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April 22nd, 2013

Can a church be liable for failing to report sex abuse by a member of the congregation?

A: Yes, under tort principles of liability in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, churches as well as their governing organizations can be held liable when one member of the congregation sexually abuses another member. However, liability is premised on a negligent act, such as increasing the risk of abuse by failing to properly supervise or otherwise monitor a church member who is a reasonably suspected sex abuser.

For example, a church could be liable in a situation where it sponsors a youth event and allows a member of the congregation, who is known to have inappropriate contact with minors, with unsupervised access to the youths at the event. Read more about church sex abuse liability.

Each case is unique and liability depends on the factual and legal issues of a given case. Any potential case involving sex abuse by a member of a church congregation should be reviewed by a lawyer who has experience handling church sex abuse cases.

Related church sex abuse articles:

Church Sex Abuse Lawyer. Representation by a Former Prosecutor

Firm founder, Guy D’Andrea, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now represents victims of sexual abuse in the civil courts. Read more about PA and NJ sex abuse lawyer Guy D’Andrea here. For more information about church or priest sex abuse cases, click here.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.