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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Court Decisions Recognizing Negligent Retention Claims

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-07.1
Key point 10-07.1. Some courts have found churches liable on the basis of negligent retention for the sexual misconduct of ministers and other church workers on the ground that the church was negligent in retaining the offender after receiving credible information indicating that he or she posed a risk of harm to others.

Some courts have concluded that churches can be sued on the basis of negligent retention for the sexual misconduct of ministers and other church staff.

Case Studies

• A federal appeals court concluded that two female church employees could sue the minister who had seduced them since he had "held himself out" as a qualified marital counselor. However, the court dismissed all of the employees' claims against the church, including ...

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