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Issues that affect ministers and churches
Church Not Liable for Molestation
Court ruled church not liable for molestation of minor student by teacher on basis of negligent hiring
Key point 10-04. A church may be liable on the basis of negligent selection for a worker's molestation of a minor if the church was negligent in the selection of the worker. Negligence means a failure to exercise reasonable care, and so negligent selection refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care in the selection of the worker. Liability based on negligent selection may be imposed upon a church for the acts of employees and volunteers.
Key point 10-04.2. Some courts have found churches not liable on the basis of negligent selection for the molestation of a minor by a church worker since the church exercised reasonable care in the selection of the worker.

* A New York court ruled that a church was not liable on the basis of negligent hiring for the molestation of a minor student by a teacher. Prior to hiring the teacher the church contacted one of the three personal references listed on her employment application. This reference, who was a parent of a student who attended the church's school, stated that she had known the teacher for many years and considered her to be "a wonderful person." The church did not contact the other two references, and did not confirm the teacher's prior employment history or contact any of her prior employers for a reference. The church did conduct a "Safe Environment" background check, which did not indicate that the teacher had been engaged in any prior criminal misconduct.

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