Pastor's Affair

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A jury ordered a former minister to pay more than two (m) million dollars in a lawsuit filed by a man whose wife had an affair with the pastor who was counseling the couple over marital problems.

Jim Faulkner sued former Dalraida Church of Christ pastor Floyd Bailey after discovering the sexual relationship between Bailey and his wife, Paris Faulkner, in 2000. Paris Faulkner was Bailey's secretary at the time.

Bailey left the Montgomery County courthouse hours before yesterday's verdict and could not be reached for comment.

Faulkner claimed Bailey used his position as a pastor and marriage counselor to bring an end to his marriage.

Bailey argued he was acting as a minister, not a counselor, when he advised the Faulkners. The distinction is important because ministers cannot be sued for negligence or malpractice under Alabama law, unless they take on the role of a counselor.

Kline Johnson, director of Baptist Family Resource and Counseling Center, said verdicts like the one against Bailey could affect pastors' willingness to give advice to church members.