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Woman Barred from Suing After Five-Year Sexual Relationship

A New York state law prevented the woman from suing the synagogue leader.

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 4-11.02. Clergy who are sued for sexual misconduct may be able to assert one or more defenses.

A New York court ruled that a state law abolishing any remedy for alienation of affections and seduction barred a woman from suing a spiritual leader and counselor for damages she allegedly suffered as a result of a five-year sexual relationship. The founder and spiritual leader of a Jewish synagogue (the "defendant") held himself out as a counselor and advisor with an expertise in women's issues. A woman (the "plaintiff") began attending services at the synagogue. The defendant advised her with respect to her personal, legal and financial problems, and represented that he would assist her in finding ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 2008

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