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

A Washington state court ruled that the statute of limitations, and the first amendment, prevented three women from suing a pastor who had engaged in sexual contacts with them during counseling sessions several years before.

Washington
State:
Key point. Adults who engage in sexual contacts with clergy during a counseling relationship may not sue their church after the statute of limitations has expired. Generally, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the last sexual encounter. In some states the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim "discovers" that he or she has experienced physical or emotional suffering as a result of the pastor's acts. Other states do not recognize this so-called "discovery rule."

A Washington state court ruled that the statute of limitations, and the first amendment, prevented three women from suing a pastor who had engaged in sexual contacts with them during counseling sessions several years before. In 1996, three women filed separate lawsuits against their former pastor and church, claiming that the pastor had engaged in inappropriate sexual contacts with ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1999

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