Helping Sex Abuse Survivors File Civil Lawsuits

Rhode Island law gives sexual abuse survivors the right to recover compensation for their damages by pursuing claims against abusers and institutions that failed to protect them. However, these institutions view civil sexual abuse lawsuits as major reputational and financial threats, and often go to great lengths to dispute, deny, and underpay.

At Levy Konigsberg, our sexual abuse team knows how to help survivors fight back.

Comprised of award-winning trial lawyers, we’ve cultivated a legacy for litigating high stakes sex abuse claims nationwide. We’ve taken on powerful entities, public institutions, and religious organizations, and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for survivors.

FREE Consultations for Victims of Michigan Youth Residential Treatment and Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse

Contact us today at (800) 315-3806 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.

Rhode Island’s Civil Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

Sexual abuse lawsuits are civil claims subject to a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations expires, survivors are no longer able to file claims and recover compensation for their damages.

Historically, civil statutes of limitations have acted as major barriers to justice for survivors of sexual abuse. That’s because abuse victims – and especially those who were abused as minors – face long and complicated paths to understanding their abuse and its effects on their lives, and when it comes to making the difficult decision to step forward, speak out, and seek justice.

Fortunately, Rhode Island has taken steps to remove at least some of these barriers. In 2019, for example, state lawmakers passed legislation to expand the statute of limitations in childhood sexual abuse cases. This means that under current Rhode Island law:

  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse have 35 years from the date they turn 18 (or age 53) to file civil claims against abusers and, specifically, any person or entity considered a “perpetrator” of the abuse.

    We specialize in sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions, including prisons, clergy, and juvenile detention centers.

    We work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire and no fee unless we win.

    Pending Rhode Island Measures Could Eliminate Statute of Limitations in Child Sex Abuse Claims

    While Rhode Island’s current sexual abuse laws are far from being the worst in the country, they have been sharply criticized for not going far enough – both in terms of the time limit they still place on child sex abuse survivors and how they make it exceedingly difficult to sue institutions such as the Catholic Church for enabling or covering up abuse.

    A recent ruling handed down by the Rhode Island Supreme Court illustrates how:

    • In July 2023, the Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of child sex abuse lawsuits brought against officials from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Providence who enabled and covered-up the sexual abuse of children by priests.
    • In its ruling, the RI Supreme Court held that, while these survivors could maintain their claims against the abusive priests, they could not use the extended 35-year time limit to sue the Providence Archdiocese and officials who are considered “non-perpetrators.”
    • The Court explained that although Archdiocese officials acted with “deplorable” conduct, they did not commit the abuse, or specifically aid or abet the abuse, and therefore were outside the scope of defendants who could be sued under the 35-year time-limit.

    This decision was a blow to countless survivors with viable claims against institutions such as the Providence Archdiocese and gave an inexcusable pass to officials, supervisors, and other institutions whose outrageous misconduct directly led to preventable abuse.

    If there is a silver lining to this, however, it is that there is now growing support for new legislation that better protects survivors and their ability to hold institutions accountable. One such measure (H 5510) currently working its way through the Rhode Island Legislature would repeal the statute of limitations entirely for claims against abusers and institutions, similar to a law passed in Maine. It would also apply retroactively, giving survivors abused at any time in the past the right to sue.

    Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Rhode Island Catholic Churches

    Levy Konigsberg has extensive experience litigating sexual abuse claims against Roman Catholic dioceses nationwide and is now actively investigating claims from survivors who were sexually abused at Catholic Churches, schools, and other Church-affiliated programs across Rhode Island.

    As sweeping investigations, public record releases, and legal filings have revealed, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence has struggled for decades to reign in a rampant sexual abuse problem. What’s more, the damning record shows that church officials routinely engaged in actions to conceal complaints, cover up abuse, and enable predator priests. For example:

    • Between November 2020 and December 2023, several Rhode Island priests and clergy members were charged with or convicted of crimes involving child sexual abuse. These include former priests John Petrocelli, James Silva, Edward Kelley, James W. Jackson, and former deacon Kevin Fisette.
    • In 2019, the Providence Diocese released a list of priests who had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The list included clergy members from parishes, schools, and other programs across the state accused of abuse dating back to 1950. As of 2024, the Diocese’s list contains over 55 priests and clergy, but likely undercounts the true scope of abuse.
    • In March 2019, the Providence Diocese publicly acknowledged that it paid more than $21 million in its attempts to resolve over 130 clergy sex abuse claims involving priests and church members in parishes and church-run schools throughout the state.
    • In September 2002, the Providence Diocese agreed to pay $13.5 million to 36 survivors who were sexually abused as minors by members of the Catholic Church. The claims involved allegations against 11 priests and a nun.

    Learn more about Rhode Island Catholic Church sexual abuse lawsuits.

    Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Rhode Island Juvenile Residential Centers

    Levy Konigsberg has earned national attention fighting on behalf of survivors who were sexually abused in juvenile detention facilities and youth housing and treatment programs nationwide.

