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Confidential and Privileged Communications - Part 1
Pastors who know that a meeting is being secretly tape recorded may be personally liable on the basis of fraudulent concealment.
Key point. Pastors who know that a meeting is being secretly tape recorded may be personally liable on the basis of fraudulent concealment if they fail to disclose to all parties that the meeting is being recorded.

* The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that a pastor could be liable on the basis of fraudulent concealment for attending a meeting between a married couple that was being secretly recorded, with his knowledge, by the husband in order to obtain evidence for a subsequent divorce proceeding. Pastor Terry served as senior pastor of a local church in which a married couple (Ray and Julie) were members. Julie was an active, lifelong member of the church. Pastor Terry officiated at Ray and Julie's wedding, baptized both of their children, and considered Ray and Julie to be close personal friends.

Ray learned that Julie was involved in an adulterous affair, and asked Pastor Terry to be present when he confronted her about it. Ray informed Pastor Terry that he intended to record the conversation on the advice of a divorce attorney in order to obtain evidence that could be used in persuading Julie to agree to a no-fault divorce. The meeting took place in Ray and Julie's home. Julie did not know that Ray was recording the meeting nor was she aware that the purpose of the meeting was to confront her with her purported infidelity. Ray later testified in a deposition that he told Julie that he "wanted to talk to her about something important with Pastor Terry present." Ray also testified that he believed Pastor Terry's presence "could possibly help save the marriage." However, Ray acknowledged that "this meeting was not in any way a counseling session."

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