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Pastor Sued for Disclosing Confidential Information

Court ruled that a pastor and his church could be sued on the basis of malpractice and other grounds as a result of the pastor's disclosure of confidential information shared with him by a church member.

Last Reviewed: March 11, 2021
Key point. Ministers who disclose confidential information obtained during counseling sessions may be exposing themselves, as well as their church, to legal liability on the basis of a number of grounds, including malpractice, invasion of privacy, defamation, and infliction of emotional distress.

An Arizona court ruled that a pastor and his church could be sued on the basis of malpractice and other grounds as a result of the pastor's disclosure of confidential information shared with him by a church member. A woman (the "victim") was referred to a pastor for counseling because of his many years of counseling experience. The victim met with the pastor for help with emotional problems following the breakup of an affair with another pastor with whom she had lived for nine months.

The victim later joined the counseling pastor's church, and continued to meet with him for counseling, ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1997
  • Last Reviewed: March 11, 2021

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