You trust clergy and other religious leaders to set an example for the community and rely on them for spiritual teachings and guidance. As a result, you assume that clergy will do no harm to others, especially to vulnerable children. If you or someone you love has fallen victim to a clergy member who violated your trust in the worst way possible, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. A San Francisco clergy abuse lawyer can be instrumental in investigating the circumstances that led to the abuse, uncovering the truth, and seeking justice for all victims.
The last thing you need to worry about when you and your family are dealing with this tragic situation is coming up with the money to pay your attorney. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we take your case on contingency, which means that you pay nothing upfront or out of pocket for us to get started representing your interests. When you receive compensation for your injuries, we will collect our legal fees. Call our offices at (800) 219-9622 and get more information about what you can do to hold abusive clergy members accountable for their actions.
Clergy Abuse in the U.S.
Due in large part to the efforts of churches and other religious institutions to cover up childhood sexual abuse by clergy members, accurate data on the frequency of sexual abuse in a religious setting is sparse. However, over the last 20 years, more and more survivors of clergy abuse have come forward with their stories, seeking to hold clergy members and religious entities accountable for their injuries.
While the spotlight often has been on Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals, other denominations are not immune from this catastrophic problem. Most recently, the Southern Baptist denomination has come under fire for years of sex abuse, cover-ups, and hundreds of victims whom clergy members have abused.
For example, t he Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, which provides social science research in connection with the Catholic Church, reports that almost 3,500 people made allegations of childhood abuse that occurred in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the number of allegations fell to about 2,000, with far fewer in the 1990s and 2000s. Nonetheless, more accusations have continued to come to light, especially in light of recent changes to state law regarding deadlines for filing civil claims based on sex abuse by clergy members.
California Child Victims Act Benefits Victims of Clergy Abuse
Recently, the state of California has taken steps to strengthen its laws regarding civil claims by childhood sexual assault survivors. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Child Victims Act into law in late 2019, which expanded remedies for childhood victims of sexual abuse. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §340.1, victims now have 22 years from the date on which they become adults, or age 18, in which to file civil claims based on childhood sexual assault. This revision to the law now allows these victims to file claims up until they turn 40 years old.
Additionally, state law now permits victims of childhood sexual abuse who discover an injury stemming from that abuse to file their claims within five years of the date that they discover the injury.
Furthermore, if childhood sexual assault victims have claims that the above statutes of limitations prohibit, they can file their claims at any time during a three-year period beginning on January 1, 2020. As a result, victims who can file their claims regardless of the required timeframes up until December 31, 2022. This change allows victims who otherwise would have no legal recourse to pursue their claims.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 794-0444
Compensation in Clergy Abuse Claims
When clergy abuse victims bring a civil claim against a clergy member, they are eligible for compensation for all their losses related to the abuse. These injuries may be physical, emotional, and spiritual. However, the clergy member is often not the only one who is financially responsible for the costs of clergy abuse.
These claims routinely involve not only the clergy member personally, but also the church or religious entities that employed the clergy member at the time of the abuse or protected the clergy member from repercussions. Victims also could seek an injunction or court order that requires churches to enact policies and rules to avoid similar misconduct and abuse in the future. Holding churches, synagogues, and other religious bodies accountable for the actions of their abusive clergy can deter further abuse by clergy members. A San Francisco clergy abuse lawyer can assist you in seeking justice for your losses.
The California Child Victims Act also increased the potential damages or compensation in a clergy sexual abuse claim in some cases. More specifically, if the sexual abuse involved efforts by the responsible parties to cover up the abuse, the victims can seek treble damages. In other words, once a jury has determined the appropriate amount of compensation in a sexual abuse claim, this statute requires that the victims receive three times the total amount of compensation. This provision is specifically to address the historical coverup of clergy abuse by many churches and denominations.
San Francisco Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Seeking Accountability for Clergy Abuse Survivors
Coming forward about sexual abuse by clergy members can be one of the most challenging actions that you can take. However, as more victims recount their stories, you soon will realize that you are not alone. A San Francisco clergy abuse lawyer can walk you through the steps necessary to build and prove your claim for compensation. More importantly, we can help hold religious institutions accountable for their actions in minimizing and suppressing the abuse that you and so many others have suffered.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is dedicated to helping you and other clergy abuse survivors face those who abused you, along with the churches and other entities that allowed your abuse to occur. We can assist you in sending a powerful message to religious institutions to prevent abuse and protect their most vulnerable members. Call us today at (800) 219-9622 and begin the process of seeking justice for your losses.