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Catholic Church Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Fighting for Sexual Abuse Survivors Nationwide

Levy Konigsberg is actively investigating claims from survivors who were sexually abused within the Catholic Church. As a nationally recognized trial practice, we’ve known as a leader in the field of sexual abuse litigation and have helped survivors and families across the country fight for justice.

You may have a sexual abuse claim against the Catholic Church if:

  • You were sexually abused as a minor or an adult within the Church.
  • The abuser was a priest, clergy member, or some other Church volunteer or employee.
  • Your abuse occurred at any time in the past.

Learn More:

How We Help Catholic Church Sex Abuse Survivors

The Catholic Church has been a large and powerful entity within the U.S. for decades, and evidence of its failures to stamp out sexual abuse is routinely being exposed. Our clergy sexual abuse lawyers continue to investigate claims brought to us by survivors in states and dioceses across the country.

Our latest efforts include a focus on the below and many more.

Levy Konigsberg is passionate about helping survivors navigate their legal journeys and goes the extra mile to provide the counsel and representation they deserve. Some of the ways we help clients:

  • Supporting survivors. We take a personalized, compassionate approach toward helping survivors. In addition to handling legal claims, we ensure our clients have access to professionals and resources they need and prioritize their privacy and confidentiality at every stage.
  • Sexual abuse investigations. Meticulous investigations are crucial when litigating against powerful institutions like the Catholic Church. Our team leverages extensive resources to conduct independent investigations, gather evidence during discovery, and consult with relevant experts as we look to strengthen survivors’ claims.
  • Legal firepower. Institutions view sexual abuse claims as threats to their reputations and bottom lines, leading them to aggressively deny and dispute claims. At Levy Konigsberg, we provide the legal firepower survivors need to level the playing field and fight for the justice they deserve.
  • Accountability. Our goal in claims against dioceses is to ensure these institutions are held accountable for their failures to protect parishioners. As evidenced by past cases, these claims can succeed in compelling dioceses to fix problems and prevent future abuse.
  • Settlement negotiations or litigation. Backed by highly experienced trial lawyers, Levy Konigsberg excels in producing positive outcomes for clients both in out-of-court settlement negotiations and litigation at trial. We work closely with clients to help them understand when efficient settlements can be reached and explain their options should trial be necessary.

Statute of Limitations for Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Civil sexual abuse lawsuits are subject to a legal deadline known as a statute of limitations.

Knowing the statute of limitations is important, as plaintiffs who fail to file before the statute of limitations expires lose their right to bring legal action and recover damages.

Determining the statute of limitations applicable to your Catholic Church lawsuit can be challenging, as there are many factors that can influence how long you have to file. Some of these factors include:

  • The state where your abuse occurred and your age at the time of abuse. Different states have different statutes of limitations that apply to civil claims for sexual abuse. Many states also impose different statutes of limitations upon claims if the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the abuse. As a firm that’s litigated sexual abuse claims in states across the country, our team can help evaluate the laws as they relate to your claim and jurisdiction.
  • Delayed discovery rule. In some cases, state law may allow survivors to “toll” or delay the statute of limitations in their case until the “date of discovery,” which is when the survivor “discovers” the connection between their abuse and the harm they’ve suffered, such as depression, anxiety, intimacy issues, and other mental health problems. Because survivors often repress and block memories of abuse, the delayed discovery rule can provide more time for survivors who connect their harms to past abuse years down the line.
  • Whether specific sexual abuse laws have been passed in your state. Thanks to a growing understanding of how survivors process abuse, states across the country have begun passing legislation to amend laws regarding civil sexual abuse claims and their statutes of limitations.

Some of these laws greatly extend the amount of time survivors have to file claims, while some create special temporary, lookback windows that allow survivors to file actions that would have been barred by the previous statute of limitations. Some examples:

  • In New York, the NY Child Victims Act extended the statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse lawsuits to let survivors file claims until the age of 55. Another New York law, the NY Adult Survivors Act, created a one-year lookback window that allows survivors abused as adults to file claims for abuse that occurred at any time in the past.
  • In California, adults have 10 years from the date of injury or 3 years from the date of discovery to file claims for sexual abuse, while survivors of child sexual abuse have until the age of 40 or within 5 years of discovery to file claims. Additionally, CA Assembly Bill 2777 created a one-year lookback window for adult sexual abuse claims that involved attempts or willful concealment of sexual assaults. The window under that California sexual abuse law expires at the end of 2023.
  • In Maryland, a new law has removed the statute of limitations on child sex abuse claims and revived claims that previously expired.
  • In Pennsylvania, a pending bill would create a temporary two-year window for survivors to file claims.

There are many other states that have extended statutes of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits, but there are also many states that have not. Given the variance in filing deadlines, we encourage survivors to speak with our clergy sexual abuse attorneys at Levy Konigsberg about their potential cases as soon as they are ready.

How Much Compensation Can I Recover?

Survivors who file civil sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church position themselves to recover financial compensation for their losses. This may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Medical and mental health expenses
  • Future emotional suffering
  • Lost income
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

The effects of sexual abuse are complex and different for every survivor. In seeking a fair financial recovery, our Catholic Church sexual abuse attorneys work closely with plaintiffs to understand the impact abuse has had on their lives and how to best illustrate those damages to the Court and potential jurors.

