Fighting for Child Sex Abuse Survivors

If you or someone you love were sexually abused as a minor in Maryland, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

Thanks to recently passed legislation, survivors of childhood sexual abuse now have unprecedented opportunities to seek justice. Maryland’s new law, which goes into effect on October 1, 2023, allows survivors abused as minors at any time in the past to file civil lawsuits against institutions that failed to protect them.

Levy Konigsberg is recognized nationally for litigating high stakes sexual abuse lawsuits, including child sex abuse claims against powerful defendants. Now, we’re helping a growing number of survivors in Maryland explore their legal options under the state’s new child sex abuse law.

Have questions about filing a civil lawsuit over child sexual abuse in Maryland? Call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.

Extension of Child Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations in Maryland

Survivors of child sexual abuse in Maryland now have access of unprecedented legal pathways thanks to the Child Victims Act.

Twenty-four states have granted authorization for the implementation of “lookback windows,” designated periods during which individuals who have experienced abuse can file lawsuits, regardless of the time that has passed since the alleged incidents. In contrast, Maryland has enacted a unique law that establishes an permanent window with no time limit. Under previous laws in Maryland, individuals who claim to have suffered childhood sexual abuse were restricted from filing lawsuits once they reach 38 years old.

Governor of Maryland, Wes Moore, signed the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 into law on April 11, 2023. The act eliminates the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits in cases of child sex abuse in Maryland, providing survivors of childhood sexual abuse with greatly expanded opportunities to pursue justice against their abusers and any institutions that failed to protect them. This comes on the heels of discovering the Baltimore Archdiocese, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the country, has sexually abused 600+ children for over 80 years.

According to Associated Press, the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023:

  • Takes effect on October 1, 2023.
  • Applies retroactively. People who were abused as children or minors will be allowed to file a civil lawsuit against their abusers, even if previous statutes of limitations would have barred them from filing.
  • Allows plaintiffs to recover up to $1.5 million in non-economic damages when filing against a private institution, but there will be no caps on economic or punitive damages. Significant compensation up to $890,000 is also available from public entities including the public school system and local governments.

Institutions with long histories of child sexual abuse, such as the Catholic Church’s Baltimore Archdiocese and Maryland juvenile detention centers, are already preparing for what will likely be a flood of claims brought by survivors abused years and decades ago.

At Levy Konigsberg, our award-winning attorneys are helping a growing number of survivors in Maryland learn about their rights and options under Maryland’s Child Victims Act. If you have questions about a potential case and whether you can file under current or future laws, we want to help.

Types of Cases That Can Be Brought Under the Child Victims Act

Because the Maryland Child Victims Act eliminates the statute of limitations in civil child sexual abuse lawsuits and permanently revives all claims in which the statute of limitations had already passed, it opens the door for thousands of survivors to seek justice.

This means that any case involving child sexual abuse where an institution knew about the abuse, enabled it, or covered it up can be grounds for a lawsuit. Some examples of the cases our firm is investigating include:

  • Clergy sexual abuse
  • Juvenile detention center sexual abuse
  • School / teacher sexual abuse
  • Doctor / physician sexual abuse

Maryland Clergy Abuse

Maryland’s legacy of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has been documented by years of high-profile investigations, internal record releases, and legal filings. This includes a landmark report released by the Maryland Attorney General, and a recent update in June 2023 by the Baltimore Archdiocese that added dozens of new names of credibly accused priests to public lists.

These sources have revealed reports of sexual abuse committed by priests and other clergy members dating back decades, as well as evidence that shows Church leadership overwhelmingly failed to protect children by engaging in a systemic cover up.

Levy Konigsberg is working with numerous survivors who were sexually abused by priests and other clergy in the Baltimore Archdiocese and Maryland’s other Catholic communities. Learn more about these cases here.

Maryland Juvenile Detention Center Sexual Abuse

Juvenile detention facilities in Maryland have been plagued by a history of rampant sexual abuse, including abuse committed by supervisors, counselors, and other Maryland Department of Juvenile Services employees against incarcerated minors.

In fact, one report from the Department of Justice found that Maryland juvenile detention facilities had alarmingly high rates of child sexual abuse and that one facility in particular, Backbone Mountain Youth Center in Swanton, had the highest rate of abuse of any juvenile detention facility in the nation.

Levy Konigsberg is investigating claims involving survivors who were sexually abused while incarcerated at any youth detention facility in Maryland. Learn more about these cases here.

School / Teacher Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse has occurred throughout the years in various private schools, public schools, and other educational institutions in Maryland. These cases often focus on the failures of private institutions or public school districts in negligently hiring or supervising abusive teachers, and / or negligently failing to act and protect students.

