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Church Responsibility for Sexual Misconduct

Churches can be liable for affairs if negligence is proved.

Key point: A church may be legally responsible for a pastor's sexual contact with an adult counselee if it was negligent in hiring or supervising the pastor.
Key point. Church leaders who ignore accusations of sexual misconduct by a church employee are subjecting their church to possible civil liability on the basis of negligence. They may also be subjecting their church to punitive damages, and themselves to personal liability, if their actions constitute gross negligence.

An Illinois court ruled that a pastor, deacon, and church could be sued by a woman who was sexually seduced by the pastor during marriage counseling. The woman and her husband claimed that during the course of marital counseling the pastor initiated and continued a sexual relationship with the woman, thereby aggravating the problems in her marriage, alienating them from their church and church community, and ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1996

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