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March 11th, 2013

Is a church responsible for a priest or pastor’s sexual abuse of a child?

A: Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, simply employing a pedophile priest/pastor does not automatically make the church liable if the priest or pastor sexually abuses a child. Rather, the church can be liable if church officials were negligent in some way that contributed to the abuse or if church officials took active steps to hide or conceal the abuse.

The reality is that churches, like schools, are small communities. When a priest or pastor starts grooming a child for sex abuse, others often take notice. Then, sexual abuse may occur because others within the church were too afraid to speak up. This is the kind of situation which may result in a church’s liability. In addition, other negligent behavior which often leads to liability of a church includes:

  • failure to have a policy about reporting of sexual abuse or sexual behavior of priests/pastors,
  • failure to train church employees about the policy,
  • failure to report reasonably suspected sex abuse of a child, and
  • failure to investigate an allegation of child sex abuse.

Related Priest/Pastor Sex Abuse Legal Articles:

Priest & Church Member Sex Abuse Lawyer

Former sex crimes unit prosecutor, Guy D’Andrea, has devoted his entire career to helping victims of sex abuse find justice. For a free, confidential consultation about a priest/clergy sex abuse case, call Click To Call.

Mr. he’s law firm has the resources and experience to handle matters outside the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, and the firm’s sex abuse lawyers can be admitted on a special basis in other states such as New York.

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