Accepting $250,000 in Gifts • Sex Offender Chaperone • Sued for Suicide: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Accepting $250,000 in Gifts • Sex Offender Chaperone • Sued for Suicide: News Roundup

Priest Accepts More than $250,000 in Gifts from ‘Grandmas.’ “The Reverend Alex Orozco befriended the elderly women shortly after his assignment to St. Rose of Lima parish in Short Hills, New Jersey. Orozco was a new priest. ... And always, it seemed, willing to accept money, parishioners said. For a car. For a big-screen TV. For a house in the Poconos. For another house in his native Colombia. For credit card bills. For a second car. For plane tickets. For furniture. For dental work. From 2013 through the end of last year, Orozco allegedly took more than $250,000 in cash and goods from women in the wealthy parish after telling them hard-luck stories about the financial woes afflicting him, his family members, and his friends. The case has sparked a criminal investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and has raised broader questions about the limits on what clergymen should accept from generous parishioners and whether some of those transactions rise to the level of fraud or theft” (“Priest took more than $250,000 from ‘grandmas’ at wealthy church, authorities say,” NJ.com).

Learn about managing money and avoiding financial impropriety in Finance Committee Professional Pack I: Managing Money.


Convicted Sex Offender Chaperones Church Outing, Allegedly Molests Girl. “A mother dropped her two daughters, ages 3 and 8, at the movies, ostensibly to meet with a group from church. She learned later, and reported to police, that one of the "chaperones" molested her younger daughter as she sat on his lap. He also happened to be a convicted sex offender. … According to the new charges, investigators said, [the chaperone] was a volunteer for Mounds Park United Methodist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was a chaperone for the movie outing in December 2012…” (“Convicted child molester accused again in Maplewood,” TwinCities.com).

Find out how to conduct thorough background checks for all volunteers and employees.

Church Accused of Contributing to Suicide by Covering Up Sexual Abuse. “A Texas Baptist church is facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by parents claiming sexual abuse by a youth minster in the 1990s led to their son’s death by suicide. A lawsuit filed in Dallas County District Court accused First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas, of negligence and fraud that ultimately gave rise to the January 19 suicide death… Representatives of First Baptist Church of Rockwall, [the lawsuit] claims, ‘engaged in this conspiracy to avoid prosecution, to cover up sexual misconduct and abuse and to conceal claims arising from crimes or conduct of their youth pastor’” (“Lawsuit says church’s abuse cover-up caused suicide,” Baptist News).

For expert advice on preventing abuse and responding to allegations, download the Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy from our store.

We're always preparing the best and fastest ways to bring you the news in the context of expert advice. For more regular updates, follow us on Twitter or on Facebook.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Recent Posts
Subscribe to Church, Law & Tax
Creating a Church Office You Can Trust

Creating a Church Office You Can Trust

Practical steps to ensure confidentiality in the church office.
Board Basics for Churches

Board Basics for Churches

From church records to legal risks and liabilities-what your church board should know.