Jump directly to the Content

Church Law & Tax Report

March/April 1997
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

Feature Article

Church Liability for the Sexual Misconduct of Ministers Member access only

A California court renders a questionable decision.


Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Child Abuse

Priest Sued for Failure to Report Child Abuse Member access only

Court rules that man is not legally responsible for damages.
New York

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse Member access only

Court rules that teacher may be sued for failing to report abuse.
Freedom of Religion

Dismissed Members Sue Church Member access only

Court rules that it cannot interfere.
Church Property

Who Controls the Property of a Disaffiliated Church? Member access only

Court rules that a parent denomination retains control of a church's property.
Church Property; Freedom of Religion

Church Designated as "Historic Landmark" Member access only

Court rules that designation violates religious freedom.
Confidential and Privileged Communications

What Does the Clergy-Penitent Privilege Cover? Member access only

Not all confidential conversations are protected.

School Dismisses Unmarried, Pregnant Teacher Member access only

Court rules that it did not violate federal law.
Breach of Contract; Schools

Former Teacher Sues School for Breach of Contract Member access only

Court rules that teacher may sue former employer.

Professor Sues College for Discrimination Member access only

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rejects claim.

Business Sued for Dismissing Convicted Sex Offender Member access only

Court rules that private corporation was not prohibited from dismissing employee.
Multi StateNew York
Freedom of Religion

Church Use of Public School Auditoriums Member access only

Court rules that schools must be consistent in allowing religious groups to use their property.
Freedom of Religion

Use of "In God We Trust" on Coins and Currency Member access only

Court rules that use of the national motto does not violate the First Amendment.
New Jersey
Clergy Malpractice; Counseling

Woman Sues Church Over Affair with Pastor Member access only

Court allowed lawsuit on the basis of clergy malpractice.
Church Property; Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Woman Injured on Church Property Sues Member access only

The church allowed a choral guild to use its facilities rent-free.
Child Abuse

Mandatory Reporters and the Clergy-Penitent Privilege Member access only

Are confessions of abuse protected?
New York

Student Molested in School Bathroom Member access only

School found liable on the basis of negligence.

Youth Minister Sentenced to 52 Years for Molestation Member access only

Put safeguards in place to protect children.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Ministers' and Churches' Liability for Sexual Misconduct Member access only

Who can be found liable for a minister's misconduct?
New York

12-Year-Old Raped After Leaving School Outing Member access only

Court rules that the school is not liable.
Church Property

Taxation of Undeveloped Church Property Member access only

In some states, vacant church-owned land may not be exempt from property taxes.
Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Member Barred from Suing Charity Member access only

Man had suffered injuries on the premises of the unincorporated charity.
Taxation - Church Property

Religious Organization Owes Taxes from Publishing Business Member access only

IRS determines revenue is unrelated business income
Rhode Island

Church Exemption from Unemployment Tax Member access only

Churches are exempt from unemployment taxes in most states.
District of Columbia
First Amendment; Judicial Resolution of Church Disputes

Church Liability for Accounting Irregularities Member access only

A court's ruling provides important insight for all church leaders.