No one deserves to be abused, nor should they have to suffer in silence. Tragically, many sexual abuse survivors are afraid or apprehensive about speaking out because of shame, guilt, or fear. These complex emotions, and survivors’ reluctance to report incidents, are often a result of the abusers’ status as an authority figure in the survivors’ life.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), most child abuse survivors have suffered at the hands of someone they know and trust. These people include family members, teachers, or religious figures, such as a clergy member.
In 2018-2019, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church reported there were 4,343 allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy members in the year 2018-19, according to the Los Angeles Times. That is three times the amount of the previous year. Many of the victims who have recently come forward were abused decades ago.
Sadly, this number is still most likely a vast underrepresentation of the real number of clergy abuse survivors. Nonetheless, many survivors have found strength in numbers and solidarity and validation in witnessing others’ testimonies.
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understands the immense physical, psychological, and emotional pain sexual assault can cause and how this type of trauma can impact a person for years, even a lifetime. They also understand how difficult it can be for survivors to discuss their experience with loved ones or law enforcement, let alone strangers.
However, a San Jose clergy abuse lawyer also wants survivors to know that pursuing justice for the harm done to them may help equip them with resources to heal and move forward. Seeking retribution may also help survivors achieve a sense of peace. And equally important, pursuing justice may encourage positive change. This may include prompting the Church to dismiss or defrock abusers and take sexual abuse claims more seriously. It may also prevent others from being abused at the hands of active clergy members who have harmed others in the past.
Call us today at (800) 219-9622.
Clergy Abuse Investigations & Lawsuits in the United States
In 2002, the Boston Globe reported several Catholic clergy members in and around Boston had been abusing parishioners for years, and church officials had covered it up. Worse yet, when victims reported abuse, the Church did not dismiss or defrock the accused but rather moved them to other locations where they continued to abuse other children and teens.
In the nearly two decades since this groundbreaking series was published, advocates and lawyers in cities around the United States and the world have initiated investigations into abuse claims involving local Catholic clergy members.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has been in the spotlight for two significant settlements involving sex abuse claims. One came in 2007. This, one of the most significant victories for survivors of clergy abuse to date, involved the Catholic Church paying $660 million total to 508 victims. The Los Angeles diocese also paid $8 million in a separate sex abuse case settlement in 2019. It is the most the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has ever paid to a single victim, according to National Public Radio (NPR).
In September 2019, six Catholic dioceses in California established the Independent Compensation Program (ICP) designed to compensate sexual assault survivors. Victims had until Feb. 29, 2020, to submit a claim through the program. However, victims can still submit claims by other means. In just over a year, the program awarded millions of dollars to survivors.
There are several other examples of survivors’ victories against abusers and the Church’s complacency. If you or a loved one have been abused, the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can support you in building a case and pursuing justice. Clergy abuse lawyers are dedicated to making perpetrators of abuse, and those who enable them, answer for their crimes. When you are ready, call the office to speak with a staff member to schedule a no-obligation one-on-one consultation.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a time limit that pertains to most civil and criminal cases. Regarding sexual abuse, California, like many states nationwide, has changed its policies to give survivors more time to pursue justice.
In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 218 to law. The law, which took effect in January 2020, raised the age limit for survivors of church-related abuse. Under this bill, those abused as children or teens have more time to pursue justice against their abusers. This is a pivotal victory for survivors, many of whom have suffered in silence for years.
Previously, survivors had eight years from the date of the plaintiff’s 18th birthday or three years from the date they discovered or should have discovered they suffered a physical or psychological injury to bring a case against an abuser. Under the new law, plaintiffs have 22 years from their 18th birthday or five years from the date they discover or should reasonably have discovered they suffered grievous harm.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving San Jose, call (800) 794-0444
Find Out How a San Jose Clergy Abuse Lawyer Can Help You
Sexual assault not only causes physical harm but emotional and psychological injury as well. These wounds may last a lifetime and affect various aspects of a survivor’s life. Even those who are fortunate to have the resources and support necessary to obtain professional help may never completely heal from the harm done to them. However, many survivors go on to live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives, which is an act of retribution and defiance against their abusers.
If you or your child were abused by a clergy member in or near San Jose, the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm team is prepared to fight for you. They can build a case to seek to make your abuser pay for their crimes. This is possible even if the abuser has since passed away. If an abuser has passed, a lawyer can still assist you in pursuing damages from the Church.
If you’re ready to get started, contact the office at (800) 219-9622. A team member will schedule you a meeting with a San Jose clergy abuse lawyer to discuss your case and options.