Letter in Support of S.F. 4037/H.F. 4793

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April 3, 2024


Hon. Nicole Mitchell Minnesota Senate
[email protected]

Hon. Jim Nash
Minnesota House of Representatives [email protected]

RE: Letter in support of S.F. 4037/H.F. 4793

Dear Senator Mitchell and Representative Nash:

The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, writes in support of S.F. 4037/H.F. 4793, which prohibits organizations from having policies that prevent or discourage mandatory or voluntary reporting of child maltreatment, and provides penalties for any person preventing such reporting.

These bills target one of the most common ways child maltreatment is enabled: superiors and administrators who make it difficult for employees to report abuse. The legislation is valuable in battling against organizational cultures that discourage or even penalize employees for protecting children.

The Catholic Church has learned this painful lesson and is working to implement and advocate for best practices related to child protection. The presence of organizational dynamics where the incredulity that a colleague could possibly be guilty of abuse, along with the corresponding severity of the reputational damage to the person or the institution if a case of abuse were reported, leads people to cover up or pressure others into not reporting suspected abuse. In other words, your legislation addresses what is often the core of the problem in many institutions.

The problem of sexual abuse is society-wide, and is especially prevalent in schools, as the headlines make clear on a regular basis. Parents entrust their children to schools every day, and school staff must feel free, and encouraged, to report their concerns. Policies or practices—written or unwritten—that prevent or discourage such reporting create unsafe environments.

We thank you for introducing this legislation and stand in support of you as you work to move these proposals forward. Please let us know how we can be of assistance.

Respectfully yours,

Jason Adkins Executive Director
[email protected]

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