to the suspected incident of child abuse with their mandated report.
- The “custodian of records of a clergy member” (e.g., Archdiocesan Vicar for Clergy) shall be added to the list of mandated reporters.
- Any clergy member or custodian of records for the clergy member may report, on or before January 1, 2004, a previously unreported incident of