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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Court Decisions Rejecting Negligent Retention Claims

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-07.2
Key point 10-07.2. Many courts have ruled that the First Amendment prevents churches from being legally responsible on the basis of negligent retention for the misconduct of ministers.

Some courts have concluded that the First Amendment prevents churches from being sued on the basis of negligent retention for the sexual misconduct of ministers.

Case Studies

• A federal appeals court ruled that a school was not liable on the basis of negligent retention for the molestation of two young girls by a teacher despite the fact that it was aware of a prior, similar complaint by another girl because the school thoroughly investigated the prior complaint, concluded that it was unsubstantiated, and took appropriate steps to monitor and restrict the ...

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