Authorities: Congregation Elders Didn't Report Child Abuse - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Authorities: Congregation Elders Didn't Report Child Abuse

Posted: Updated:
Katheryn Harris Carmean White Katheryn Harris Carmean White

DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC)- The Delaware attorney general's office is suing a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Sussex County, claiming that elders failed to report an unlawful sexual relationship between a woman and a 14-year-old boy, both of whom were congregation members.
    
After speaking with attorneys this week, a New Castle County Superior Court judge scheduled oral arguments in the civil action against the Seaford congregation for Nov. 9.
    
Under Delaware law, any person, agency, organization or entity who knows or in good faith suspects that a child is being abused or neglected must call a 24-hour hotline to report it. The law specifically states that the reporting requirements apply to health care workers and organizations, school employees, social workers, psychologists and law enforcement officials.
    
But a lawyer for the congregation is arguing that the elders of the Jehovah's Witnesses congregation are protected from the reporting requirements by clergy privilege, similar to the confidentiality of a church confessional.
    
"It's a First Amendment issue," defense attorney James Liguori said.
    
Department of Justice authorities say the boy reported to his mother in January 2013 that he and Katheryn Harris Carmean White, who worked as a teacher's aide at Seaford Middle School, had engaged in a sexual relationship. According to the complaint, the boy and his mother met that same day with congregation elders Joel Mulchansingh and William Perkins.
    
The two elders met a few days later with Carmean White, who confirmed the ongoing sexual relationship, according to the complaint.
    
"At no time ... did defendant elder Mulchansingh and defendant elder Perkins contact the 24 hour child abuse report line to report the alleged incident of child sexual abuse," Delaware Deputy Attorney General Janice Tigani wrote.
    
Authorities also claim that the congregation itself should be held liable because it was or should have been aware that the two elders had interviewed the boy and that it failed to properly supervise their activities, including their responsibility to report the suspected abuse.
    
Authorities are seeking a civil penalty of up to $10,000 against each defendant, as well as attorney expenses and fees.
    
Carmean White was arrested in February 2013 and charged with multiple counts of third-degree rape, continuous sexual abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. She was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of third-degree rape, fourth-degree rape and child endangerment.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • No Home Confinement for Former Delaware Prison Guard

    No Home Confinement for Former Delaware Prison Guard

    Feb 23, 2018 5:07 PM2018-02-23 22:07:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 5:07 PM EST2018-02-23 22:07:14 GMT
    A federal judge says he has no authority to allow home confinement for a former Delaware prison guard sentenced to three years for smuggling drugs and cellphones to inmates.More
    A federal judge says he has no authority to allow home confinement for a former Delaware prison guard sentenced to three years for smuggling drugs and cellphones to inmates.More
  • Arrest Made in Smyrna-Cape 'Basketbrawl'

    Arrest Made in Smyrna-Cape 'Basketbrawl'

    Feb 23, 2018 4:56 PM2018-02-23 21:56:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 5:03 PM EST2018-02-23 22:03:53 GMT
    An arrest has been made after a fight broke out at the Smyrna High School and Cape Henlopen High School boys' basketball game Thursday night.More
    An arrest has been made after a fight broke out at the Smyrna High School and Cape Henlopen High School boys' basketball game Thursday night.More
  • Harrington Man Arrested for Involvement in Selling Heroin

    Harrington Man Arrested After Selling Heroin

    Feb 23, 2018 3:55 PM2018-02-23 20:55:00 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 4:03 PM EST2018-02-23 21:03:12 GMT
    Courtesy of Delaware State Police Courtesy of Delaware State Police
    Courtesy of Delaware State PoliceCourtesy of Delaware State Police
    Delaware State Police said they arrested a Harrington man Thursday after they discovered he had been involved in selling heroin.More
    Delaware State Police said they arrested a Harrington man Thursday after they discovered he had been involved in selling heroin. More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland

    Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Headed Toward Maryland

    Farmers like Jennie Schmidt of Queen Anne's County know all too well how hard it is to grow grapes. And now Mother Nature, in the shape of a quarter-sized, red and black polka-dotted bug, is about to make Schmidt's job even more challenging. The spotted lanternfly, already pestering nearby states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, is on its way to Maryland.

    More

    Farmers like Jennie Schmidt of Queen Anne's County know all too well how hard it is to grow grapes. And now Mother Nature, in the shape of a quarter-sized, red and black polka-dotted bug, is about to make Schmidt's job even more challenging. The spotted lanternfly, already pestering nearby states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, is on its way to Maryland.

    More
  • Cruisin OC Heads back to Ocean City

    Cruisin OC Heads back to Ocean City

    It's official, Cruisin OC will be rolling through Ocean City once again in the Spring. Earlier this week, the council approved dates for the car show.
    Some locals say they're dreading for when those dates arrive. George Balunis, an Ocean City resident, says when the car events come into town, he stays inside.
    More
    It's official, Cruisin OC will be rolling through Ocean City once again in the Spring. Earlier this week, the council approved dates for the car show.
    Some locals say they're dreading for when those dates arrive. George Balunis, an Ocean City resident, says when the car events come into town, he stays inside.
    More
  • Medicare Fraud Lawsuit Names Private Ambulance Company & PRMC

    Medicare Fraud Lawsuit Names Private Ambulance Company & PRMC

    Federal authorities are investigating claims a private ambulance company committed Medicare fraud with the participation of Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

    A lawsuit filed in federal court outlines an alleged scheme to rake in tens of millions of dollars by over-billing Medicare on tens of thousands of non-emergency trips.

    More

    Federal authorities are investigating claims a private ambulance company committed Medicare fraud with the participation of Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

    A lawsuit filed in federal court outlines an alleged scheme to rake in tens of millions of dollars by over-billing Medicare on tens of thousands of non-emergency trips.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices