Church Law & Tax Report

November/December 2001
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

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Feature Article

Ten Legal Consequences of Terrorism  Member access only

Implications for church leaders.

Articles

The Ministry of Music Member access only

A federal court recognizes the central role of church music.

Retirement Plans Member access only

The IRS ruled that ministers' housing allowances are not "compensation" for purposes of computing the contribution limits to a tax-sheltered annuity ("403(b) plan").

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar

Church Property Member access only

A Washington court ruled that a church's property did not "revert" to the previous owner because of immaterial violations of a condition in the deed.
Louisiana

Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

A Louisiana court addressed the liability of a church and its pastor for the pastor's unauthorized disclosure of confidential information he obtained from a counselee.
New York

Confidential and Privileged Communications Member access only

A New York court ruled that two rabbis could not be sued for breaching a "duty of confidentiality" as a result of their disclosure of confidential information shared with them by a counselee.
Ohio
Charters, Constitutions, and Bylaws

Constitution, Bylaws and Charters Member access only

An Ohio court ruled that a church's board of trustees had been properly ousted and replaced with a new board in a specially-called business meeting.

Contracts Member access only

An Ohio court ruled that a church was bound by a contract modification signed by an associate pastor because he had "apparent authority" to sign the modification.

Freedom of Religion Member access only

Pennsylvania court upheld the criminal convictions of two parents for criminal neglect of their 2-year-old son.

Privacy Member access only

A Georgia court ruled that it was permissible to introduce into evidence in the criminal prosecution of a child molester a tape recording of a telephone call the victim's mother had made between the victim and the molester.
Florida
Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment Member access only

A Florida court ruled that it was barred by the first amendment's ban on "excessive entanglement" between church and state from resolving a church secretary's claim of sexual harassment.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 1 Member access only

An Arizona court ruled that restrictions placed on a child molester by the terms of his probation were violated when the molester attended a church retreat and stayed in a tent with a 13-year-old child.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 2 Member access only

A Florida court ruled that a denominational agency, but not a local church, could be liable on the basis of negligent supervision for the sexual misconduct of a pastor.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 3 Member access only

A federal appeals court ruled that a school was not liable for the molestation of two young girls by a teacher.

Sexual Misconduct by Clergy and Church Workers - Part 4 Member access only

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that a diocese was not liable for a priest's sexual misconduct on the basis of the legal doctrine of respondeat superior.

Wills, Trusts, and Estates Member access only

A Louisiana court ruled that a church should receive the estate of a deceased woman, despite an ambiguity in her will.