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.
Key point 4-08. Every state has a child abuse reporting law that requires persons designated as mandatory reporters to report known or reasonably suspected incidents of child abuse. Ministers are mandatory reporters in many states. Some states exempt ministers from reporting child abuse if they learned of the abuse in the course of a conversation protected by the clergy-penitent privilege. Ministers may face criminal and civil liability for failing to report child abuse.
Key point 6-08. State and federal laws provide limited immunity to uncompensated officers and directors of churches and other charities. This means that they cannot be personally liable for their ordinary negligence. However, such laws contain some exceptions. For example, officers and directors may be personally liable for their gross negligence or their willful or wanton misconduct.
A Massachusetts court ruled that a church was not liable for the molestation of a child by a church nursery worker since it had no prior knowledge of any similar conduct. Upon learning that her minor son had been sexually molested by a volunteer babysitter during a church meeting, a parent (the "plaintiff") sued a church and its pastor and board members (the "defendants") on the following three grounds:
Negligence in failing to protect her son from the known dangerous propensities of the perpetrator.
Failure to report her son's abuse to the civil authorities.