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Church Volunteer Given 35-Year Prison Sentence for Raping a Minor

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.


An Indiana court affirmed a 35-year prison sentence for a church’s volunteer driver who raped an adolescent female who was the only passenger in his vehicle during a trip to a church activity. An adult male (the “defendant”) attended a church in Indiana, and drove parishioners to and from church using a van owned by the church. One day, the defendant drove a 13-year-old girl (the “victim”) and her family to and from the church. On the drive home, he told the victim that there was an activity planned for teens at the church the following day and that she should call him if she wanted to attend. The following day, the victim obtained her father’s permission to attend the church event and called the defendant to ask for a ride to the church.

The next day the defendant drove his personal vehicle to the victim’s house to pick her up. When she got in the defendant’s vehicle, he did not take her to the church, but instead drove her to a horse stable. When the victim asked why he had not driven to the church, the defendant explained that he needed to pick up some items from his home. He then drove to his home. When the defendant went inside, the victim stood at the door to wait for him. The defendant then invited the victim inside and took her to his bedroom. The victim attempted to run away, but tripped and fell onto the bed. The defendant forcibly removed the victim’s clothing and raped her while she physically resisted. When he was finished, he instructed the victim to put her clothes back on, and then drove her home. He admonished her not to tell anyone what had happened.

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