Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
If you were assaulted or sexually abused by a priest in the Catholic Church, you – like many others in this country – might be entitled to compensation for what happened to you. The Catholic Church in Queens is part of the Diocese of Brooklyn, whose schools and parishes have been sued by many victims of sexual abuse.
The Queens attorney for sexual abuse victims of Catholic Church priests at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin fights for victims and their families. If you or a loved one was sexually abused by a Catholic priest, coming forward about what happened is incredibly brave, and our lawyer may be able to help you get justice. Call us today at (814) 826-3586 to set up a free, confidential legal consultation.
How Long Do Victims of Sexual Abuse by a Priest Have to Sue in Queens, NYC
New York, like most states, has a statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits. Survivors of sexual abuse have a limited amount of time to file their cases and get compensation from the Church and the priests who abused them. The statute of limitations is undergoing constant moves to extend the time that victims have, so these laws might still be changing. Check with a lawyer about which version of the law governs your case.
Under current law in New York, victims of childhood sexual abuse have until they are 55 years old to file sexual abuse claims against the individual priest who abused them and the Church institutions that allowed the abuse to occur. This only applies to child victims; victims who were over 18 when the abuse or assault occurred have a shorter time period to file. The long deadline for child victims is there to help give people time to come to terms with what happened or to discover past traumatic events that they might not have remembered.
Unfortunately for victims of abuse that occurred before this law was enacted on February 14, 2019, the law is not retroactive. That means that those victims will still be bound by the old statute of limitations. However, New York has also instituted a “look-back” window that allows anyone who was abused in the past to come forward during this limited time period and still have their case heard. The window was originally set to run from August 14, 2019 to August 13, 2020, but it was extended until August 14, 2021. There is no guarantee it will be extended again.
If your abuse took place before February 14, 2019 and you do not file your case before August 14, 2021, it may be blocked by the statute of limitations. Talk to a lawyer immediately to get help filing your case on time as older cases might have shorter statutes of limitations that only give victims a few years past their 18th birthday to file.
Getting Compensation from the Catholic Church for Sexual Abuse by a Priest in Queens
Childhood victims of sexual abuse face many different types of harm. From physical pain in some cases to mental and emotional distress in almost every case, victims of abuse often seek medical treatment or mental health care. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often have PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions related to the abuse they endured. The pain, discomfort, mental anguish, and emotional distress can also be considered harm on its own, even if there are no records or documents that can prove these harms. Victims can often claim these damages against the priest and the church subdivision that harmed them.
In many lawsuits against priests for sexual abuse, the Church will pay these damages. Even though your lawsuit will usually be filed against the individual priest who abused you, you can usually sue the Church as well for any of the following issues:
- Hiring priests they knew or should have known were abusive
- Covering up past allegations of abuse
- Moving known abusers to new parishes
- Failing to appropriately investigate allegations of abuse
- Putting previously abusive priests into Catholic schools
In many cases of abuse in the Catholic Church across the country, bishops, archbishops, and other administrators in the Church knew about abuse allegations or actively worked to cover them up, potentially opening more children and parishioners to harm. In many cases, this can result in additional damages paid by the Church.
“Punitive damages” are often ordered in cases where institutions committed serial abuses or participated in serious negligence that allowed a pattern of harm. Punitive damages against the Catholic Church might be available in your case, increasing the overall compensation you can claim.
How to Report Sexual Abuse by the Catholic Church in Queens
Recalling childhood sexual abuse and coming forward about those events can be incredibly difficult. Our attorney is available for consultations to help you figure out how to report the abuse, to help you understand what options you have, and to file your claim for you.
Civil claims against the Church are the main method for seeking compensation for the harm you faced. These claims are filed with the courts, and notice of the claim is served upon the abuser and the church. Our attorney can help with this.
The Church might have its own victim’s fund that you could file with for compensation. However, you should always work with a lawyer for victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church since the damages paid through these funds might not account for all of the harm you suffered.
You can also report sexual abuse by a Catholic priest to the police. They can press charges and pursue a criminal case against the abusive priest. However, criminal cases usually focus on the offender instead of the victim, and they do not help you get the payments for counseling and other help that you need. Talk to a lawyer about filing a civil claim alongside any criminal charges; filing a criminal case does not stop you from taking your abuser to civil court.
Call Our Lawyer for Victims of Sexual Abuse by Priests and Clergy in Queens
If you or a loved one was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a Catholic priest or other Church employee, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin. Our Queens attorney for sexual abuse victims of Catholic Church priests may be able to take your case and fight to get you the help you need and the financial compensation you deserve. For a free, confidential consultation with our institutional sexual abuse lawyers, call us at (814) 826-3586.