Friday, March 25, 2016

In N.J., Registered Sex Offender Not Barred From Mentoring Youth In Church Ministry

In State of New Jersey v. S.B., (NJ App., March 22, 2016), a New Jersey appellate court held that  a youth ministry associated with a church, where a registered sex offender is a congregant volunteer, is not a "youth serving organization" under New Jersey's sex offender statute.  In the case, defendant had notified church pastors and elders of his prior sexual assault convictions, as required by state law.  The church nevertheless allowed defendant to supervise and mentor 12 to 17 year-olds at scheduled events of the No Limits Youth Ministry, such as outings, movie nights, concerts, youth group meetings, and day camp.  In affirming the dismissal of an indictment of defendant for participating in a "youth serving organization", the court concluded that the legislature deliberately excluded religious organizations from the definition of organizations in which sex offenders are barred.