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.
Levy Konigsberg has offices across the country and works with survivors nationwide. To speak with a Catholic Church sexual abuse attorney from our team, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online. Consultations are FREE and confidential.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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. Apart from these major bombshells, our team continues to investigate claims brought to us by survivors in states and dioceses across the country.
Our latest efforts include a focus on the Baltimore Archdiocese, Seattle Archdiocese, Illinois Archdiocese, and more.
How We Help Catholic Church Sex Abuse Survivors
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.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against the Catholic Church?
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 case 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 team about their potential cases as soon as they are ready.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover in a Catholic Church Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
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 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 within 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 – but we do believe that our clients have the right to a financial recovery and work tirelessly to secure the maximum compensation possible.
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. In addition to our work handling complex litigation, 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.
You can learn more about our sexual abuse litigation team and our latest work on our blog.
Call For a FREE & Confidential Consultation: (800) 315-3806
Levy Konigsberg’s sexual abuse team is comprised of highly accomplished trial lawyers who are dedicated to helping survivors obtain justice – even when it requires them to face off against large and powerful institutions.
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.
Our Catholic Church sexual abuse lawyers represent survivors nationwide. We offer FREE and confidential consultations and work on contingency, which means there’s no up-front cost to hire and no fee unless we win. Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online today.
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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