Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Filing a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit is an option for men and women who were sexually violated by priests, rabbis, and ministers as children. Even if your abuse occurred long ago, new laws like the Child Victims Act recently passed by New York State could allow you to hold the Catholic Church and other religious institutions accountable for enabling your abuser.

Compensation for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now investigating legal claims on behalf of individuals who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, minister, or rabbi while they were children.

While nothing can make up for the pain and betrayal you’ve endured, compensation from a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit will help you access therapy and other services you need to recover from your trauma and rebuild your life.

Coming forward and holding religious leaders accountable will also help ensure that no other children suffer as you have.

To contact a Clergy Sexual Abuse lawyer for a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation, please call (888) 994-5118 or fill out the form on this page.

Religious Leaders Allowed Clergy Sexual Abuse to Remain Unchecked for Decades

For decades, priests and other clergy have abused thousands of children throughout the United States.

In nearly every case, abusers were allowed to victimize multiple children again and again because religious authorities actively worked to cover-up their crimes and protect predatory clergy from prosecution.

In Pennsylvania, for example, a grand jury’s review of “secret documents” obtained from Dioceses around the state, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton, uncovered more than 1,000 accounts of abuse reported to church officials.

Rather than turn predator priests over to secular authorities for prosecution, Bishops and other church official in Pennsylvania transferred offenders to unsuspecting parishes and intimidated their victims into silence. In several cases, diocesan administrators even worked to convince law enforcement authorities to drop active investigations into credible abuse allegations.

Since the Pennsylvania grand jury released its report, Attorneys General in more nearly a dozen states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Vermont, have launched their own investigations of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

While abuse by Catholic priests has garnered most of the recent headlines, sexual abuse scandals have also rocked many other faith communities, including the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and Judaism.

In many of these cases, religious leaders also ignored the danger predatory clergy posed to the children in their care, concealed their crimes, and enabled the abuse.

Catholic Church Priest Abuse Settlements

Thousands of people have successfully pursued clergy sexual abuse lawsuits against the Catholic Church in the United States. As of August 2018, the Church had paid more than $3 billion to settle many of these cases.

Some of the most notable Catholic Church abuse settlements include:

  • $210 Million Paid by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: In May 2018, the Archdiocese settled claims filed by 450 clergy sexual abuse survivors. A total of 91 priests listed as credibly accused sex offenders for the first time.
  • $40 Million Paid by New York Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP): 189 survivors have so far received an average payout of $211,600.00
  • $21 Million paid by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee: In 2015, the Archdiocese reached a settlement agreement with 330 abuse survivors.
  • $1.6 Million paid by Roman Catholic Church of Rochester, NY: In June 2018, the church reported that $1.6 million was paid to 20 survivors abused by 24 priests.

States are Making it Easier to File a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

According to statistics from Child USA, the majority of child sexual abuse survivors don’t report their abuse, if they do at all, until the average age of 52.

Sometimes, victims are unable to come forward because of prolonged or delayed trauma. Others were intimidated into staying quiet or too ashamed to report their abuse. And still others repressed their memories of abuse for decades.

Consequently, many of these survivors were blocked from filing clergy sexual abuse lawsuits because their state’s statute of limitations required that they bring a case within just a few years of their 18th or 21st birthday.  A few are even more draconian and require victims to file suit within just two or three years from the date of the incident.

Fortunately, states are beginning to recognize the long-term affects of child sexual abuse, and several have extended their statute of limitations to allow survivors more time to file civil lawsuits against their childhood abusers and their enablers.

Others have opened short-term “windows” that allow adult survivors to file child sexual abuse lawsuits, no matter how long ago their abuse occurred.

In Pennsylvania, for example, survivors of sexual abuse have until their 30th birthday to file a civil lawsuit, and until their 50th birthday to bring criminal charges.

For decades, New York required survivors to bring criminal or civil charges against their abuser by the age of 23. Even worse, they were barred from filing civil claims against the Catholic Church or other institutions that enabled their abuser by the age of 21.

But in January 2019, the New York legislature finally passed the Child Victims Act, which gives  child sex abuse survivors until the age of 55 to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser and any institution that harbored them. The new law  also gives survivors until the age of 28 to seek criminal felony charges and extends the deadline for pursing a misdemeanor case until their 25th birthday.

Abuse survivors had fought for years to pass the New York Child Victims Act, but opposition by the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and the insurance industry had stymied their efforts. Ironically, recent disclosures regarding abuse by Roman Catholic Priests in Pennsylvania may have helped to finally break the log jam in New York.

Learn More About Filing a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

If you or someone you love were abused by a clergy member, our attorneys are ready the help you hold your abuser accountable and obtain the compensation you need to rebuild your life.

To learn more about filing a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit, please call (888) 994-5118.

Last Modified: February 1, 2019

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