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Church Law & Tax Report

May/June 1998
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Feature Article

Clergy Malpractice and Sexual Harassment Subscriber access only

A federal appeals court addresses both issues in an important ruling-Sanders v. Casa View Baptist Church, 1998 WL 27291 (5th Cir. 1998)

The Risks of Inaction Subscriber access only

An Ohio court issues an important ruling-Evans v. Ohio State University, 680 N.E.2d 161 (Ohio 1996) [Negligence as a Basis for Liability]

Articles

Recent Developments

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Illinois

Recent Developments in Illinois Regarding Child Abuse Subscriber access only

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a church counselor could be criminally prosecuted for child molestation despite the fact that the prosecution was based in part on a pastor's unauthorized disclosure of the incident to civil authorities.
Ohio

Recent Developments in Ohio Regarding Church Membership Subscriber access only

An Ohio court ruled that it had no authority to review a church's decision to dismiss a member.
Pennsylvania

Recent Developments in Pennsylvania Regarding Church Membership Subscriber access only

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a state nonprofit corporation law giving members the right to inspect corporate records only applied to certain records.
Illinois

Recent Developments in Illinois Regarding Clergy Removal Subscriber access only

An Illinois court ruled that the first amendment did not prevent it from resolving a dispute over the removal of an officer by a religious organization since it could do so without any inquiry into religious doctrine.
Ohio

Recent Developments in Ohio Regarding Clergy Selection Subscriber access only

An Ohio court ruled that it could invalidate a church's election of a pastor if the election violated the church's bylaws and if it could resolve the dispute without any inquiry into religious doctrine.
Nebraska

Recent Developments in Nebraska Regarding Employment Practices Subscriber access only

A federal court in Nebraska ruled that an employer violated both state and federal law by dismissing an employee who refused to work on Easter Sunday.
Federal

Recent Developments in Federal Appeals Court Regarding Freedom of Religion Subscriber access only

A federal appeals court ruled that a public high school that allowed several student groups to meet on school premises during the lunch period could not deny the same opportunity to a student group that wanted to meet for religious purposes.
Louisiana

Recent Developments in Louisiana Regarding Libel and Slander Subscriber access only

A Louisiana court ruled that it could resolve a priest's claim that he had been defamed by statements church officials made to the media.
Tennessee

Recent Developments in Tennessee Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Subscriber access only

A Tennessee court ruled that a church-operated preschool was not legally responsible for a sexual assault committed by a 4-year-old boy on another 4-year-old boy, since the assault was not foreseeable.
Missouri

Recent Developments in Missouri Regarding Schools Subscriber access only

A Missouri court ruled that a religious school was not a "church" and accordingly was not exempt from local zoning restrictions.
Texas

Recent Developments in Texas Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Subscriber access only

 In an important case that should be studied by church leaders everywhere, a Texas court ruled that (1) a church was not liable for a music director's acts of child molestation since the statute of limitations had expired; (2) ministers who are mandatory child abuse reporters under state law cannot be sued by child abuse victims on account of their failure to report; and (3) ministers need not report child abuse if the victim no longer is a minor.
Pennsylvania

Recent Developments in Pennsylvania Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Church Volunteers Subscriber access only

A Pennsylvania court ruled that (1) a charity cannot be sued when one of its volunteers molests a child who has no connection with the charity, even if it knew that the volunteer had a prior conviction for child molestation; and (2) the charity cannot be sued on the ground that it failed to report the volunteer's acts of child molestation.
Arkansas

Recent Developments in Arkansas Regarding Homosexuality and the Risk of Sexual Assault Subscriber access only

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that homosexuality "in no way" indicates that a person is a higher risk of committing a sexual assault.
Connecticut

Recent Developments in Connecticut Regarding Sexual Misconduct Subscriber access only

A Connecticut court ruled that a religious order could be sued on the basis of respondeat superior for the sexual misconduct of a priest.
Virginia

Recent Developments in Virginia Regarding Zoning Subscriber access only

A federal court in Virginia ruled that a city council acted unlawfully when it denied a church's request to construct two cellular antenna towers on its property.
New York

Recent Developments in New York Regarding Zoning Subscriber access only

A New York court ruled that a rescue mission was a "charitable or religious institution" and as such did not need to obtain a special use permit to operate. A charity operates a rescue mission in Albany, New York.
Federal

Recent Developments in Federal Appeals Court Regarding Personal Injuries on Church Premises and During Church Activities Subscriber access only

A federal appeals court addressed the dangers of bungee jumping and personal liability of corporate officers in an important ruling.

ChurchSalary

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Record Keeping

Record Keeping  Subscriber access only

Learn best practices for protecting confidential documents.
Protecting Your Church from Crime and Violence

Protecting Your Church from Crime and Violence  Subscriber access only

Assess the security of your church and learn how to prevent crime.