Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime that leaves survivors struggling, often for years, to cope with their trauma. For many survivors, it can take decades to process their abuse and feel ready to stand up to their abuser. A greater understanding of how hard it is for survivors to come forward has led California, along with many other states, to make changes to the statute of limitations for civil cases of child sexual abuse.
If you were sexually abused by a clergy member, reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to find out more about how a Los Angeles clergy abuse lawyer can help you seek compensation in a lawsuit. Call us today.
California’s Extended Statute of Limitations and “Lookback Window”
According to ChildUSA, California is a leader in updating legislation pertaining to the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases. In 2003, it was one of the first states to expand its statute of limitations, as well as provide a one-year lookback window for survivors to take legal action.
In 2019, the statute of limitations was again extended, and another look back window was provided. Assembly Bill No. 218 (AB 218) gives survivors who were sexually abused under the age of 18 until age 40 to sue their abuser or a third party, such as a church. The law also gives survivors three years, starting from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2022, to file cases that previously would have been barred by the statute of limitations.
Another provision of the legislation allows survivors older than 40 to file a lawsuit within five years of when they discovered their injuries or illnesses were the results of childhood sexual abuse. Survivors may also file suit after age 40 against a person or entity that knew or had reason to know of sexual misconduct that posed a risk of child sexual assault on the part of an employee, representative, or another agent.
The Catholic Church’s History of Covering Up Abuse
In recent years, the Catholic Church has faced thousands of allegations of child sexual abuse dating back decades, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2019, survivors made more than 4,400 new allegations, nearly triple that of the previous year. The Church has paid survivors millions of dollars in claims for its role in sheltering abusive clergy members.
Survivors of child sexual abuse can experience devastating physical and emotional consequences for the rest of their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), survivors may suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and an increased risk for suicide and suicide attempts. Survivors often have difficulty forming meaningful relationships and are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors or have a physically abusive intimate partner. Survivors are more likely to have physical injuries or a chronic health condition, like heart disease, obesity, or cancer. In addition, survivors are at a high risk of abusing alcohol and/or drugs.
If you were victimized, a Los Angeles clergy abuse lawyer may be able to help you seek a settlement for your monetary damages, as well as compensation for years of pain and suffering. You can pursue awards for the costs of any past or future medical or mental health treatments resulting from your abuse. You may be able to seek a sum for the monetary impact the effects of your abuse have had on your ability to work and achieve financial success. You may also be compensated for the years of stress and mental anguish you have endured.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn more about what kind of damages you can recover.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Survivors Often Wait Years to Break Their Silence
If you have never reported the abuse you experienced as a child, you are not alone. Survivors often require years, if not decades, to come to terms with their experiences. ChildUSA found the average age child sexual abuse survivors disclose abuse is 52. This is why it is so important for statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse to continue to evolve.
There are many obstacles that make it difficult for child victims to report abuse. Survivors may have a lot of confusion about their experiences, both at the time of the abuse and into adulthood. Children may not understand what they are experiencing or recognize it as abuse. They may not understand how to communicate what is happening, or they may remain silent out of fear or feelings of shame and/or guilt.
As adults, survivors may continue to feel self-blame, or they may question their own memories. Often, sexual assault survivors disconnect from their feelings, actions, or memories to protect themselves from trauma. They may also engage in denial. This means it may be many years before survivors remember their abuse or realize how their abuse is responsible for their current suffering.
If you are working through the trauma of child sexual abuse, you can find help. With therapy and support, you can work on recovery. To learn more about services available to help survivors, see how the Rape Abuse & Incest International Network (RAINN) can serve you.
Los Angeles Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
You Can Get Started on Your Case Today
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you pursue justice. Sexual assault of a child is wrong, and there is no excuse for this type of violation. Your abuser and the Church should be held financially responsible for your suffering and damages.
A Los Angeles clergy abuse lawyer can help. They can assist you with filing your case under California’s extended statute of limitations or lookback window. It is not too late for you to receive compensation. Our services cost you nothing upfront and nothing out of pocket. To take advantage of our risk-free consultations, call our offices at (800) 219-9622.