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Termination of Free Counseling for an Abuse Victim

Consequences of stopping counseling payments.

Key point. Churches that voluntarily agree to pay counseling fees to victims of sexual misconduct may be able to discontinue these payments without liability if the counseling has not placed the counselee in a worse position.

A Pennsylvania court ruled that a Catholic diocese that agreed to pay counseling fees for a victim of childhood sexual abuse was not responsible for the victim's suicide that occurred shortly after the diocese decided to stop paying for the counseling. For three years a student (the decedent) at a church-operated parochial school was a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. Thereafter, the decedent graduated from a state university with honors, and became employed in a professional capacity. In 2008, allegedly as a result of the effects of the sexual abuse, the decedent attempted to take his own life. Following this incident, the local diocese began paying for the decedent's ...

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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:
  • March 1, 2012

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