Thanks to the brave actions of clergy abuse survivors, what was once a hidden epidemic has seen increased public attention in the last decade. Since the initial trickle of courageous victims coming forward, thousands of survivors have found the courage to face their abusers and fight for the justice they deserve. As more victims come forward, the public and the courts are forced to acknowledge the pervasiveness of the abuse and take increased actions to prevent further abuse from happening.
These are sensitive issues that are rife with pain, trauma, and life-long psychological injuries. If you’re the victim of clergy abuse and are ready to take legal action, we commend you and recognize the internal strength it takes to speak your truth. A San Bernardino clergy abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will bring insight, compassion, and expertise to the table. Call (800) 219-9622 for a risk-free, no-obligation consultation today.
Clergy Abuse Across the Country
Given the inherent position of power that accompanies life in the clergy, sexual abuse by clergy members has gone largely unreported for decades. Victims are often children at the time of the abuse. They frequently feel intimidated by their abuser and frequently struggle with fears of betraying their faith if they report abuse.
Thankfully, survivors have started to come forward in increasing numbers. The Washington Post reports 4,434 allegations of abuse between July 2018 and June 2019. Of these accusations, about half were declared credible by the Catholic Church.
As these brave men and women file lawsuits, press criminal charges, seek compensation, and fight for justice, courts across the country have taken action to protect their rights. California, along with a number of other states, has implemented a variety of new legal codes outlining what constitutes abuse, extending the statute of limitations time periods, and offering legal recourse to anyone who has suffered at the hands of a clergy member.
Signs of Clergy Abuse
While everyone manifests trauma differently, there are a number of behaviors that are known as symptoms of sexual abuse. If a loved one has been actively involved in their faith and suddenly starts exhibiting any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to take action. Involve a mental health professional to provide your loved one with a safe space in which to uncover, process, and heal from the trauma before turning your attention to fighting for justice.
Signs of clergy abuse can include:
- Unexplained and sudden mistrust of those in authority.
- Inappropriate sexual comments and behaviors, especially from younger children.
- Anxiety, phobias, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
- Sexually transmitted infections and other physical injuries.
Clergy abuse goes beyond harming the victim. It causes incredible harm to the entire community. Trust in the clergy is reduced. Anxiety and fear permeate all those who’ve come in contact with the parish or diocese associated with the accused.
If a loved one is exhibiting any of these signs, contact a San Bernardino clergy abuse lawyer for an outline of your next steps and guidance on how to begin fighting for justice for you, your family, and other parishioners in the county.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving San Bernadino, call (800) 794-0444
Clergy Abuse Laws in San Bernardino
Abuse survivors have the right to sue their abusers, along with any others whose actions led to the abuse or covered up the abuse. While no amount of monetary compensation can erase the painful impact of clergy abuse. It can, however, ensure you have the financial means to get the help and support you need to heal. It can also work to protect others from becoming victims of the same abuse you suffered.
In October of 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 218 into effect. This new bill extends the time given to victims to file a claim against clergy members. Under this new bill, the fact that it can take years for victims to find the strength to come forward with an abuse lawsuit is recognized by giving victims until the age of 40 to file. Additionally, the law triples the damages awarded to victims in cases where someone else tried to cover up the abuse.
Under this new bill:
- Adults who have suffered clergy abuse as children have until they turn 40 years old – or five years from the date they discovered the abuse – to file a civil lawsuit against the clergy member.
- Implements a “look back” period that allows victims of any age three years to file civil lawsuits against abusers — this includes anyone who had previously been banned from filing by the statute of limitations.
- Revives any lawsuits that were previously filed but not litigated to finality due to the statute of limitations.
If the specifics of your case meet these criteria, you are not alone, and you have legal recourse. You have the right to press criminal charges against the abuser and file a civil lawsuit against the abuser, the church, the diocese, and any other involved parties.
A clergy abuse lawyer can help by:
- Providing a safe and confidential space to open up about your abuse.
- Answering questions about the viability of your claim, the documentation you will need to proceed, estimated compensation settlement amounts, and more.
- Communicating with the church, the diocese, and experts to determine what happened and hold the alleged abusers accountable for their actions.
- Filing a lawsuit on your behalf and litigating in court if need be.
San Bernadino Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
How a San Bernardino Lawyer Can Help
Even if you haven’t reported your abuse to the diocese or you have missed the stated statute of limitations, you may still be eligible to seek compensation. A San Bernardino clergy abuse lawyer can act as your advocate and ensure your voice is heard. Furthermore, clergy abuse lawyers understand what it takes to successfully file a lawsuit against a clergy member. We can walk you through it every step of the way.
If found guilty, accusers may be expected to compensate you for damages that include:
- Loss of Current and Future Wages: Whether it be physical or emotional, if you have lost wages or earning capacity as a result of the injuries associated with your abuse, you may be able to be fully compensated for these wages.
- Medical Expenses: These can include psychiatric medication costs, rehabilitation costs for stress-related injuries and illnesses, and more. You may be entitled to seek compensation for any injuries resulting from the abuse and its aftermath.
- Emotional Pain and Suffering: Emotional turmoil, pain, and suffering can include depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias, and more. You may be able to seek compensation for the treatment and recovery from a host of emotional disturbances.
If you have survived abuse at the hands of a clergy member, do not allow misplaced shame prevent you from taking action. If you have been abused, do not hesitate. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm we work with you on a contingency basis. We collect nothing until you win, so call (800) 219-9622 for a free consultation.