News

Church Sexual Abuse: Filing a Lawsuit and How an Attorney May Help

The continued sexual abuse of seminarians and young men by the Catholic ministers and priests made headlines globally. Generally, those allegations claimed that Pope John Paul II sex abuse negligence is what raised eyebrows, allowing more sexual abuse instances to happen.

Other claims also show that the church took steps to cover up cases and even protect clergy members, to the extent of even promoting them.

Although the church might not act, the court of law offers every victim a path to justice. If you are a victim, you can file against the church and its act of allowing such abuse to happen. The lawsuit will demand compensation for the permanent harm that the church’s negligence and its leaders caused.

Understanding Sexual Abuse in Church

When someone in power or in a position of the religious authority, like the pastor, rabbi, clergy member, or priest, sexually abuses a churchgoer to satisfy their sexual urges, it is regarded as church sexual abuse.

This is also called molestation and may include unwanted sexual contacts, like fondling, sexual assault, and nakedness. It may also include the following:

  • Sexually suggestive activities
  • Use of pornography
  • Inappropriate touching

Statute of Limitations

Since church sexual abuse cases may involve both a civil claim and criminal prosecution, more than just one SOL (statute of limitations) will apply.

In every situation, those SOL time limits may be analyzed after relevant circumstances and facts are known.

For instance, in California, sexual harassment of a child involving criminal prosecution doesn’t have a statute of limitations. On the other hand, sexual abuse involving civil claims is capped at age 40, which is basically the age of the majority, 18 years, plus another 22 years.

Suing Catholic Church

It is possible to sue any Catholic Church. In fact, survivors of church sexual abuse have already filed a lawsuit against religious orders, individual abusive clergy members, church leaders, and Catholic dioceses. Most survivors have filed a lawsuit for the following reasons:

  • They have more legal options
  • They are reporting cases that happened several years ago

How an Attorney May Help

A good Catholic Church abuse attorney can help you in many ways, like offering legal guidance and advice. For your attorney to do so, he/she will assess your sexual abuse case so as to determine if you have legal recourse against the catholic church.

Your attorney will not just walk you through different options and file a sexual abuse lawsuit against the church. The expert will as well determine every liable party.

Usually, abuse in Catholic churches is not just a matter between the victim and the perpetrators. It is also against the entire institution and other people who are guilty as charged.

This is especially true in every case where the catholic churches tried covering up abuses and protecting all the pedophiles. Your attorney will leave no stone unturned when identifying everyone liable and hold each one of them to account.

The Takeaway!

If you are a church sexual abuse victim, don’t stop by hiring an attorney. You should also connect with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and report the matter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Colton Eva
the authorColton Eva