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Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

An Ohio court ruled that a church and denominational agency could be sued on the basis of negligent retention and breach of a fiduciary duty for the sexual misconduct of a minister.

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.
Seduction of Counselees and Church Members
Key point 10-13.1. A few courts have found 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, the church or agency is found to be vicariously liable for the minister's breach of a fiduciary duty, but in others the church or agency is found to have breached a fiduciary duty that it had with the victim.
• 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. ...

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Posted:
  • May 2, 2005

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