Originally posted by twhitehead
He is not talking about the abusers themselves, obviously they can be prosecuted. He is talking about people who protect abusers.
I think wolfgang59 is correct that we shouldn't focus on religious organizations, but rather have one rule for all.
So, should anyone who is aware of someone else abusing a child be legally required to report it and if they ...[text shortened]... rther than simply not reporting it and attempts to actively cover it up should they be punished?
they can be prosecuted as well as accomplices according to individual countries' laws.
the problem is that nobody does their civic duties and reports them. this is true in other areas of society. mafia members again get away with crimes. this isn't because the law favors them, it is because people are scared to speak up against them and they slip through the cracks in the system. it is a problem with the people, not the system.
"should anyone who is aware of someone else abusing a child be legally required to report it and if they do not, should they be punished in some way."
i think this is tricky. if someone is aware a crime is being commited, any crime, he has the MORAL duty to report it. i don't think he can be legally coerced into coming forward on his own initiative.
however, if he is directly questioned by the police, he is required by law (i haven't checked to be sure, but i believe there are laws about this) to speak the truth, if not he is considered to actively hamper the investigation.
"if someone 'obstructs justice' but going further than simply not reporting it and attempts to actively cover it up should they be punished?"
that is a textbook "accomplice". i don't believe there is a country that doesn't punish this. the problem is catching them with little to no evidence.