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English diocese held liable for abuse damages

CWN - July 12, 2012

An English appeals court has affirmed a lower court’s decision that the Diocese of Portsmouth can be held liable for sexual abuse by a priest and even physical abuse by a nun working in the diocese.

In a split 2-1 decision, the court ruled that a woman who sued for compensation after saying that she was beaten and raped at a concert school can bring action against the diocese. Referring to the accused priest, who is now deceased, the court said: “Father Baldwin is more like an employee than an independent contractor. He is in a relationship with his bishops, with is close enough, and so akin to employer/employee as to make it just and fair to impose vicarious liability.”

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