Father Dennis Kemp, Pastor at St. Monica’s Church on Mercer Island, has been suspended during the pendency of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor. Details surrounding the allegations have not been released and the King County Prosecutors’ Office has declined to press charges.
It appears that Father Kemp will not face criminal charges for the alleged conduct. However, he still could be liable in a civil lawsuit if the victim can prove that the inappropriate activity occurred. In criminal cases, the state must prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in most civil cases, the plaintiff only needs to show the truth of the allegations by a “preponderance of the evidence”–which means more likely than not. Just because someone isn’t prosecuted criminally doesn’t mean they aren’t still liable in the civil context.