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Home / Opinion Digests / Tort/Negligence / Tort/Negligence – Abuse by Priest – 1960’s – Charitable Immunity

Tort/Negligence – Abuse by Priest – 1960’s – Charitable Immunity

At the time plaintiff alleges she was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in South Carolina – 1961 to 1966 – the charitable immunity doctrine protected charities from liability for torts, both negligent and intentional, committed by the charities’ agents. The immunity extended to the tortfeasors’ superiors, such as the defendant-diocese in this case.

We affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment for defendant.

Although the charitable immunity doctrine was subsequently narrowed and then abolished, the abolition applied prospectively only. Even if the 1973 exception for intentional torts were applied retroactively, there is no allegation that plaintiff’s injuries were caused by intentional acts of the diocese itself or that the diocese intended to injure plaintiff.

Roe 1818 v. Bishop of Charleston (Lawyers Weekly No. 003-017-23, 6 pp.) (Per Curiam) No. 22-1754. Appealed from USDC at Charleston, S.C. (Richard Mark Gergel, J.) Lawrence Richter and James Richardson for appellant; Richard Dukes and Carmelo Sammataro for appellees.

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