Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Vicarious Liability
Can a school be sued for the molestation of a student?

A Louisiana court ruled that a school could be sued on the basis of negligent supervision, but not negligent hiring, for a janitor's sexual molestation of an 8-year-old student. An 8-year-old girl (the "victim") arrived at school at 7:15 a.m. one day. Although school did not begin until 8 a.m., the victim participated in the breakfast program, which began 30 minutes before the start of school. According to the victim's account of the events that morning, when she walked up to the school she was approached by the school janitor, who informed her that one of her teachers wanted to see her and proceeded to walk her upstairs to a classroom. Once in the classroom the janitor molested her and warned her not to tell anyone what had happened. Two days later, the victim informed her family, which led to the janitor's arrest and prosecution for child abuse. The victim's mother thereafter sued the school for negligent supervision, vicarious liability, and negligent hiring. A trial court dismissed the lawsuit, and the mother appealed.

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