Pastor Cleared In Dispute Over Child Abuse Speaks Out - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Pastor Cleared In Dispute Over Child Abuse Speaks Out

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IONIA, Mich. (WLNS) - In a controversial ruling, a Michigan appeals court decided in favor of Pastor John Prominski of ionia last week after in 2009, a woman in his congregation told him confidentially she believed her husband sexually abused her kids and the pastor didn't report it.

"Even knowing what would happen, I feel like I made the best call," said Pastor John Prominski.

No regrets for Pastor Prominski, despite a two year legal battle and possible jail-time for not coming forward to police after a member of his church approached him, concerned her husband may have sexually abused her children.


"She came to me in confidence in my professional character," said Prominski, who didn't go to the authorities. "No physical contact. No exposure. There was just not a strong enough situation for me to go to authorities."

Two years later, Prominski says the woman came to him again, this time with more serious allegations. He says he directed her to go to police or he would.


"This issue was more severe. I said look, you need to turn him in."

When she did, authorities issued a warrant for Prominski's arrest. His crime was staying quiet. Prominski says if his congregants tell him something in confidence, he's not legally obligated to reveal it. "They need to have someone to go to to confess."

By a three to nothing margin, an appeals court in Michigan agrees that legally, Prominski didn't do anything wrong in this case.

"Privillege applies to any communication between a clergy member of any religion and their congregants," said Frank Ravitch, a religious law professor at MSU. "In some state's clergy, in the context of child abuse have to report, Michigan is not one of those states."



The pastor says the decisions he made were difficult, but were the right ones to make.


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