Surviving Exemption: Should the Church Exemption to ERISA Still Be in Effect?
Timothy Liam Epstein
January 23, 2004
Elder Law Journal, Vol. 11, No. 395, 2003
The question of the religious exemption to the Employee Retirement Income Security Program, commonly known as ERISA, is particularly appropriate now in light of the current sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church (the Church). ... C. Reasoning Behind the Church Plan Exemption ... Another reason for exemption may be that churches were not seen as part of the pension plan crisis that was contemporary with ERISA's enactment. ... However, it is important to note that the recommendations of the USCCB in regards to clergy retirement are not binding, as each diocese is financially separate from any national body, as well as the Vatican. ... Chicago has no insurance of their pension fund, as there is no perceived threat of bankruptcy or challenge to the pension funds. ... The year 2002 saw the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, paying out $14.25 million to thirty-six sexual abuse victim claims, while the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, paid out almost $15 million in settling eleven lawsuits. ... Knowing negligence suits against a diocese on the conduct of a priest and his superiors, or criminal sexual charges against individual priests will not reach as far as the Pope on the liability trail, plaintiffs and prosecutors have attempted class action lawsuits, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) suits, and federal Mann Act (transportation across state lines for an immoral purpose) lawsuits, in an effort to expand the liability.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: ERIS, Employment Retirement Income Security Program, Employment, Retirement, Income, Security, Program, Roman, Catholic, Chur ch, sexual, abuse, scandal, Church, Plan, Exemption, Pension, plan, cricrisis, USCCB, Vatican, Chicago, insurance, pension, fund, bankruptcy, Diocense, Providence, Rhode I,.eAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 19, 2009
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