For decades, the public has been learning about the widespread sexual abuse committed by priests and clergy members across the U.S. Sadly, these spiritual leaders have been responsible for perpetrating unspeakable acts on the most vulnerable members of their communities.
Survivors of sexual abuse by priests and clergy members should know that they have legal rights, including filing lawsuits against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them.
Our church sexual abuse lawsuit attorneys believe that every survivor should have justice for the abuse they’ve suffered. If you or a loved one was abused by a priest or clergy member at any point in your life, know that you have somewhere to turn. Contact our team anytime to schedule a free legal consultation.
A Historical—And Ongoing—Lack of Accountability
For years, sexual assault by clergy members went unreported. Though complaints would be made privately to the Catholic Church as various levels, accused clergy members were often moved from one parish to another instead of being arrested or punished. The Church’s actions only served to put other children at risk of abuse.
In recent decades, many high profile exposés have raised awareness of the issue. The Boston Globe’s investigative reporting in 2002 showed the extent to which the Church covered up allegations of abuse. A 2017 Netflix documentary series The Keepers shed further light on the mechanism the Church used to cover up allegations of abuse.
The 2018 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report spawned nationwide investigations into clergy abuse. That report found more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania accused of sexual abuse, and the lengths to which church hierarchy would go to cover up accusations against them.
The lack of institutional and individual accountability is staggering. But despite the ongoing reports of sexual assault in churches, this lack of accountability continues. In 2019, an Associated Press investigation found that nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse live with almost no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement.
Who Should Be Held Accountable?
The priests and clergy members who committed this abuse should be held responsible for their actions. The Catholic Church is also culpable for its role in suppressing information about accused priests.
Ongoing lawsuits are seeking justice against both the abusers and the institutions that have enabled them. Our legal system might finally create some degree of accountability for the years of exploitation and abuse perpetrated against children.
Why File a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
People who were abused as children might take legal action for several reasons. First, they might wish to hold the responsible parties accountable for the crimes they’ve committed. Second, they could strengthen the voices of other survivors who have suffered similar abuses. Third, they can demand compensation for the many costs associated with childhood sexual abuse.
Survivors of abuse face many challenges in life. Post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, depression, substance abuse problems—these are all possible outcomes of living with previous sexual assault at the hands of clergy members and priests. Lawsuits can help ensure survivors have the compensation they need to get closure and rebuild their lives.
If You Need Help, We’re Here for You
Our attorneys want to help you get justice for what you’ve endured. We know that no lawsuit, however successful it is, can right the wrongs you’ve experienced. However, we also know how important it is for survivors to ensure that the institutions and individuals responsible for abuse are finally held accountable.
Let us help you explore your legal options. Contact our team today for a free, confidential consultation.
Cases may be referred to another attorney or law firm.