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Church Law & Tax Report

January/February 1999
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.


Recent Developments

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

Recent Developments in Church Property Rulings Member access only

Maryland's highest court ruled that a local congregation that voted to disaffiliate from a national church after more than a century of association was entitled to retain its property.

Recent Developments in Washington Regarding Confidential and Privileged Communications  Member access only

A Washington court ruled that the clergy-penitent privilege applied to confidential statements made to a pastor, and that the privilege was not waived when the pastor disclosed the communications to two others.

Recent Developments in Montana Regarding Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

The Montana Supreme Court ruled that statements made by a child molester to lay leaders in his church were not protected from disclosure by the clergy-penitent privilege.
New York

Recent Developments in New York Regarding Libel and Slander Member access only

A New York court ruled that a religious teacher was not a "public figure" and therefore could more easily sue an organization that allegedly defamed him in one of its publications.

Recent Developments in Tennessee Regarding Marriage and Divorce Member access only

A Tennessee court ruled that a marriage was valid despite the husband's claim that the officiating clergyman was not qualified to perform marriages and had failed to return a signed marriage license to the county clerk within three days of the marriage as required by law.

Recent Developments in Alabama Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Member access only

An Alabama court ruled that a school was not liable for a teacher's acts of child molestation since it conducted a thorough background check before hiring him and did not violate its written policies.

Recent Developments in Missouri Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers Member access only

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a diocese could not be liable for the sexual misconduct of a priest.