Oct. 22, 2014
By Julie Love Taylor, Senior Associate
By now, most Americans are familiar with the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, in which the Church has been criticized for its handling—or rather, mishandling—of priests who sexually abused minors. Recently, Catholics in Louisiana were reminded of this scandal but with a slightly different twist. In April 2014, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a decision involving alleged sexual abuse—not by a priest, but by a church parishioner—and a priest’s failure to report that abuse. The Supreme Court’s holding potentially opened the door to a sticky situation: Can a court compel a priest to break the seal of confession when the penitent is a minor alleging sexual abuse.