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Removing Disruptive Individuals

What to do with unwelcome visitors.

Removing Disruptive Individuals

Does a church have the legal authority to remove disruptive individuals from church services? This issue has been addressed by a number of courts. Generally, the courts have been sympathetic to attempts by churches to deny access to disruptive individuals.

To illustrate, a Connecticut court agreed that a church could bar a disruptive individual from entering onto church premises. It noted that "there was ample evidence that the defendant entered church property, on the three occasions charged, as a knowing trespasser. The record reveals that the defendant had been unequivocally informed and understood that his privilege to attend church services had been revoked …. The record here is replete with evidence that this defendant knew that he was trespassing upon church property and was unwelcome at services." With regard to the defendant's claim that a church is "public ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • November 3, 2008

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