• Key point. Some courts have allowed pastors to be sued on the basis of a "breach of a fiduciary duty" for engaging in sexual relations with a counselee in the course of a counseling relationship.
• Key point. The courts have refused to recognize "clergy malpractice" as a basis of legal liability, even in cases involving sexual misconduct.
• Key point. Church officials may be liable if they disclose to church members that a pastor has engaged in sexual relations with a counselee in the course of a counseling relationship.
The New Jersey Supreme Court allowed a woman to sue her pastor and church as a result of a sexual relationship that was initiated by the 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 ...