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Malpractice

A Connecticut court ruled that church elders who counseled with a woman could not be sued for their advice to remain with her abusive husband.

Key point 4-05. Most courts have rejected clergy malpractice as a basis for liability in all cases. A few courts have found clergy guilty of malpractice for engaging in sexual misconduct with an adult or minor, or if they engage in "non-religious" counseling.

Clergy Malpractice

* A Connecticut court ruled that church elders who counseled with a woman could not be sued for their advice to remain with her abusive husband. A woman sought out leaders of her church for assistance in escaping from her husband's violence. She met with three church elders over the course of several years. One discouraged her from supplying any details about her husband, demonstrated discomfort at the topic, often told her that she might have caused her own problems, and once reprimanded her for discussing her husband's abuse with someone other than a church elder. Two other church elders encouraged her to stay ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • March 3, 2003

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