Church Not Liable but Suit May Continue

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The state's high court says St. James Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi aren't liable for the actions of a priest who participated in the taping of a meeting between former Governor Ray Mabus and wife, Julie, in which she admitted to an affair.

However, the justices ruled Thursday that a lawsuit filed by Julie Mabus against Jerry McBride, a former priest, can go forward in Hinds County Circuit Court.

Julie Mabus, now Julie Hines, sued McBride, the church and the diocese because of a 1998 meeting that Ray Mabus taped with McBride's knowledge but without her knowledge.

Hines claimed in her lawsuit that the tape was later used against her in the divorce. Ray Mabus contends neither the tape nor a transcript of the meeting was ever introduced in the court proceedings.

A Hinds County judge dismissed the Episcopalian diocese and St. James Church from the suit, keeping as a defendant only McBride as an individual.