Caught on Camera • Nuns Stole • Small Data Breaches: News Roundup
    Recent headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
    Caught on Camera • Nuns Stole • Small Data Breaches: News Roundup

    Church Volunteer Caught on Video Abusing Child. “Officials with the North Charleston (SC) Police Department confirm they have filed 8 additional charges against Jacop Hazlett. The 28-year-old was previously charged with 1st degree Criminal Sexual Conduct of a Minor. As of Monday, Hazlett is facing a second Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor to the 1st degree charge. He is also charged with 7 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor to the 3rd degree. A lawsuit was filed the day after the volunteer for a North Charleston church daycare was charged with sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy. North Charleston Police say Sunday, November 25, while watching over a group of three- to five-year-old[s] during Sunday church service at New Spring Church, Hazlett escorted the victim into the bathroom, took pictures of a 3-year-old boy and sexually abused him. The alleged abuse [was] all reportedly caught on surveillance video. Hazlett volunteered as a daycare provider at New Spring Church. He began volunteering in March. A month before he started volunteering, a former youth pastor at New Spring Church was arrested and charged with soliciting sex with a minor and exploitation of a minor” (“8 New Charges Filed Against North Charleston Church Volunteer,” News 2).

    Last year, we published “Why Churches Should Invest in Security Cameras,” and this is just one key reason. Learn the other key reasons in this Church Law & Tax Report piece.


    Nuns Embezzle $500,000 from School. “Two Roman Catholic nuns have admitted to embezzling $500,000 from a parochial school in Torrance, California, according to news reports. They are believed to have spent some of the money on travel and casino gambling. ‘It is with much sadness that I am informing families of St. James School that an internal investigation has revealed that, over a period of years, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang have been involved in the personal use of a substantial amount of School funds,’ Monsignor Michael Meyers wrote in a letter dated November 28. The matter came to the attention of church officials in an audit related to a change in leadership at the school, Meyers said. No other school personnel are believed to be involved in the embezzlement” (“2 Nuns Accused of Embezzling $500,00 from Catholic School,” Huffington Post).

    Check out these 5 infographics on “Fraud and Your Church” to help you assess your internal controls and possible vulnerabilities.

    Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe Files for Bankruptcy. “In a letter from Archbishop John Wester (full text) dated November 29, the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe (NM) announced that it is filing for Chapter 11 Reorganization order the federal Bankruptcy Code in order to deal with the growing number of clergy sexual abuse claims. The letter says in part:

    Given our desire to care for all victim survivors, and given the fact that we have settled over 300 claims, but that such claims continue to be filed, I see this as the wisest and most prudent course to take. It is very important that everyone understand that we have not taken this step to avoid responsibility. On the contrary, we firmly believe that Chapter 11 is the most merciful and equitable way for the Archdiocese to address its responsibility to the victim survivors, to continue to meet its commitment to prevent abuse, and to continue its mission to all those who depend on the outreach of the Church.”

    (From “Santa Fe Archdiocese Files Under Chapter 11” on Religion Clause.)

    Learn more about the number one reason churches go to court with our child sexual abuse prevention and response training, Reducing the Risk.

    Possibly Half of Small and Midsize Companies Experienced a Data Breach Last Year. “The rise in cyberattacks is upping demand for insurance, yet many US firms don’t have policies covering data. Only half of big businesses have coverage, and a mere one-fifth of smalls [do]. Even fewer are fully protected against cyberattacks. Big businesses are largely behind 2017’s 37% increase in cyber premiums. As the industry standardizes policies and lowers prices, expect more smalls to opt in. Insurers are expanding coverage. Most policies cover costs related to hacks that compromise data. Covering extortion…ransomware and such…may be included. Some other business policies cover ransomware-related losses, but most don’t, as electronic data aren’t considered real property. Data breaches are on the rise. As many as half of small and midsize US companies experienced one last year” (November 16, 2018, Kiplinger Letter.)

    Our updated article, “The Growing Need for Cyberliability Insurance,” helps church leaders navigate this emerging area with expert guidance.

    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 Facebook or Twitter.


    Samuel Ogles is associate editor and special project manager for Church Law & Tax.

    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.

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