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

A Massachusetts court ruled that a diocese probably was not liable for the sexual molestation of a child by a priest more than twenty years ago.

Key point. A church ordinarily will not be legally responsible for the sexual molestation of a child on church property or during a church activity unless it was negligent in hiring or supervising the molester.
Key point. Church leaders who allow a person to work with children despite evidence of previous misconduct are subjecting the church to possible civil liability on the basis of negligence. Liability will depend on a number of factors, including the age, nature, and credibility of the evidence.

1. A Massachusetts court ruled that a diocese probably was not liable for the sexual molestation of a child by a priest more than twenty years ago. An adult woman sued a diocese, claiming that it was responsible for injuries she sustained when she was molested by a priest more than twenty years ago when she was four or five years old. The court noted that "the only shred of evidence" ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1999

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