skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 148034 Find in a Library
Journal: Illinois Bar Journal  Volume:82  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1994)  Pages:194- 196,223
Author(s): D V White
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 3
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines constitutional considerations and potential causes of civil action in cases of clergy misconduct in the context of marital counseling.
Abstract: Regarding constitutional issues in alleged clergy misconduct, the courts have held that when the alleged wrongdoing of a cleric falls outside the beliefs and doctrine of the cleric's religion, there is no protection from the First Amendment. Cases arising out of clergy misconduct have also been subjected to an establishment clause analysis. The leading test for determining whether state action has violated the establishment clause was presented in Lemon v. Kurtzman. In this case, the three- pronged test requires that the state action have a secular purpose, its principal effect be neither to advance nor inhibit religion, and it does not foster excessive state entanglement with religion. Cases that have arisen out of clergy misconduct within the marital counseling relationship have been premised on a variety of theories. These include clergy malpractice, counseling malpractice, and breach of fiduciary duty. Although clergy malpractice and counseling malpractice suits have generally failed, traditional tort theories, which have long proved adaptable to new facts, hold greater promise. These theories present the least likelihood of state entanglement with religion and provide a familiar framework within which courts can work. 70 notes
Main Term(s): Victims rights
Index Term(s): Civil remedies; Counseling; Courts; Religion; Sexual behavior
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.