Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
The Catholic Church in Boston has been accused of many instances of sexual abuse over the years. Boston was the site of one of the first of many large-scale abuse scandals that the Catholic Church faced in the U.S., and thousands of sexual abuse victims have come forward over the years with allegations against the Church and against priests in Boston and the surrounding areas. If you were abused by a priest in the Catholic Church in Boston and need help seeking justice for what happened to you, you are not alone.
The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s Boston attorney for sexual abuse victims of priests in the Catholic Church has represented survivors of sexual abuse and institutional sexual abuse in various types of cases and can fight for you as well. Call Andrew Shubin today to set up a free, confidential consultation about your potential case. We can explain more about how to proceed with a lawsuit and help you understand what kinds of damages you might be able to claim. For your free legal consultation, call us today at (814) 826-3586.
Can You Sue the Catholic Church for Sexual Abuse in Boston?
Many victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church seek justice by filing civil lawsuits against the individual priest that abused them as well as the Church itself. In most cases filed against the Church, the defendant will not be the whole Catholic Church. Instead, you usually sue the local entity that was responsible for the harm. This could mean suing an individual parish, a Catholic school, or the Archdiocese of Boston – whichever would be appropriate. An attorney can help you determine what subdivision to file your case against.
When you sue the Church for sexual abuse, it is usually held responsible in one of two ways. First, the courts might hold the Church responsible as the abusive priest’s employer if the abuse occurred during the priest’s job duties – whether those duties be as a teacher, as a community leader, or in their liturgical functions. Alternatively, the Church could be held responsible for its own mistakes and errors in allowing the abuse to happen.
Many cases involving sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have uncovered that authorities within the Church, such as bishops and archbishops, were involved in allowing the abuse to continue. In many cases, these administrators knew about abuse allegations and failed to investigate cases, punish priests, turn over evidence to police, or admit the abuse to parishioners. Many cases have even involved the Church covering up allegations and moving priests to new communities where more people would be at risk. The Church can often be held accountable for these kinds of serious errors as well as more mild attempts to hide scandals or mismanage investigations.
Damages for Victims of Sexual Abuse by the Catholic Church
Many parts of the Catholic Church have set up relief funds for victims to help compensate them for what happened. In many cases, the compensation these funds will pay to claimants might not be as much as you deserve. Taking the Church to court could help you get the compensation you need for the harms you suffered.
Sexual abuse lawsuits can often compensate victims for any expenses and harms related to the abuse. First, this could mean getting any medical care or mental health counseling costs paid for if they were related to the event. Victims of sexual abuse – especially childhood sexual abuse – have a higher rate of diagnosis for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other disorders that need mental health treatment. Second, this could mean seeking compensation for the physical pain and discomfort you faced as well as the mental and emotional harm. Mental anguish, emotional distress, and more could all stem from the abuse you suffered.
When you sue the Catholic Church or another institution for serious abuse allegations, you could be entitled to additional compensation. Punitive damages are often ordered to punish the abusers and those who support them, especially where the events are part of a pattern of abuse or neglect. In cases against the Catholic Church for sexual abuse, punitive damages are often a large part of the damages the victim will claim.
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against the Catholic Church in Boston, MA
A statute of limitations is a law that dictates how long someone has to file a lawsuit or criminal charges for a cause of action. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases bars any claims filed too long after the events. These kinds of laws keep changing around the country in response to current events, and the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases was extended in Massachusetts a few years ago in response to complaints of sexual abuse, particularly against the Church.
Under the old statute of limitations, victims of sexual abuse had 3 years to file claims. If they were minors when the events took place, the statute of limitations would be paused until they turned 18, so they typically had until they turned 21. This is a very short timeline to file your case, but other laws might also pause the statute of limitations from running.
Now, Massachusetts General Law c. 260 § 4C sets the deadline to file a claim at 35 years after the events. This helps many people going forward, but unfortunately, this law is not retroactive. That means if the abuse took place before the deadline to file a case was changed, then you have to use the old deadline.
In any case, discovering later in life that the harm you faced resulted from sexual abuse that you did not remember can entitle you to file a case under the “discovery rule.” Talk to a lawyer for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church immediately if you have recently discovered childhood sexual abuse by a priest in your past.
Call Our Lawyer for Boston, MA Victims of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests and Clergy
If you or a loved one was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Boston, our attorney may be able to help. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s Boston attorney for sexual abuse victims of priests in the Catholic Church offers free, confidential legal consultants where you can discuss what happened to you and learn more about seeking compensation from the Church. For your free legal consultation with our institutional sexual abuse lawyers, call us today at (814) 826-3586.