    Now, we’re working with a growing number of survivors who were sexually abused in Rhode Island juvenile residential centers. This includes the Rhode Island Training School, St. Mary’s Home for Children, and other facilities housing youth under the care of the state’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) that have been implicated by investigations and legal filings for failing to protect children from sexual abuse. For example:

    • In December 2023, a report from the Rhode Island Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) found widespread abuse and supervisory issues at St. Mary’s Home for Children, which provides residential and outpatient treatment for children with psychiatric problems and other traumas from five residential homes on its North Providence campus. The OCA report detailed instances of staff-on-youth assaults, physical and sexual abuse, a lack of supervision, criminal activity, and other conditions known to facilitate sexual abuse. Since the report was filed, St. Mary’s has continued to struggle with unsafe conditions, including its ongoing struggle with runaways. According to police logs, local law enforcement handled more than 220 reports of runaway children from St. Mary’s in just two years.

    If you were sexually abused by a counselor, teacher, guard, or other staff member at a youth housing or detention center in Rhode Island, you may be entitled to compensation. Levy Konigsberg is available to discuss your case and options during a confidential consultation.

    Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Rhode Island Schools

    Levy Konigsberg is investigating claims from survivors who were sexually abused in Rhode Island schools. This includes public, private, and boarding schools statewide that have faced backlash over failures to adequately screen teachers and staff, properly investigate reported abuse, and uphold their duties to protect students of all ages.

    As public records have shown, operators of these schools – including public school districts and entities that operate private or preparatory schools – can be held liable for teacher-on-student and staff-on-student sexual abuse. This was precisely the case in a high-profile 2016 settlement between St. George’s prep school and nearly 30 former students who were sexually abused by seven different teachers between 1974 and 2004.

    Learn more about school sexual abuse lawsuits and sexual abuse at daycares and preschools, or contact us to confidentially discuss a potential case.

    Can I Still File a Claim If My Abuser Was Never Convicted of a Crime?

    Yes. Civil sexual abuse lawsuits function independently from criminal proceedings. They concern only the liability of defendants and do not deal with the criminal culpability of offenders. Civil sex abuse claims also use a lower burden of proof than what’s employed in criminal courts and can be directed toward entities and institutions that failed to prevent abuse.

    This means that it is still possible for survivors to file suit even when:

    • Abusers are never criminally investigated, charged, or convicted.
    • Abusers are deceased.

    Sexual Abuse Survivors’ Right to Compensation

    Survivors whose claims are successfully settled or resolved are entitled to a financial recover of their damages. Given the profound and lifelong suffering endured by sexual abuse survivors, these damages are often considerable. However, every case is unique and case value will depend on the specific facts involved.

    Generally, sexual abuse survivors can recover compensation for:

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

    Levy Konigsberg: Proven Advocacy in Sex Abuse Litigation

    Levy Konigsberg is a Best Law Firms ranked trial practice known for litigating complex claims against powerful defendants. From landmark rulings and record recoveries to resolutions that have changed laws and lives, our record of success speaks for itself.

    As proven sexual abuse lawyers, we’ve also made our mark helping survivors for justice. Some of our notable achievements in this field include:

    • Over $50 million in compensation recovered for adult and child sex abuse survivors.
    • Represent hundreds of survivors nationwide, including numerous survivors in states where survivor-friendly legislation has been passed.
    • Widespread media coverage, including features and cover stories and articles in the NY Daily News, Gothamist, and other publications.
    • Experience fighting back against powerful institutions, including the Catholic Church, state and municipal corrections departments, and universities and hospital systems that failed to protect survivors.

    We Represent Survivors in All Types of Sex Abuse Claims

    At Levy Konigsberg, we have the experience and resources to help survivors in sexual abuse lawsuits involving all types of institutions and circumstances, including:

    Trust Levy Konigsberg's Legal Team for Proven Results in Sexual Abuse and Negligence Cases

    Levy Konigsberg LLP, a nationally recognized law firm, has built a legacy over three decades, recovering over $3 billion in sexual abuse compensation for clients. Led by award-winning sexual abuse lawyers, we specialize in representing survivors in sexual abuse across the country, taking on powerful institutions. Our top-rated trial practice handles all types of sexual abuse or negligence cases, showcasing numerous testimonials and successful case results. You can learn more about our latest sexual abuse work on our blog.

    FREE Consultations for Victims of Michigan Youth Residential Treatment and Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse

    Contact us today at (800) 315-3806 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.


    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.


    Committed to Doing What’s Right

    Over $3 Billion Won

    We have represented numerous individuals and groups of workers, winning for them multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.

    There's No Case Too Big

    Our team has achieved groundbreaking victories in highly complex cases and has gone up against some of the toughest defendants in the country.

    Trial Attorneys

    Our attorneys excel in the courtroom and are not afraid to bring a case in front of a jury if a fair settlement for the client has not been reached.

    A Thought Leader in the Industry

    Our firm’s knowledge and experience are in high demand, and many news outlets have asked us to share our legal expertise.

    Access to World Class Resources

    Our experienced attorneys use cutting-edge technology and highly regarded experts to help us achieve the best possible result for our clients.

    Changing the World for Good

    We not only want to achieve the best possible results for our clients, but we also strive to prevent future harm by changing public health policies.


    Hear What They Have to Say



    Free Case Review