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Recent Developments in Wisconsin Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a Catholic Diocese could not be sued as a result of an alleged sexual relationship that began when a woman began a counseling relationship with a priest who served as a hospital chaplain and counselor.

Wisconsin
State:
Key point. Churches and denominational agencies will not be legally responsible on the basis of negligent supervision for a minister's sexual misconduct if they were not aware of previous similar incidents. It is knowledge of such incidents that imposes a duty of supervision. Further, the fact that church members or even employees are aware of a previous incident does not put the church on notice-unless a member or employee was acting as an agent of the church at the time he or she became aware of the previous misconduct.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a Catholic Diocese could not be sued as a result of an alleged sexual relationship that began when a woman began a counseling relationship with a priest who served as a hospital chaplain and counselor. The chaplain met with and counseled with a woman (the "victim") with respect to medical and emotional problems she was experiencing ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • November 2, 1998

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