(CN) – A pastor who had secret love affairs with a pair of sisters did not cause a breach of fiduciary duty through his church, a New York appeals court ruled.
Valerie Spielman and Cindy Gallo sued the Rev. Lawrence Carrino and Grace Gospel Church of Suffolk for breach of fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The trial court refused the church’s request to dismiss the case, but the justices of the Brooklyn-based second department of the New York appeals court ruled to dismiss.
The sisters did not prove that Carrino had “control and dominance” over them, which they needed to demonstrate the existence of a fiduciary duty between a cleric and congregant, the justices ruled.
“Although both sisters allege facts which they contend made them uniquely vulnerable and incapable of self-protection, that contention is belied by the acknowledgement in the complaint that they both promptly ended their relationships with Carrino once they learned he was having affairs with both of them,” the ruling states.