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Churches' Liability for Children in Their Care

What legal responsibility do churches have to supervise children?

Key point: A church can be legally responsible on the basis of negligent supervision for the abduction and molestation of a child who wanders off of church premises.

• In a decision that will be of direct relevance to churches, a Georgia court ruled that a local Boys Club could be sued by the parents of a 5-year-old boy who was abducted and molested when he wandered off the Boys Club premises without adult supervision. The victim was enrolled in a summer day camp conducted by the Boys Club in his community. Boys in the program ranged from 6 to 11 (an exception was made in the case of the victim), and the boys were to be under the direct supervision of an adult worker at all times. An adult was stationed at a desk by the front door of the facility, and no child was allowed to leave the premised unattended. Nevertheless, the victim was able to walk out the front door and go around ...

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  • November 1, 1994

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