Church Theft • Sexual Abuse Lawsuit • New Survey: News Roundup
    This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
    Church Theft • Sexual Abuse Lawsuit • New Survey: News Roundup
    Image: Rishabh Varshney / Unsplash

    Church Security Guard Steals Thousands of Dollars from Church Collections. “As they had been doing for at least a month, a security guard and his friend let themselves into Holy Name Cathedral with a key on April 15, went to the basement and unlocked a safe that held cash collected during services at the seat of Chicago’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese, prosecutors said. Their haul that Sunday was $11,000, prosecutors said, bringing their total take to as much as $100,000. But that would be it. Jarrell Patterson, 22, and Artemio Calderon, 25, were caught on surveillance cameras and were charged over the weekend with felony burglary. They both had worked for Monterrey Security, the cathedral’s sole provider of security for the past six years. But at the time of the burglaries, only one of them was still employed there. After the charges were announced, the rector of Holy Name said the contract with Monterrey had been canceled. ‘We have moved forward with our efforts to strengthen our security procedures,’ the Rev. Greg Sakowicz said” (“Security guard, friend used key to steal as much as $100,000 in church collections from Holy Name, prosecutors say,” Chicago Tribune).

    Read about these five benefits of installing security cameras at your church.

    Pennsylvania Woman Asks Court to Reinstate Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Local Diocese. “An Altoona, Pa., woman who says the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown covered up years of abuse by a known pedophile has asked the state Superior Court to reinstate her lawsuit. Renee A. Rice, 50, filed a complaint in Blair County Common Pleas Court in June 2016 and amended it months later. . . . Her complaint includes claims for fraud, constructive fraud and conspiracy. She is seeking punitive damages. However, her lawsuit was dismissed in December by Blair County Judge Jolene Grubb Kopriva, who found that, based on controlling case law, Ms. Rice’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations. . . . She found no applicable exceptions to the statute of limitations in the case. But Ms. Rice’s attorneys argue that the question of whether the statute of limitations ought to apply is a factual determination to be made by a jury” (“Altoona woman attempts to revive sexual abuse lawsuit against diocese,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

    Implement our Reducing the Risk training program and decrease the chances of a child being harmed or your church facing costly allegations.

    Pew Research Survey Details How Americans View God. “Today, 4 out of 5 Americans still say [they believe in God]. But according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, what they mean by God varies a lot. A Pew survey released [April 25] found that how people view God—and how they believe God interacts with them—shifts by religious affiliation, gender, and political party. Even in an era where more of the nation doesn’t ascribe to a higher power at all (10%) or believes in some sort of higher power or spiritual force (33%), a slim majority of Americans (56%) still believe in God ‘as described in the Bible,’ according to the Pew report” (“80% of Americans Believe in God. Pew Found Out What They Mean,” Christianity Today).

    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 Twitter or on Facebook.

    Emily Lund is assistant editor 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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