Some examples of high-profile school sexual abuse cases from recent years:

  • In August 2019, the Montgomery County Board of Education reached a $500,000 settlement with two children who were sexually abused by John Vigna, a former third-grade teacher at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring who was convicted in June 2017 of abusing four female students over the course of 15 years.
  • In March 2018, a report released by Montgomery County Public Schools revealed that the state’s largest public school system had paid more than $1 million since 2009 to settle five separate civil lawsuits involving child sexual abuse committed by teachers and staff. The settlements came from cases involving Richard Shemer, a former social studies teacher at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Benjamin Cano, a former science teacher at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School in Wheaton, Lawrence Joynes, a former music teacher at New Hampshire Estates Elementary in Silver Spring, and John Vigna, a former Cloverly Elementary School teacher.
  • In April 2016, Prince George’s County Public Schools paid $1.5 million to settle a claim involving a 15-year-old girl who was sexually abused by a county teacher. The lawsuit raised allegations that the school system failed to properly investigate sexual misconduct complaints and appropriately supervise employees.

Doctor / Pediatrician Child Sexual Abuse

Levy Konigsberg has represented many survivors who were sexually abused by physicians and other medical professionals in cases brought against hospitals, medical systems, and other facilities that employed abusive doctors.

Some examples of high-profile child sexual abuse cases involving Maryland physicians:

  • In 2019, Dr. Ernesto Cesar Torres, a former pediatrician from Frederick, was arrested in connection to numerous charges of sexual abuse and assault committed against teen and minor patients between July 2002 and April 2019. At the time that Torres was declared incompetent to stand trial in July 2021, he was facing nearly 100 counts of sexual offenses involving nearly two dozen victims. Authorities suspect there may be other victims.
  • In 2014, Dr. Leslie Boyd Altstatt, a pediatrician who worked at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center from the mid-1960s to early 1980s, was arrested on 11 counts of child sex crimes involving repeated abuse committed against three female relatives between 1964 and 1996.

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to pursue a civil child sex abuse lawsuit in Maryland if:

  • You were sexually abused as a minor anywhere in Maryland;
  • The abuse occurred at any time in the past; and
  • You intend to file a claim against a responsible institution.

Our Maryland child sexual abuse litigation team at Levy Konigsberg represents survivors in civil actions that aim to hold institutions accountable for failing to stop abuse. This can include failures to appropriately handle or investigate complaints, discipline abusers under their charge, or otherwise protect children.

As civil lawsuits, these cases are separate from any criminal proceedings that may arise from incidents of abuse. Instead, they focus on holding institutions liable for damages suffered by survivors. This means that you may have a viable claim even if:

  • Your abuser is no longer alive.
  • Your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime.

What if My Abuser is No Longer Alive?

In many jurisdictions, including Maryland, it is possible to still file a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit against someone who is no longer alive. These types of lawsuits are often referred to as “posthumous” or “estate” claims.

In cases where the alleged perpetrator has an estate (assets and belongings), it might be possible to bring a lawsuit against their estate. This could allow you to seek compensation from the assets left behind for the harm you suffered due to the abuse.

Additionally, you have the opportunity to pursue legal recourse against the organization that facilitated or concealed the abuse you suffered.

Recoverable Damages in Maryland Child Sex Abuse Claims

In addition to providing accountability and a sense of justice, civil sex abuse lawsuits allow survivors to recover financial compensation for their damages, which may include:

  • Past medical and mental health expenses
  • Future mental health expenses, including therapy, medications, etc.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and psychological harm
  • Lost income
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

As mentioned above, the Maryland Child Victims act increased the statutory cap on civil damages on civil damages awarded to survivors of child sex abuse (up to $1.5 million in non-economic damages and up to $890,000 for public entities).

The statutory cap applies to each incident of abuse, which means that survivors of are eligible to recover far more than the cap in non-economic damages if they were abused on more than one occasion. Additionally, no cap is placed on economic damages or punitive damages.

Our Maryland attorneys at Levy Konigsberg know that child sexual abuse has profound and lifelong consequences. We can help you evaluate the potential value of your claim and how we can fight for the maximum recovery possible.

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg is a top-rated trial practice that’s recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients. Led by award-winning lawyers, we’ve built a legacy for litigating high-stakes sexual abuse lawsuits on behalf of survivors across Maryland and the U.S., and for our ability to take on powerful private and public institutions that failed to protect victims.

Maryland Office: 145 West Ostend Street, Suite 600 Baltimore, MD 21230

If you have questions about pursuing a lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you were a minor, our Maryland child sexual abuse attorneys want to help. We serve survivors statewide and work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire our team and no fee unless we win.



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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