• Key point. Churches are not necessarily responsible for acts of child molestation committed by minors who themselves were molested by a church worker.
A Louisiana court ruled that a church was not legally responsible for a minor's acts of child molestation. A minor molested two young children. The molestation did not occur at a church and had no connection with a church. However, the victims' parents sued a church claiming that it was responsible for their children's injuries because the molester had himself been molested by an employee of the church several years before. A state appeals court dismissed the lawsuit. It observed that "it is well-recognized that an actor has no duty to control the conduct of a third person so as to prevent him from causing physical harm to another unless a special relationship exists between the actor and the other so as to afford the other a right to protection." The court concluded that no "special relationship" existed between the church and its former employee who molested the minor who later molested the two young children. Further, there was simply not a close enough connection between the acts of the church employee and the molestation later committed by a boy that he molested.