Key point 10-13.02. Several courts have refused to hold churches and denominational agencies liable on the basis of a breach of a fiduciary duty for the sexual misconduct of a minister. In some cases, this result is based on First Amendment considerations.
This section reviews court decisions in which a church or other religious organization was found not liable on the basis of breaching a fiduciary duty. Many courts have concluded that the First Amendment's "nonestablishment of religion" and "free exercise of religion" clauses prevent the civil courts from resolving such claims involving clergy misconduct.
• A federal court in Colorado ruled that a church was not liable on the basis of negligence or fiduciary duty for a Sunday School teacher's sexual relationship with one of his adolescent students off of church premises. Lindeman, 2014 WL ...
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