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Counseling—Liability

An Oregon court ruled that the statute of limitations prevented a woman from suing her church and pastor for damages she suffered as a result of the pastor's repeated and prolonged attempts to cast demons out of her.

Key point 10-12. Churches face a number of legal risks when they offer counseling services by ministers or laypersons. These include negligent selection, retention, or supervision of a counselor who engages in sexual misconduct or negligent counseling. A church also may be vicariously liable for a counselor's failure to report child abuse, breach of confidentiality, and breach of a fiduciary relationship.

An Oregon court ruled that the statute of limitations prevented a woman from suing her church and pastor for damages she suffered as a result of the pastor's repeated and prolonged attempts to cast demons out of her. A woman sought out a pastor for spiritual counseling following her brother's death. While meeting with the pastor, the woman suffered an anxiety attack, which the pastor interpreted as demon possession. The pastor asked the woman to return for "deliverance" sessions, ...

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Posted:
  • January 3, 2000

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