Legal Developments

Richard Hammar’s Review of Cases Affecting Ministers and Churches
Find summaries of key state and federal court decisions, administrative rulings, and legislative developments. While each development is important, some are vital. Look for Key Point as an indicator.
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Newest DevelopmentsView All

Confidential and Privileged Communications

Defendant's Meeting with Pastor Was Not for Spiritual Advice Member access only

Man accused of sexual abuse of stepdaughter not protected by clergy-penitent privilege.
October 2020
Church Finances

A Christian Ministry’s Fundraising Violated Federal Securities Laws Member access only

Churches should never assume they are automatically exempt from federal regulations when raising funds by selling securities.
October 2020
Confidential and Privileged Communications

A Murder Confession to a Pastor Not Considered Privileged Member access only

The defendant waived clergy-penitent privilege by sharing substantial statements with others.
September 2020
Embezzlement

Pastor Guilty of Embezzling Funds from a Local PTA Member access only

Case demonstrates that ministers can face criminal liability for embezzlement.
August 2020
Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Lay Employees, and Volunteers

Christian College Not Liable for Sexual Misconduct of Former Student Hired by a Church Member access only

Churches should be aware that states are divided on liability based on recommendations related to hiring.
July 2020