Even Montana’s expansive clergy privilege has limitations
A Montana District Court ruled “that the pastor’s report to police of the confession was admissible because the pastor told defendant before he began to confess that if he was disclosing anything illegal the pastor was obligated to notify authorities.”
Howard M. Friedman explains at Religion Clause:
The court concluded that the confession’s confidentiality was not protected by the church’s “course of discipline” and that in any event Hardman’s making of the confession after being warned that the pastor would go to authorities amounted to a waiver of the privilege under Montana law for confessions made to clergy “in the individual’s professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the individual belongs.”
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