Clergy sexual abuse has become an important topic in government and legal processes, causing many states to change their laws regarding it since the early 2000s. In the last two decades, high-profile clergy sexual abuse cases have changed how the public sees sexual abuse and religious organizations. As a result, many of those organizations have had to make internal changes, and states have restructured their laws to provide more protection for victims.
Connecticut sadly did not escape the scourge of clergy sexual abuse that plagued the Catholic Church. In January 2019, the Hartford Courant published findings by the Hartford Archdiocese of 48 priests accused of abuse and over 140 claims of sexual abuse that the archdiocese settled.
As a result of these revelations and others, Connecticut has taken steps to support older clergy sexual abuse victims and help them take legal action.
If you or a loved one was the victim of clergy sexual abuse, now might be the right time to take legal action against your abuser. You can discuss your case with a Connecticut clergy sexual abuse lawyer to determine your legal options under the new laws. Call the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 for a free case review.
In clergy sexual abuse cases, liability can extend to the abuser and their religious organization. In most cases, the abuser is the target of the lawsuit. However, religious organizations have a responsibility to protect participants from the actions of clergy members. If the organization knew about the abuse and failed to act on it, the organization can be held liable.
There are notable cases where religious organizations knew about the abuse and tried to cover it up to protect itself. If the religious group covers up the abuse, you can hold it liable as well.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations defines how long you have to file a lawsuit. This statute even applies to cases of sexual abuse. Many abuse victims do not come forward until well into adulthood. Unfortunately, existing laws meant that many of those cases exceeded the statute of limitations, and victims could not pursue a lawsuit.
In the wake of the revelations that the Catholic Church had a long-running cover-up of sexual abuse against children, states across the country began changing their laws to make it easier for victims to come forward. Many states lifted the statute of limitations entirely or extended it to ensure that older victims had the chance to take legal action.
Connecticut was one such state. In June 2019, it changed Connecticut General Statute § 52-577d to allow anyone who suffered sexual abuse before the age of 21 to have up to 30 years from when they turn 21 to bring a lawsuit against their abuser. Effectively, victims have until they turn 51 to file a suit.
Possibly Recoverable Compensation
Filing a civil lawsuit might let you collect compensation from your abuser and their religious organization, which you can use to cover medical expenses related to your injuries, allowing you to get the help you need. Your lawsuit would include claims for compensation based on several factors, making every case slightly different.
In most cases, pain and suffering compensation is a significant portion of the claim. Because the abuse has long-lasting and profound effects on your emotional and mental well-being, your case might qualify for pain and suffering compensation. Because this type of payment does not have specific expenses tied to it, a Connecticut clergy sexual abuse lawyer would decide how much to request using one of several methods.
Reasons to Hire a Lawyer
You might find hiring a lawyer in your best interest if you plan on taking legal action against your abuser. In recent years, the laws have changed regarding clergy sexual abuse cases. You may want to hire a lawyer so that you have access to the most up-to-date information on those laws and the resources to mount a case effectively.
For victims who have gone decades without reporting their abuse and have not taken legal action, building a strong case might prove difficult without a lawyer. An attorney can find evidence of the abuse that has withstood the test of time. This investigation can take some time to do, but lawyers have some options to get the proof that you need.
Many victims find it extremely difficult emotionally to come forward about their abuse, which is one reason they chose not to do so over the years. Having a personal injury lawyer by your side could help reduce the stress associated with discussing abuse. They can help protect you from complications that arise and assist with taking legal action that might improve your life and bring closure to a challenging episode.
Receiving compensation can help you afford the ongoing mental health treatment that you need. With proper care, you could make improvements to your life because you have a better chance of overcoming the impact of the abuse.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation
Taking legal action against your abuser can seem intimidating, but you might find that partnering with a lawyer makes the process easier. If you or a loved one were the victim of clergy sexual abuse, you could discuss your case with a Connecticut clergy sexual abuse lawyer to see what your legal options are. You can start the process today by contacting the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to discuss your case with our team.