Former Baptist Minister admits abuse

Posted by Malcolm Johnson on

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The BBC reports that a 70 year old man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a young girl in a Scottish town between 2003 and 2006. The offender has been placed on the sex offenders register.

Can a compensation claim be brought by victims of abuse?

Although this case originates from Scotland, the law of England and Wales provides a number of routes whereby a victim of abuse can obtain compensation, firstly against the abuser direct and secondly to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Increasingly we are seeing the use of criminal compensation orders by the courts, where the criminal courts orders the perpetrator to make a direct payment to his or her victim. The routes to compensation do not stop there. Although in this case, there is no suggestion in the BBC report that the man abused the girl whilst acting in the course of his employment as a Baptist Minister, it may be possible to hold a priest or minister's employers 'vicariously liable'  for the abuse that he commits, if that abuse is held to be closely connected with his employment.Vicarious liability can apply even though the victim is not in fact a member of the church where the priest or minister works.

This is what happened in the case of MAGA v The Trustees of the Birmingham Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church [2009] EWHC 780 (QB) where initially the High Court held that there was no vicarious liability on the part of a diocese that employed a priest, but later the Court of Appeal held that there was vicarious liability in this situation.

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About the Author

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Malcolm is an Senior Associate in our London office, with nearly twenty years' experience.

Malcolm Johnson
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