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

A federal court in Iowa ruled that a woman who had been seduced by a priest could not sue her church and diocese for violating the federal Violence Against Women Act.

Iowa
State:
Key point. Churches are subject to a new theory of liability for the sexual misconduct of clergy who engage in counseling-they may be liable for such misconduct under the federal Violence Against Women Act if the offending minister's behavior constitutes a felony under state law.

A federal court in Iowa ruled that a woman who had been seduced by a priest could not sue her church and diocese for violating the federal Violence Against Women Act. An adult female claimed that when she arrived at church one evening to participate in the choir during evening mass she was sexually assaulted by her priest. In particular, the woman alleged that the priest "came up behind her, grabbed her with both of his hands and pulled her back into his body, held her tightly and kissed her neck." Later that same evening he allegedly "rubbed [her] back up and down with his hand" while she was "standing and ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1999