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Recent Developments in the Rhode Island Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers

A federal court in Rhode Island ruled that the first amendment did not prevent it from resolving a lawsuit brought by victims of clergy sexual misconduct against church officials.

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 ministers would violate the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom. A minority of courts have ruled that the first amendment does not prevent churches from being sued in such cases.

A federal court in Rhode Island ruled that the first amendment did not prevent it from resolving a lawsuit brought by victims of clergy sexual misconduct against church officials. Three adult males sued diocesan officials for injuries they allegedly sustained when they were molested by two priests in the 1970s and 1980s. The victims claimed that prior to the acts of molestation, the diocese knew that the priests were pedophiles ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1999

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