Jump directly to the content

Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Theories of Liability

Volume 1 . Chapter 4 . § 4-11.1
Key point 4-11.1. Clergy who engage in sexual contact with an adult or minor are subject to civil liability on the basis of several legal theories. They also are subject to criminal liability.

1. Malpractice

Some courts have found clergy liable on the basis of malpractice for sexual misconduct with an adult or minor. These cases are addressed in section 4-05 of this chapter.

2. Fiduciary Duty

A few courts have concluded that clergy, in some situations, owe a "fiduciary duty" toward members of their congregation, and that they can be liable for breaching this duty when they engage in sexual misconduct with a member of their congregation. For example, a few courts have concluded a fiduciary duty arises when clergy "hold themselves out" to their church ...

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold 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.


Safe Hiring Practices for Ministries

Safe Hiring Practices for Ministries

Essential items to consider before you bring new clergy or staff on board.
2018 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

2018 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

Find comprehensive help understanding United States tax laws as they relate to pastors and churches.