June 14, 2006

Vicarious Liability of the Church?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:47 am by thelawthoughts

To what extent can a person who has been sexually abused by a Catholic priest sue the institution of the church?

See this case in the US, in which it was held the person could sue the Holy See, despite its claims of immunity under the American Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, because apparently that law has an exception for tortious behaviour.

It might have been interesting to see whether the Court would apply vicarious liability. Is the church an employer? This could mean that the Church would be liable for the tortious acts of 'employees', although the acts would have to have taken place within the normal scope of the employee's employment.

That sexual abuse was part of normal employment duties of priests might seem like the reality, it would be a tough argument to get up on.

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