Monks' Sexual Abuses • Emanuel AME Money • Suing over Donation’s Use: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Monks' Sexual Abuses • Emanuel AME Money • Suing over Donation’s Use: News Roundup

Abbey’s Personnel Files Shed Light on History of Sexual Abuse. “One priest reported 200 sexual encounters, including some with students at St. John’s University and prep school. Another recorded the names of dozens of boys he brought to a cabin, some of whom he sexually abused. Another abuser was paid $30,000 by St. John’s Abbey to support him as he left the clergy. These are among findings from the first batch of personnel files from St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, made public [November 24]. The abbey was required to release its internal files on priests credibly accused of child sex abuse as part of a lawsuit settled earlier this year. It marks the first time the abbey—implicated in clergy abuse cases for two decades—has opened its confidential files,” (“St. John’s Abbey monk accused of abuse reports 200 sexual encounters,” Star Tribune).

No church should be without a child sexual abuse prevention policy. Download Church Law & Tax’s guide specifically designed for church leaders.

Emanuel AME Will Donate $1.5 Million to Survivors and Victims’ Families. “The South Carolina church where nine parishioners were shot and killed in what police called a racially motivated attack earlier this year will share about half of the money donated to it with survivors of the attack and the families of those killed. Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church will donate about $1.5 million of the $3.4 million given in the wake of the June 17 shooting to an organization that collected money for the victims called Charleston’s Hope Fund, according to a news release sent on Wednesday to local media. . . .

“But the church said it won’t be able to donate the money to the fund until the resolution of a lawsuit by the husband of one of the victims demanding the church account for how the donations have been managed. Arthur Hurd, whose wife Cynthia was one of the nine killed, sued after asking the church for information for months and getting nothing, his lawyer Mullins McLeod Jr. told The Post and Courier of Charleston,” (“Emanuel AME church to give half of donations to Charleston victims,” The Guardian).

Church Finance explains how to handle donor contributions legally and with transparency.

Couple Sues Church for Ignoring Their Contribution’s Designation. “An Oakland County couple is suing St. John Methodist Church, its reverend, and officials, claiming their personal $41,000 donation dedicated for a fellowship hall has been used for other, unknown purposes. Eugene Rogers and Jeanette Campbell Rogers, both medical professionals and former active church members, allege they donated the money for use in a restricted fund, but after it was not used for a hall, church officials have refused to return the money. ‘The funds, donated over a period of years, were intended to build a fellowship hall but that never happened and they want their money back,’ said attorney Cyril Hall, who filed the lawsuit this week. ‘We aren’t saying anyone embezzled it. We just don’t know where the funds are and my clients want it back,’” (“Disgruntled church members sue for return of donation,” The Detroit News).

Richard Hammar’s July/August Church Law & Tax Report feature article explains why churches must honor designated contributions or else risk refunding them.

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