Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
The Catholic Church has been through many accusations of sexual assault, molestation, grooming, and other sexual misconduct committed against children and other parishioners over the years. With more and more cases coming to light, various states are working hard to ensure that the survivors of these abuses have the chance to come forward and bring their abusers and the institutions that protected them to court.
Victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church are often entitled to file lawsuits against the individual priests, lay clergy, teachers, or administrators that assaulted them as well as the local parish, diocese, or archdiocese that failed to keep the victim safe or that covered-up abuse and allowed these perpetrators to cycle back into churches and schools. If you or a loved one was a victim of abuse, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today to schedule a free legal consultation with our attorney for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Our number is (814) 826-3586.
Suing the Catholic Church for Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct
Survivors of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct are permitted in most states to file civil lawsuits against their abuser to seek compensation for the wrongs they were subjected to. In many of these cases, criminal charges might be available as well, but those charges will often do little to help the victim, focusing on punishing the wrongdoing instead of restoring the victim. You may have suffered years of mental anguish and emotional distress because of the trauma you endured, and you deserve substantial compensation.
Our attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the priest or other individual who abused you as well as the institutions that permitted this abuse. These lawsuits depend on the laws of the state where the abuse occurred, but laws in almost every state allow you to file a civil lawsuit for physical or sexual abuse or unwanted touching.
These cases often allow you to sue the Church as well for the priest’s misconduct. These lawsuits can come under a few different theories, holding the church accountable for the following:
- If the church provided negligent security or supervision that allowed victims to be abused, they could be held partly responsible.
- If the church had notice of claims of sexual abuse but failed to investigate and root out abuse, they could be liable for continued abuse.
- If the church had actual knowledge of sexual abuse but covered up the abuse, kept abusive clergy on staff, or moved them around to new communities, they could be complicit and held liable for their actions.
Our attorneys can help investigate your claim and work to hold your individual abuser and the parish, diocese, archdiocese, or Catholic school responsible for sexual abuse.
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Claims Against Catholic Priests and Clergy
The amount of time that you have to file your claim against the individual priest and the Church itself will vary from state to state. In most states, there is still a statute of limitations that prevents lawsuits from being filed if the alleged conduct happened too long ago. In some states, the deadline to file sexual assault allegations is very short, and you may only have 2 or 3 years to bring your claim. Other claims are longer for sexual abuse of a minor, but the deadline may be short for adult victims.
Some states may pause or “toll” the state of limitations for various reasons. Often, the victim can wait until they are 18 before the clock begins running for abuse that occurred while they were a child. Sometimes the defendant’s absence from the state pauses the statute of limitations clock, which is very helpful if the Church moved the abusive priest to a different state.
Other states have long statutes of limitations or no statute of limitations for sexual abuse or sexual abuse of a minor. The law is constantly changing, and some states may open up one-time periods where any claim can be filed during transitionary periods, as New York did in 2019.
Lastly, some states have a deadline that is different for cases filed against the individual priest and cases filed against the church. Talk to a lawyer for help understanding how long you have to file your claim.
Compensation for Sex Abuse by the Church
If you suffered harm at the hands of a priest and an institution that refused to help, you may be entitled to substantial damages. If you suffered health care or mental health care expenses as a result of the abuse, you could be entitled to have those costs covered in full. If you suffered physical or mental effects that made it difficult to work at a job, you may be entitled to claim damages for lost wages or reduced earning capacity as well. In most cases, there is also substantial pain and suffering to compensate, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. Moreover, many cases may result in “punitive damages” to punish the institution and the individuals for widespread, repeat, or pervasive misconduct.
Call Our Attorneys for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by the Catholic Church
If you or a loved one was subject to sexual abuse by a priest, clergyman, or another employee of the Church or a Catholic school, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today. Our attorney for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the harm you suffered and fight to get you justice for the abuse you faced. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our law offices immediately at (814) 826-3586 to see if you have time to file your claim and how much your case might be worth.