LRB-2503/3
EHS:amn&cjs
2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
September 12, 2019 - Introduced by Representatives C. Taylor, Sargent,
Zamarripa, L. Myers, Vining, Gruszynski, Stubbs, Billings, Milroy, Subeck,
Sinicki, Pope, Bowen, Vruwink, Crowley, Ohnstad and Emerson,
cosponsored by Senators L. Taylor, Risser and Larson. Referred to
Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.
AB423,1,3 1An Act to repeal 48.981 (2) (bm) 3.; and to amend 48.981 (2) (bm) 1. and 2. of
2the statutes; relating to: the duty of a member of the clergy to report child
3abuse.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill expands the types of child abuse that a member of the clergy is required
to report and eliminates from the reporting requirement the exception for
information obtained through confidential communications.
Current law requires a member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to
suspect that a child seen in the course of his or her professional duties has been the
victim of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, indecent exposure, or sex trafficking;
has been caused to view or listen to sexual activity; or has been permitted, allowed,
or encouraged to engage in prostitution (collectively, sexual abuse), or that such a
child has been threatened with sexual abuse and that sexual abuse will likely occur,
to immediately report that suspected or threatened sexual abuse to certain county
or state agencies or a law enforcement agency. This bill expands this reporting
requirement to include physical abuse, not only sexual abuse. Current law similarly
requires a member of the clergy who has reasonable cause to suspect that a member
of the clergy has sexually abused a child, or that a member of the clergy has
threatened to sexually abuse a child and that sexual abuse of the child will likely
occur, to immediately report that suspected or threatened sexual abuse to the
appropriate county or state agency or a law enforcement agency. This bill expands
this reporting requirement to include physical abuse, not only sexual abuse.

Current law provides that a member of the clergy is not required to report
information relating to suspected or threatened sexual abuse of a child that he or she
receives solely through confidential communications made to him or her privately or
in a confessional setting if he or she is authorized to hear or is accustomed to hearing
such communications and if, under the disciplines, tenets, or traditions of his or her
religion, he or she has a duty or is expected to keep those communications secret. The
bill eliminates from the reporting requirement the exception for information
obtained through confidential communications.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB423,1 1Section 1. 48.981 (2) (bm) 1. and 2. of the statutes are amended to read:
AB423,2,52 48.981 (2) (bm) 1. Except as provided in subd. 3. and subs. (2m) and (2r), a
3member of the clergy shall report as provided in sub. (3) if the member of the clergy
4has reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by the member of the clergy in the
5course of his or her professional duties:
AB423,2,66 a. Has been abused, as defined in s. 48.02 (1) (a) or (b) to (f); or
AB423,2,87 b. Has been threatened with abuse, as defined in s. 48.02 (1) (a) or (b) to (f), and
8abuse of the child will likely occur.
AB423,2,129 2. Except as provided in subd. 3. and subs. (2m) and (2r), a member of the clergy
10shall report as provided in sub. (3) if the member of the clergy has reasonable cause,
11based on observations made or information that he or she receives, to suspect that
12a member of the clergy has done any of the following:
AB423,2,1313 a. Abused a child, as defined in s. 48.02 (1) (a) or (b) to (f).
AB423,2,1514 b. Threatened a child with abuse, as defined in s. 48.02 (1) (a) or (b) to (f), and
15abuse of the child will likely occur.
AB423,2 16Section 2. 48.981 (2) (bm) 3. of the statutes is repealed.
AB423,3 17Section 3. Initial applicability.
AB423,3,3
1(1) Child abuse reporting by member of the clergy. This act first applies to
2observations made or information received by a member of the clergy, as defined in
3s. 48.981 (1) (cx), on the effective date of this subsection.
AB423,3,44 (End)
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