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Church Not Liable for Sexual Abuse of Counseled Woman

Federal court rules church not responsible for actions of deacon.

Key point 10-10.2. Many courts have ruled that the First Amendment prevents churches from being legally responsible on the basis of negligent supervision for the sexual misconduct of ministers.

A federal court in Wyoming ruled that a church and diocese were not liable on the basis of negligent training or negligent supervision for a church worker's sexual abuse of a woman he was counseling. In 1991, a man ("Gary") became interested in becoming a deacon for a Roman Catholic Diocese. He discussed his interest with the bishop, and ultimately applied to a deacon training program. As part of his application, Gary submitted various materials, including letters of recommendation and a report from a psychological evaluation. Nothing in his materials raised any red flags so the bishop accepted him into the deacon training program. During his training, no one ever expressed any concerns about him to ...

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Posted:
  • April 30, 2014

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