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Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers

Statute of limitations can prevent cases from going to court.

Key point. Several courts have concluded that churches and denominational agencies cannot be legally responsible for a minister's sexual misconduct, since allowing such organizations to be sued for failing to exercise sufficient care in the selection, training, or supervision of its ministers would violate the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom.
Key point. In some states, minors who are molested by clergy or church workers will be prevented from suing their church if they fail to sue before the "statute of limitations" expires (note, however, that the statute of limitations generally does not begin to "run" until the minor reaches legal age).

A Wisconsin appeals court ruled that the statute of limitations prevented a woman from suing a Catholic archdiocese for the alleged acts of molestation by a priest nearly 40 years before. The woman claimed that the priest entered ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1996

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