The Law: Pillow Talk

Pennsylvania, like many other states, repealed criminal sanctions for adultery years ago. But it still recognized the common law right of an aggrieved spouse to sue for "criminal conversation." That was the doctrine James Fadgen, then 30, a Pittsburgh teacher, invoked when he discovered that his wife Bonnie, 26, was sleeping with George Lenkner. His suit asked for compensatory and punitive damages of an unspecified amount. The case aroused more than casual interest because Lenkner, 31, was the Roman Catholic priest who had presided at the Fadgens' 1972 marriage. When a Pittsburgh court found in Fadgen's favor, Lenkner appealed. The state...

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