Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Schools' Liability for Teachers' Sexual Misconduct
What responsibility does an employer have for an employee's acts?
New York
State:
Categories:
Key point: A church will not necessarily be responsible for every incident of sexual molestation that occurs on church premises, even behind locked doors. The church must be shown to have been negligent.

A New York state court ruled that a public school district was not legally responsible for a teacher's acts of sexual misconduct. The superintendent of a public school system received a telephone call from a person identifying herself as a former student. She alleged that a male teacher (whom she identified) had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with two female high school students. The superintendent immediately met with the teacher who denied the accusations. A short time later one of the alleged victims informed her father who called the police. This led to the teacher's arrest and conviction for the crime of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to prison. The father sued the school district arguing that it was responsible for his daughter's injuries on the basis of the doctrine of "respondeat superior" (an employer is responsible for acts of its employees committed within the scope of their employment) and negligence. A trial court dismissed the case and the father appealed. A state appeals court upheld the dismissal of the case against the school district. With regard to liability based on respondeat superior, the court observed:

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: November 1, 1994
View All
from our store
Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

What these documents do—and don't do—based on statutes and court decisions made nationwide.
Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Create proactive procedures to avoid common reasons why churches most often go to court.
Sex Offenders in the Church

Sex Offenders in the Church

Legal and safety concerns to address when dealing with a sex offender.
Essential Guide to Liabilities and Duties for Church Boards

Essential Guide to Liabilities and Duties for Church Boards

Be aware of ways you can expose yourself to personal legal liability.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.