Child sexual abuse is taken very seriously by the authorities — so much so that every state has some kind of mandatory reporting laws. Mandatory reporters are people who, by virtue of their professions, may have frequent contact with young children or teens. They’re also usually people in positions of trust, to whom children might turn if they want to talk about abuse.
Who is a mandatory reporter in Minnesota?
Minnesota’s laws designate just about anybody in social services, the medical field or education as a mandatory reporter. The following people are among those legally obligated to report any suspected or known incidents of child abuse to the authorities:
- Social workers
- Police officers and others in law enforcement
- Teachers, school employees, principals
- Doctors and nurses
- Therapists and psychologists
- Ministers and other clergy members
It’s important to understand that these people are required to file a report even if there’s just an allegation or a mere suspicion of abuse — not just when the proof is there. If they fail to do so and that fact is uncovered, they may lose their professional license and face other penalties.
What if a mandated reporter is wrong about suspected abuse?
Under the law, mandated reporters have a great deal of immunity. Generally speaking, you probably won’t even be allowed to know the name of the person who filed the report. As long as the report was made in good faith, the reporter is unlikely to face any penalties on the job or in court.
Sometimes, mandatory reporters “report first, and ask questions later” because they’re afraid of putting their professional careers at risk. That can leave innocent people under a cloud of suspicion. If you’re accused of sexual abuse of a child due to a mandatory reporter’s allegations, it’s wise to seek legal help.