Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statutes: Wisconsin

Confidential Clergy Communications Statutes

Wisconsin Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statute


Chapter 905. Evidence–Privileges.

  • 905.06. Communications to members of clergy.(1) Definitions. As used in this section:

(a) A “member of the clergy” is a minister, priest, rabbi, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting the individual.

(b) A communication is “confidential” if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.

(2) General rule of privilege. A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a member of the clergy in the member’s professional character as a spiritual adviser.

(3) Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the person, by the person’s guardian or conservator, or by the person’s personal representative if the person is deceased. The member of the clergy may claim the privilege on behalf of the person. The member of the clergy’s authority so to do is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

(4) Exceptions. There is no privilege under this section concerning observations or information that a member of the clergy, as defined in s. 49.981(1)(cx), is required to report as suspected or threatened child abuse under s. 48.981(2)(bm).