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Can a Denominational Office Be Held Liable for a Pastor's Sexual Misconduct?

The answer depends on several factors.

Key point 10-05.2. Some courts have found churches not liable on the basis of negligent selection for the sexual misconduct of a minister or other church worker involving another adult since the church exercised reasonable care in the selection of the worker.

Key point 10-10.2. Many courts have ruled that the First Amendment prevents churches from being legally responsible on the basis of negligent supervision for the sexual misconduct of ministers.

Key point 10-13.2. Several courts have refused to hold 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, this result is based on First Amendment considerations.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a denominational agency was not liable on the basis of breach of a fiduciary duty, or negligent hiring or supervision, for a sexual relationship ...

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Posted:
  • January 1, 2010

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