High Court of New York Affirms Dismissal of Complaint Focused on Sexual Relationship Occurring During Pastoral Counseling; Ruling Not Disturbed

Wende C. v. United Methodist Church, 827 N.E.2d 265 (N.Y. 2005), cert. denied, 126 S. Ct. 346 (2005)

A married couple obtained individual counseling services from their church pastor. In the course of this counseling, the wife and the pastor developed a sexual relationship that lasted several months.  After the husband discovered the affair, the couple filed a suit against the pastor and the church for sexual battery (for unwanted touching) and for clergy malpractice stemming from a breach of fiduciary duties.  Because the pastor was not licensed as a professional counselor, a complaint could not be filed with a licensing body.  The New York Court of Appeals ruled that the lawsuit could not be pursued...

Found in DMHL Volume 25 Issue 1