Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Louisiana Court Affirms Decade Sentence for Church Volunteer Convicted of Molestation
Key point 10-09.3. Churches can reduce the risk of liability based on negligent supervision for the sexual molestation of minors by adopting risk management policies and procedures.

A Louisiana appeals court affirmed a 10-year sentence at hard labor for a volunteer youth worker who raped a 13-year-old girl while taking her home from a church event. A 13-year old girl (the "victim") attended youth group meetings at a church. The victim and several other members of the youth group went to dinner at a local restaurant. Some of the volunteer youth workers also attended this event, including an adult male (the "defendant") and his pregnant wife and 1-year-old son. The defendant and his wife drove separately to the restaurant.

After dinner, the defendant's wife wanted to take their infant son home. The defendant volunteered to take the victim home in his truck, and it was during this ride that the defendant started rubbing the victim's leg. The victim asked him to stop, but he pulled over onto a dirt road, parked the truck, and raped her despite her begging him to stop. The defendant then exited the truck from the passenger side and locked the door so the victim could not escape. He got back in the truck and drove her home. Before the victim exited the truck, the defendant said, "I hope I didn't cross any boundaries." The victim arrived home around midnight, and both of her parents were asleep.

The next morning, the victim told her parents that the defendant had "rubbed her leg" on the way home the night before, but did not tell her parents about the rape. The parents arranged a meeting with their pastor and the defendant. When confronted with the victim's allegations, the defendant started crying, and admitted to inappropriately touching her on her leg and apologized repeatedly. The parties did not discuss contacting law enforcement.

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