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Denominations' Liability for Ministers' Sexual Misconduct

A Minnesota court ruled that a denomination could be sued.

• A Minnesota state appeals court ruled that a religious denomination incorporated in Illinois could be sued in Minnesota for the alleged sexual misconduct of one of its ministers. The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) is a body of evangelical churches, administratively organized into regional conferences. The ECC bylaws specify that its "board of ministry" exercises "general supervision over Covenant ministers, including ordination, license, discipline, and the maintenance of high ministerial standards." The ECC is responsible for investigating claims of misconduct lodged against its ministers, and for administering such discipline as it deems appropriate. Such discipline may include counseling, training, temporary removal from ministry, or permanent dismissal from the ministry. A minister who had served an ECC church in Minnesota for 25 years was accused of sexually molesting boys ...

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  • March 1, 1991