TUCSON (KVOA) - A controversial bill that would make it mandatory for clergy to report child sex abuse went before the Senate Education Committee Tuesday.
Arizona law currently gives clergy an exception to the reporting laws.
This bill was presented as a result of our investigation into a case in Cochise County where a father told his church leaders, he was sexually abusing his daughters and making videos and placing them on porn websites.
The Senate Education Committee voted four in favor, and four against.
SB 2494 failed.
However, the author of the bill Tucson Senator Victoria Steele said she wasn't giving up.
This was the third time she's presented the bill. She told the News 4 Tucson, "This really is one of those really no brainer. You are either going to protect the children or the monsters who would hurt them. And that's what the vote was really all about today. Four senators voted to protect them."
Miranda Whitworths's six-year-old adopted daughter was sexually abused. Her testimony brought tears to some of the senators. "My infant daughter was raped daily, and many people knew and did nothing. They suffer no repercussions. I'm tired of excuses and red tape on this critical issue. My daughter and my family suffer every day."
The Senate Education Committee spent more than an hour discussing SB 2494. The members agreed the premise of the bill was good, but others held the church's right to keep the confessional a secret and voted no.
Senator Nancy Barto said in the hearing, "I too think it's an overreach for this particular case with that Sen Barto votes no."
Lynne Cadigan an attorney who has represented victims of sex and child abuse for 35 years also testified. She was disappointed the bill failed ."What members would have any faith in their church if they knew that their leaders were keeping sex abuse of their children a secret."
We reached out to the senators who voted no, and none were available for comment.