Sometimes, this requires working with expert witnesses, such as mental health and trauma experts, to explain how past losses and potential future damages can be attributed to a person’s abuse. Ultimately, your ability to recover compensation for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church will depend on the unique facts of your case, as well as your legal counsel’s ability to prove your claims and negotiate or litigate a fair outcome.

At Levy Konigsberg, we know that no amount of money can make a person truly whole after they’ve been abused by a Catholic priest, clergy member, or other predator – but we do believe that our clients have the right to a financial recovery and work tirelessly to secure the maximum compensation possible. Call us today at (800) 315-3806 to learn how we can help.

History of Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Litigation

Years of highly publicized investigations and legal filings have made it clear: the Catholic Church has a long and deeply concerning legacy of sexual abuse and cover-ups.

From damning data releases to historic settlements, there are mountains of evidence to indicate that the Catholic Church routinely engaged in the pervasive and systematic cover up of sexual abuse by priests, teachers, volunteers, and other church members.

Some notable cases and investigations of the Church’s misconduct include:

  • In 2002, The Boston Globe’s coverage of criminal charges brought against five Boston-area Roman Catholic priests, all of whom were convicted and sentenced to prison, brought the issue of child sexual abuse within the church into the national spotlight. The coverage revealed allegations from thousands of minors who had been abused over decades with the aid of a cover-up by several large dioceses. The Boston Archdiocese later settled over 500 abuse-related claims for $85 million.
  • In 2007, the Los Angeles Archdiocese agreed to pay $660 million to settle sexual abuse claims. The settlement, which remains the largest paid by the Church, brought the total amount paid out by the Church at the time to over $2 billion.
  • In 2018, the Pennsylvania Attorney General released the results of a two-year grand jury investigation into widespread child sexual abuse within six Catholic dioceses. The grand jury report named over 300 “predator priests” and detailed the systemic cover up efforts by senior church officials.
  • In 2019, the Anderson Report named hundreds of priests and church workers accused of child sexual abuse in Illinois over the previous 50+ years. The report, which named 400 priests and individuals who served in parishes or schools, contained more than twice the number of priests publicly identified by the state’s Catholic dioceses, including the Chicago Archdiocese.
  • In 2019, some of the most important findings about the scope of sexual abuse within Missouri Catholic churches came from a 2019 report from the Missouri Attorney General. Regarded as the largest-ever independent review of Missouri church personnel records, the Missouri AG report revealed an alarming pattern of abuse and a systemic church-enabled cover-up dating back more than six decades.
  • In May 2019, former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that his office had launched a sweeping investigation into sexual abuse within California Catholic Churches.
  • In January 2020, ProPublica released a comprehensive list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in various states across the country, including Pennsylvania.
  • In January 2023, it was discovered that New Jersey's Catholic Dioceses had not made significant updates to their list of credibly accused priests since its publication in 2019, despite numerous lawsuits and promises for transparency.
  • In April 2023, the Maryland Attorney General concluded a four-year investigation by releasing a damning report against the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. The report implicated over 150 clergy members and officials in more than 600 incidents of child sexual abuse spanning eight decades, as well as the church’s efforts to cover up the abuse and silence victims.
  • In May 2023, a comprehensive investigation was conducted on Illinois' Catholic Dioceses, revealing a significant discrepancy in the reported cases of child abuse by clergy members spanning the last seventy years. The Office of the Illinois Attorney General recently released a detailed 696-page report outlining the investigation's findings. The report presents compelling evidence of the widespread shortcomings within all six Roman Catholic Dioceses in Illinois regarding the handling of child sexual abuse allegations involving priests and other members of the clergy. It highlights the failure to adequately address reports and protect children from known abusers, exposing systemic flaws within the Church's hierarchy.
  • In May 2023, a Rochester, NY jury granted $95 million in damages to a local man who suffered sexual abuse as a minor in 1979 by former priest Foster P. Rogers. Internal records indicate that the Rochester New York Diocese transferred Rogers to various churches.
  • In June 2023, Vincent DeLorenzo, a former Priest from the Flint Michigan area, received a one-year jail sentence and probation after confessing to attempting first-degree criminal sexual conduct. DeLorenzo, initially facing seven felony charges related to two victims, ultimately admitted guilt to a single charge. This charge stemmed from the sexual assault of a 5-year-old boy in 1987, which occurred after a funeral service for a member of the victim's family.

Levy Konigsberg represents adult and child survivors of Catholic priest sexual abuse across the country. If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse of any kind in the Catholic Church, let us help you seek justice.

Levy Konigsberg: Leaders in Sex Abuse Litigation

Levy Konigsberg is a nationally ranked civil trial practice that’s recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients. We’ve become a recognized leader fighting for survivors in sexual abuse claims against powerful defendants. It’s why we’re trusted by clients and colleagues across the country to handle the toughest cases.

Our work in this area includes:

  • Millions of dollars in compensation recovered for child and adult sexual abuse survivors.
  • Extensive experience litigating against powerful institutions, including religious institutions such as the Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and more.
  • Award-winning recognition from peers and the media – including a recent NY Daily News cover story profiling our ongoing work representing women sexually abused in NY prisons.

If you have questions about a potential claim against the Catholic Church for sexual abuse at a church within any diocese, archdiocese, or independent affiliation, we want to help.


Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.

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