Once hidden in secrecy, clergy abuse has come out of the shadows and is now recognized as a pervasive problem. According to NBC News, almost 1,700 members of the Catholic clergy were accused of abuse of minors in 2019. As a result, many states have worked to enact laws designed to protect victims and provide legal recourse for those whose rights have been violated in such a profound way. With children being the most commonly victimized, clergy abuse can be life-altering and traumatic.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand that it can take years for victims to feel strong enough to come forward. If you have lived through abuse by a clergy member, you are not alone, and you deserve justice. A Modesto clergy abuse lawyer wants to be there for you to fight for your rights through a lawsuit against the clergy member who abused you. Call a member of our team today at (800) 219-9622 to schedule a risk-free consultation.
Signs and Effects of Clergy Abuse
The position of power that clergy members enjoy puts them in a unique position. This power gives them the ability to manipulate and intimidate those in their community. Especially if the victim is a child, recognizing the signs of clergy abuse can be vital in protecting them.
Common signs of clergy abuse include:
- Signs of sexually transmitted infections or physical trauma
- Bedwetting and fear of being alone
- Increased inappropriate sexual behaviors or comments
- Sudden mistrust of adults
While the psychological impact of clergy abuse varies from person to person, there are a number of emotional disturbances that commonly show up in victims of abuse. Children can develop sleep and eating issues, persistent depression and anxiety, and more. Signs of abuse in adolescents and adults tend to manifest as substance abuse, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.
If you believe a loved one has been abused, a Modesto clergy abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you determine your next steps, file a claim before the statute of limitations expires, and act as your advocate every step of the way.
Clergy Abuse Laws in California
Understanding the fact that many victims are not able to come forward and file a lawsuit until adulthood—often years after the abuse has taken place—California recently expanded the statute of limitations to give individuals a larger window of time to file a claim.
The California Child Victims Act (Assembly Bill [AB]-218) allows victims to file a lawsuit:
- Up until the age of 40
- Up to five years after the discovery of psychological injury resulting from the abuse
- During a three-year “look-back” window that runs from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2022, even if these individuals would otherwise be considered outside of the established time limit.
While victims obviously have the ability to file criminal charges, a civil lawsuit simply holds the abuser accountable for financially compensating the victim for damages caused by the abuse. Victims filing civil lawsuits must adhere to the state’s statute of limitations that state:
- If the abuse happened after their 18th birthday, victims are given 10 years from the date of the abuse or three years from the date of the discovery of an injury to file.
- If the abuse happened as a minor, victims are given until their 40th birthday or five years from the date of discovery of a psychological injury.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Modesto, call (800) 794-0444
Advocate for Your Rights
Many victims stay silent for years. You do not have to suffer alone. Working with a clergy abuse lawyer to file a claim does more than help secure financial recovery for you and your family. Standing up for your rights gives you the power to heal, holds clergy members as a whole accountable, and can prevent the same abuse from happening to others.
Additional damages you may be able to claim include:
- Medical Expenses: Including stress-related conditions, any physical injuries resulting directly from the abuse, medications associated with long-lasting conditions, or current mental health conditions.
- Emotional Pain and Suffering: Including emotional turmoil, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.
- Loss of Wages and Reduced Earning Capacity: Including any wages lost as a result of an inability to work, whether due to physical injury or emotional duress.
- Physical or Emotional Disabilities: Including long-lasting and life-altering physical and psychological conditions that lower your quality of life, ability to earn an income, and overall well-being.
A clergy abuse lawyer can walk you through the specifics of your case, help you initiate an investigation, and advise you on what compensation you would be most likely to receive.
Modesto Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
A Modesto Clergy Abuse Lawyer Can Help
Many victims find themselves overwhelmed, confused, and triggered as they contemplate building their case. Facing abusers can feel scary until you understand the laws that are in place to protect you, your dignity, and your rights. A clergy abuse lawyer can guide you through the tangled legal process while keeping your best interests in mind.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand how hard it is to come forward and take legal action against your abuser. We also understand the profound mental anguish clergy abuse can cause victims, even if the abuse was in the past.
Call a member of our legal team today at (800) 219-9622 to schedule a risk-free consultation. We will walk you through your legal rights, advise you on the next steps, and outline a plan of action. From there, we work on a contingency fee basis. We collect nothing until you win.