Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers - Part 5
A Minnesota court ruled that it was not prevented from resolving various claims against a church as a result of a pastor's sexual relationship with a female church member.
Key point 4-11.1. Clergy who engage in sexual contact with an adult or minor are subject to civil liability on the basis of several legal theories. They also are subject to criminal liability.
Key point 10-02. The doctrine of respondeat superior imposes vicarious liability on employers for the negligent acts of their employees committed within the scope of their employment.
Key point 10-07. A church may exercise reasonable care in selecting ministers or other church workers but still be responsible for their misconduct if it "retained" them after receiving information indicating that they posed a risk of harm to others.
Key point 10-10.1. Some courts have found churches liable on the basis of negligent supervision for a minister's acts of sexual misconduct involving adult church members on the ground that the church failed to exercise reasonable care in the supervision of the minister.
Negligence as a Basis for Liability
Seduction of Counselees and Church Members

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Posted: March 1, 2004
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