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Fallen Leaders

Any decision to hire such an individual (guilty of sexual misconduct in the past) should be based on a full consideration of several factors, including the following: (1) the nature and severity of the previous misconduct; (2) the frequency of the previous misconduct; (3) how long ago the misconduct occurred; (4) whether the minister received counseling; (5) the competency and effectiveness of any counseling received; (6) the prognosis of the counselor; (7) the likelihood that the minister will repeat the same type of misconduct now; (8) the possibility of legal liability if a jury concludes, on the basis of all the evidence, that the church was negligent in hiring the minister.

The same considerations apply if a church learns of previous incidents of misconduct after hiring a minister, since a jury might conclude that the church was negligent in retaining the individual.

Church Law & Tax Report, March/April, 1993, p. 13