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Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers - Part 1

A California court ruled that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevented a woman from suing her church for the alleged sexual misconduct of its pastor.

Key point 10-13.2. Several courts have refused to hold churches and denominational agencies liable on the basis of a breach of a fiduciary duty for the sexual misconduct of a minister. In some cases, this result is based on first amendment considerations.

* A California court ruled that the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevented a woman from suing her church for the alleged sexual misconduct of its pastor. A female church member (Anna) claimed that her pastor persuaded her to have sexual relations in the church parsonage. Prior to this relationship, Anna "was chaste and had never been involved in a sexual relationship." The pastor called Anna once or more each day and often left "romantic and sexual messages" on her answering machine. He also falsely represented to her that he had never had sexual relations with others, that his sexual relationship with her was not ...

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Posted:
  • January 1, 2004

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