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Church Liability for the Sexual Misconduct of Ministers

A California court renders a questionable decision.

A California court renders a questionable decision-Roman Catholic Bishop v. Superior Court, 50 Cal. Rptr.2d 399 (Cal. App. 1996)

[Negligence as a Basis for Liability, Denominational Liability]

Article summary. A California court ruled that a Catholic church was not responsible on the basis of negligent hiring for a priest's acts of child molestation, since they had not been aware of any similar incidents of misconduct at the time the priest was employed. Further, the church could not be liable for the victim's injuries on the basis of negligent supervision, since most if not all of the priest's acts did not occur in the course of any official church duties and did not occur on church premises. The most astonishing aspect of the court's ruling was its conclusion that a church, like any employer, can be sued on the basis of invasion of privacy or sexual harassment if it inquires ...

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Posted:
  • March 3, 1997

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