In recent decades, cases of widespread child abuse in various religious institutions, such as the Roman Catholic Church, have come to light. Accusations of childhood abuse in the church date back to the 1950s, with more than 6,000 priests involved, according to Reuters. However, a culture of secrecy and protecting the perpetrators has meant that many victims never came forward and sought justice, and in turn, their abusers got away with committing these egregious crimes.
We need to stop sexual predators and hold them to account for their crimes, even if they committed the offenses many years ago. If you or a loved one endured sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, you can consider working with a New York City clergy abuse lawyer today to find out about your legal rights. In some cases, you could still hold a perpetrator or the church to account for your damages.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free and confidential consultation. You can reach us at (800) 219-9622.
Cases of Sexual Abuse by Clergy
There are most likely more cases of sexual abuse by clergy than we would like to think, as arguably only the tip of the iceberg and high-profile cases make it out into the public domain. Sexual predators sometimes intimidate their victims and threaten them, or the victims may be too embarrassed or ashamed to speak out against an abuser.
However, more and more cases of abuse in the church are coming to light. High-profile cases of abuse in several religious institutions surfaced in recent years, even causing widespread bankruptcies amongst Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S.
Roman Catholic Church
The Diocese of Rockville Center on Long Island had to file bankruptcy in October 2020 after more than 200 abuse allegations have come to light in recent months, according to The New York Times. Similarly, the Diocese of Camden in New Jersey also had to declare bankruptcy, citing financial obligations due to an unprecedented number of lawsuits from former victims of child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy. Several other Roman Catholic dioceses have had to file for bankruptcy for the same reasons.
The Roman Catholic Church is not the only religious institution having to face up to the endemic abuse that happened in their communities. In recent years, the Mormon Church has also been in the press with various lawsuits brought forward by victims of abuse, according to the Associated Press.
Victims allege that the Mormon Church shielded abusers and tried to cover up the abuse.
According to The Atlantic, Jehovah’s Witnesses built a large database of child molesters in their ranks, going back at least two decades. Allegedly, the number of cases documented in detail within this database numbers in the tens of thousands. The organization has apparently gone through great lengths to keep this information secret instead of sharing it with law enforcement and the appropriate authorities.
While sex abuse has happened in many different religious institutions, the churches have often gone through great effort to either protect the abusers or keep the abuse secret, denying victims justice and support. However, the tide has turned in recent years, and victims now have more options for holding perpetrators to account, thanks to recent changes in the law. If you would like to find out whether you could sue your church or your abuser, speak to a New York City clergy abuse lawyer today.
New York Child Victims Act
One important law that is making it easier for victims of sexual abuse to get justice and compensation is the Child Victims Act, or New York Senate Bill S7082. The Catholic Church heavily opposed the law since it gives victims the opportunity to press criminal charges as well as file civil lawsuits for compensation even if the abuse lies back many decades. The act also allows victims to file suit against the religious institutions involved in the sexual abuse cases.
Lawmakers now recognize that the trauma of childhood sex abuse can lead to many negative consequences for a victim’s life. Victims may not have the strength to come forward and seek justice until many years after the abuse took place.
Act Quickly When Taking Legal Action
If you want to get justice and hope to recover compensation for your suffering and financial damages, acting quickly can be crucial. Once an institution has declared bankruptcy, recovering compensation, while not impossible, can be more challenging.
If the statute of limitations had already expired in your case, you may only have a one-year extension granting you the right to file a lawsuit.
If you are able to hold an abuser or your church to account for what happened to you, you could potentially recover damages including but not limited to:
- Costs of medical treatments or counseling expenses
- Loss of income
- Awards for pain and suffering
- Awards for loss of life quality
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving New York City, call (800) 219-9622
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for Help Now
Sexual abuse in childhood can turn a person’s entire life upside down and lead to many negative consequences such as mental health problems, difficulty with relationships, and even problems at work. Those who have suffered from this despicable crime deserve justice and compensation even if the offense happened in the past.
We can assess your case and your damages and determine whether you have legal recourse and could hold not only your abuser but also the religious institution that may have protected them accountable. We understand that taking action can be difficult and stir up traumatic memories. Holding a powerful religious institution accountable can also feel overwhelming; however, we do not shy away from tough cases and can take charge of your claim.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to see how a New York City clergy abuse lawyer can help you. Reach us at (800) 219-9622.