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

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

Missouri
State:
Key point. A religious denomination is not necessarily legally responsible for the acts of sexual misconduct that occur in affiliated churches.
Key point. Several courts have concluded that churches and denominational agencies cannot be legally responsible for a minister's sexual misconduct, since allowing such organizations to be sued for failing to exercise sufficient care in the selection, training, or supervision of its ministers would violate the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom.
Key point. Most courts have rejected "breach of a fiduciary duty" as a basis for holding a church or denominational agency liable for a minister's sexual misconduct.
Key point. Most courts have rejected "agency" as a basis for holding a church or denominational agency liable for a minister's sexual misconduct.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a diocese could not be ...

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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:
  • January 1, 1999

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