Trigger Warning: This page may contain content that is painful or upsetting for individuals who have been sexually assaulted. If you experience distress while reading the following content, you can reach a support specialist through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673.
Sexual assault is illegal. But then why does it seem like so many clergy members seem to get away with child sex abuse? The law firm of Florin|Roebig is committed to protecting and serving abuse victims who are having trouble finding justice through the criminal court systems due to factors like being worried about the publicity it will bring or going up against a cover up. If you or a loved one has an abuse case to bring against the Catholic church, we can help you fight it in civil court when the criminal court system fails to bring justice to victims of sexual abuse.
What Is Clergy Sexual Abuse?
When clergy members prey on children who trust them because of their position of power within the church and commit sexual assault and molestation, clergy sexual abuse has occurred. Since children are particularly susceptible to this kind of abuse, it may take some time for abuse survivors to fully understand what happened to them and what their rights are. Feelings of shame or guilt make it harder for children to come forward against a systemic power like the archdiocese.
In instances of sexual abuse that occurs within the Catholic diocese, abuse survivors may feel even more lost, ashamed and confused due to their complicated relationship with the church. Abuse victims who have survived child sexual abuse at the hands of a high-ranking church official may feel like they can’t say anything because the church is so important, or they are otherwise unable to reconcile the abuse because of their relationship with the church.
Why Contact A Clergy Abuse Lawyer?
When people feel like they mustn’t speak of abuse that occurs within the Catholic diocese or need time to heal before they make a claim, they sometimes miss the statute of limitations to press criminal or civil charges. Unfortunately, statutes of limitations on rape don’t always leave enough time to cope with the abuse before having to make a claim.
The statute of limitations is the legally provided amount of time that someone has to file lawsuit against another (or for the government to bring criminal charges). These time frames exist for a number of reasons, including so the witnesses’ memories are reliable enough to adjudicate a case; so that police departments and law enforcement officials, like district attorneys, can work on a case that has uncorrupted evidence available; and so crime labs and law enforcement offices can ensure they always have room for new evidence.
For rape, many states set the statute of limitations around 10 years, plus or minus a few depending on the state. Some have done away with statutes of limitation completely when it comes to rape and sexual assault. Others have exceptions for things like DNA evidence and child sexual abuse. Understanding whether or not you can file a claim of any kind means knowing the laws in your state. For example, Florida has only a four-year statute of limitations while New York and New Jersey have no statute at all. Because of inconsistencies in these laws from state to state, it can be difficult to understand when to file and how long you have to heal.
The truth is healing may be a life-long process, but it shouldn’t stop you from receiving financial compensation if you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted clergy member. Both civil and criminal abuse claims can be filed, with the help of a sexual abuse attorney, against members of the archdiocese and other church officials if they are involved in a sexual abuse scandal.
Civil lawsuits can be filed in addition to criminal ones or as opposed to a criminal case. In some cases, victims may feel they don’t have the evidence required to convict a clergy member of sexual abuse beyond a reasonable doubt and they don’t want to retraumatize themselves in a very public forum like a criminal trial against a member of the archdiocese. In other cases, victims may suspect high-ranking church officials are working on a cover up and therefore would prefer to see the case tried in civil court. A civil sexual assault case may also include personal injury.
Sexual abuse lawyers can tell you whether or not you have a strong civil case and what you should do next. Any attorney advertising themselves as a sexual abuse attorney should be able to show experience bringing successful claims against the Catholic diocese. When you contact Florin|Roebig your consultation is free and the attorney-client relationship ensures the things you tell us will be securely held in confidence.
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Clergy Abuse Statistics: What You Need To Know About Clergy Sex Abuse Cases
The history of sexual abuse in the Catholic church is daunting. Between the years of 2001 and 2010, the church investigated more than 3,000 alleged cases of sexual abuse. A class action suit filed in Pennsylvania against the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh in 2018 alleges more than 1,000 cases of grooming and sexual assault that took place over many years before victims were able to seek justice.
The archdiocese responded by setting up a victim’s settlement fund where victims can apply for compensation in exchange for dropping any sexual assault claims against the church. However, Pennsylvania has other pathways for victims to receive compensation, including class action civil lawsuits. The benefit of filing a civil suit rather than just signing up for compensation is that compensation isn’t the only end result and you don’t have to sign away your right to legal action.
In the case of the Pennsylvania lawsuit, attorneys are forging ahead with civil claims to unmask the predators within the Philadelphia diocese as a condition of the child sexual abuse suit. Additionally, class action lawsuits like the one against the Catholic diocese of Philadelphia help victims stay out of the spotlight as they represent large groups of people instead of focusing on the details of individuals and their stories.
New York has also had a child sex abuse scandal within the Catholic church. The Long Island Diocese recently lost a motion to postpone justice for 86 victims of child sexual abuse that came forward when the state passed the Child Victims Act, which would allow victims of abuse at the hands of the church to file a claim in New York regardless of the statute of limitations. For many victims, this offered an opportunity they missed when the abuse occurred, but the church argued the law was unconstitutional. A claim the church lost in the trial court but is still going through an appellate process.
Catholic Church Abuse Lawyers: Experience Makes A Difference
Unfortunately, sexual abuse cases in religious institutions are all too common. The Child Victims Act seeks to protect abuse survivors who experienced molestation at the hands of a clergy member, but we still have a ways to go before victims of child sexual abuse find justice in America. Florin|Roebig is here to help. We have the experience to offer a comprehensive and free case evaluation that may result in legal action against the Roman Catholic Church.
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Florin|Roebig Clergy Abuse Attorneys: Seeking Justice For You
How long has it been? One-year? Two-years? Longer? Don’t wait. Sexual abuse claims have statutes of limitations and religious institutions have lawyers working on their side. So should you. If you’re in the United States, and have suffered due to clergy abuse at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church, even if you suspect a cover up, call us for a 100% confidential and free case evaluation.
Legal action cannot wait. You have legal rights to file a civil lawsuit against the archdiocese from anywhere in the country, whether you are in Los Angeles, California or Yonkers in New York State. Our legal team can help and support you and ensure you get the compensation owed for a sexual abuse case. Call us today.