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Church Law & Tax Report

September/October 2011
Articles with a Member Access Only are available only to members.

Feature Article

Securing Cribs in Your Church's Nursery Member access only

New regulations will affect most churches soon—here's what you need to know.


Are Group Exemption Rulings Threatened? Member access only

Debunking false claims about tax exemptions for thousands of churches.

Performing Copyrighted Programs at Church Member access only

Be prepared to pay to play—unless an exemption applies

Housing Allowance Challenge Dismissed Member access only

Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their challenge

Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches, with Richard R. Hammar
Clergy - Removal

Court Resolves Lawsuit Addressing Pastor's Financial Mismanagement  Member access only

First Amendment doesn't prevent court from resolving lawsuit brought forth by former board members.
New Jersey
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Conversations Shouldn't Have Been Used for Prosecution Member access only

Man's confession of child abuse to pastor shouldn't have been used as evidence in court, under clergy-penitent privilege.
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Clergy-Penitent Privilege Doesn't Apply in Molestation Case  Member access only

Pastor's account stands because statements made by member weren't confidential; privilege had been waived.
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Jurisdiction Over Hiring Claims Different vs. Supervision Claims  Member access only

First Amendment prevents court from resolving negligent hiring claim but not negligent supervision claim.
New York
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Church Not Liable for Molestation  Member access only

Court ruled church not liable for molestation of minor student by teacher on basis of negligent hiring
Clergy - Selection

Religious Freedom Prevents Court from Resolving Pastor/Agency Dispute  Member access only

Pastor's claim that a denominational agency acted unfairly in refusing to circulate his resume goes unresolved by court.
Personal Injuries on Church Property or During Church Activities

Woman Trips Over Parking Lot Speed Bump Member access only

Court dismisses woman's motion to sue church over injuries
Invasion of Privacy

Church Officials Violate of Freedom of Speech Member access only

Court rules that seeking identity anonymous blogger critiquing the church and forcing him out was unconstitutional.
New York
Employment Practices

Associate Pastor Sues Church for Senior Pastor's Sexual Harassment Member access only

Employer is liable for supervisory employees' acts of harassment
Confidential and Privileged Communications

Clergy-Penitent Privilege Waived Member access only

Murder suspect lost privilege when he confessed murder to a law enforcement officer


Q&A: Is it Legal to Perform an Out-of-State Wedding?  Member access only

A legal checklist every pastor should use with ceremonies in other states.