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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

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

Court Decisions Recognizing Negligent Supervision Claims

§ 10.09.01
Key point 10-09.01. Some courts have found churches liable on the basis of negligent supervision for a worker's acts of child molestation on the ground that the church failed to exercise reasonable care in the supervision of the victim or of its own programs and activities.

This section reviews court decisions in which a church or other religious organization was found liable on the basis of negligent supervision for a worker's acts of child molestation.

Case studies
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that the church knew of the risk the pastor was to children, and yet "instead of keeping him away from children altogether, they disregarded [his] misconduct and allowed him to have unsupervised contact with children. Instead of responding to [his] pedophilic behavior, they concealed and ignored it. [The church] knew [his] history and was in a position to prevent him from repeating it, yet for years it willfully allowed him to go on molesting children with impunity. [Its] inaction in the face of such a menace is not only negligent, it is reckless and abhorrent."[110] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Hutchinson v. Luddy, 1999 WL 1062862 (Pa. 1999).

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