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Priest Molests Children

Court rules that diocese may be sued for negligent retention and supervision.

Key Point. The first amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevents churches and denominational agencies from being sued as a result of "negligent ordination."
Key point. Some courts require that a lawsuit brought against a church by a victim of sexual misconduct plead specific facts demonstrating that the church knew of prior similar acts of misconduct by the perpetrator. Vague allegations of what the church "should have known" are not sufficient. Other courts have rejected this view.
Key point. Churches that obtain a positive letter of reference on a worker may not be legally responsible for the workers misconduct on the basis of an alleged failure to investigate further.

• A New York court ruled that a Catholic diocese could not be sued on the basis of negligent hiring for a priests acts of child molestation, but it could be sued for negligent supervision and ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1997

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