Church Abuse Attorney
Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorney – Confidential Consultations Available 24/7
An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in the United States today. Although child sexual abuse in the Catholic church has made the biggest headlines, the problem is common in many religions. Regardless of the religion, sexual abuse by a clergy member has devastating physical and emotional consequences for the victims. Unfortunately, victims cannot rely on the church, synagogue or mosque for help in these cases.
Your religious organization may have denied your allegations or promised help and then turned you away, but at The Carlson Law Firm, we will listen to your story and treat you with compassion. Our experienced, caring crime victim lawyers represent both children and adults who were sexually abused by religious leaders.
For decades, victims of childhood sexual abuse in churches nationwide have been silenced by shame, deceptive teaching, and intimidation tactics. Disgracefully, abuse victims have been taught that scripture compels them to forgive their perpetrator and not to make reports to law enforcement. These tactics cultivate an environment of abuse and permit the wrongdoers to go without punishment.
It is the church’s responsibility to properly supervise all of its clergy, priest and religious leaders. Negligently supervising the church leaders can result in a child being sexually assaulted. Failing to protect children from sexual predators in a church setting may give rise to a legal claim against the religious institution.
We can represent people of any faith, including abuse within:
- Catholic Church
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Protestant churches
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Church Of God In Christ, Inc. (COGIC)
- Seventh-Day Adventists
History of Abuse
The notoriety of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal is well-known now. However, this abuse was quietly swept under the rug by church leaders for many decades. It was not until 1981 when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, a crime that he later pled guilty to, that these crimes were more thoroughly investigated.
Since then, there have been thousands of victims that have come forward with their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of staff within the Catholic Church. According to BishopAccountability.org, by 2012 an estimated $3 billion in lawsuits have been settled by the Catholic Church for sexual abuse from 1950-2012. In a six-year period from 2003-2009, over 1,550 victims received settlements from the church in the U.S. That number continues to grow today as more information surfaces.
The courts allow for a plaintiff who was a victim of sexual abuse to bring a claim against the church. Claims against the Church can be brought under different theories, all of which are covered under negligence. These theories encompass the idea that even though the Church knew of the alleged abuse, it continued to negligently hire and maintain those priests that had been accused.
In many situations, parties other than the perpetrator are legally liable for the abuse. Any person or business acting through its employees, who failed to report or prevent the abuse after suspecting the abuse or who actively concealed the abuse, is a potential defendant.
Is It Too Late?
Both individual states and the federal government have created statutes of limitations, or time limits for filing civil claims, in many areas of law. While most statutes of limitations are logical, for reasons such as bringing finality to claims and prevent injustice, in cases of sexual abuse this isn’t always the case. In Texas, the statute of limitations does not begin until the victims 18th birthday.
Other Resources For Survivors of Sexual Abuse
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a safe, confidential service. When you call the hotline, only the first six numbers of the phone number are used to route the call, and your complete phone number is never stored in our system. Most states do have laws that require local staff to contact authorities in certain situations, like if there is a child or vulnerable adult who is in danger.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline was the nation’s first decentralized hotline, connecting those in need with help in their local communities. It’s made up of a network of independent sexual assault service providers, vetted by RAINN, who answer calls to a single, nationwide hotline number. Since it was first created in 1994, the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) has helped more than 2 million people affected by sexual violence.
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
At The Carlson Law Firm, we understand the emotional toll experienced by victims of clergy sex abuse. For a confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, please call our team of attorneys as soon as possible. Abuse claims have time-sensitive restrictions for filling so please do not hesitate to call immediately to ensure that your legal rights are preserved.