$25M suit for affair with priest

The plaintiff alleges she gave in to the defendant priest’s sexual advances after confessing her marital difficulties to him.  She alleges the priest assured her the sex was “ordained by God” so she thereafter engaged in intercourse with him.  This, of course, is all due to the negligence of the local Catholic diocese according to her suit and not her own poor judgment in falling for such a lame pickup line.  (“Confession Obsession?”, The Smoking Gun, Oct. 29).


  • If two consenting adults both willingly bought into the ‘ordained by god’ line (one throwing the line, the other grabbing it) then how is the court to decide whether their actions were proper?

  • I am not a lawyer, but as an MD here is my answer:
    Because a priest is not just another person. They are professionals who are given certain priviledges by society, i.e. the secrecy of the confessional, and in exchange are held to a different standard. I think that it would be easy to argue that a priest has more leverage regarding moral decisions than somebody you meet in a bar.

  • I agree with Mark, it is different because of leverage. But her lawsuit should fail (unless their are other facts) because, in the end, she has to take responsibility for her own actions. Increased leverage or no, her obiigation to do the right thing is unchanged and will almost certatinly prove fatal to her lawsuit.

  • Can she prove the sex wasn’t ordained by God?

  • The law in this area in NY State is well established. See Marmelstein v. Kehillat New Hempstead


    One cannot claim fraud or breach of fiduciary duty; the claim cannot fly.

    In any event, the lawyer who took the case should know better, but he’ll find out soon enough.