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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Court Decisions Rejecting Negligent Selection Claims

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-04.2
Key point 10-04.2. Some courts have found churches not liable on the basis of negligent selection for the molestation of a minor by a church worker since the church exercised reasonable care in the selection of the worker.

This section reviews court decisions in which a church or other religious organization was found not liable on the basis of negligent selection for a worker's acts of child molestation. Note that several courts have concluded that the First Amendment's "nonestablishment of religion" and "free exercise of religion" clauses prevent the civil courts from resolving negligent selection claims involving clergy misconduct.

Case Studies

• A federal appeals court ruled that an archdiocese was not responsible for the alleged molestation ...

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