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Woman Sues Church Over Affair with Pastor

Court allowed lawsuit on the basis of clergy malpractice.

Key point. Some courts have allowed pastors to be sued on the basis of "clergy malpractice" for engaging in sexual relations with a counselee in the course of a counseling relationship.
Key point. Churches may be sued for invasion of privacy or defamation if they disclose to church members that a pastor has engaged in sexual relations with a counselee in the course of a counseling relationship.

A New Jersey court allowed a woman to sue her church for "clergy malpractice" as a result of a sexual relationship that was initiated by her pastor. The woman's lawsuit alleged that she had sought counseling from a pastor of her church, and that the pastor became aware of her emotional vulnerabilities and exploited those vulnerabilities to induce her to engage in sexual acts with him. The woman filed a complaint with a "standing committee on clergy ethics" of her denomination, and the ...

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Posted:
  • March 3, 1997

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