Key point 4-11.1. Clergy who engage in sexual contact with an adult or minor are subject to civil liability on the basis of several legal theories. They also are subject to criminal liability.
A New Jersey appeals court affirmed the prison sentence of a pastor who engaged in “sexting” and sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. A 14-year-old girl (the “victim”) and her family lived across the street from the church they attended. The victim developed a close relationship with one of the church’s three pastors (the “defendant”). The two of them began texting each other. On one occasion, he hugged her in a way that made her uncomfortable in a backroom of the church. On another occasion, she went to speak with him in the church and he led her into a room with a couch where he initiated sexual contact with her. When he tried to flip her over, he fell and she told him to stop, which he did.