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Arizona Clergy Abuse

Arizona Attorneys Investigating Sexual Assault Claims Against the Roman Catholic Church Archdioceses & Clergy

Childhood sexual abuse is a pervasive problem that can have long-term consequences for victims.

It's estimated that one in four women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18, meaning that if you're seeking therapy, there's a good chance you're not alone.

Sexual abuse is a difficult topic for many people to discuss, even more so when it involves clergy. The recent news stories about sexual abuse by clergy have been shocking and hard to process. It's difficult to know who to trust and what to believe.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates fighting for the legal rights of victims of childhood sexual abuse. Some of our cases involve filing civil claims months, years, and decades after the statute of limitations expired.

Contact our clergy abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Arizona Catholic church clergy abuse

Arizona Catholic Church Clergy Abuse

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse committed by trusted religious leaders can create devastating, lifelong trauma for the survivors.

Only recently have parishioners come to know the full extent of the damage done by predatory priests accused of childhood sexual abuse and the diocese’s culpability of covering up cases to protect the clergy.

Victims and their families continue to struggle to understand why the Roman Catholic Church in Arizona and the Diocese of Phoenix slowly responded when addressing childhood sexual abuse allegations.

Many parishioners believe the church officials were only interested in protecting the church’s reputation and not helping survivors.

In the worst childhood sexual assault cases, they were responsible for a cover-up that prevented the allegations of sexual misconduct involving children from ever seeing the light of day.

Not allowing survivors of sexual abuse to pursue justice by holding their abuser accountable aggressively is despicable of the Arizona dioceses in charge of providing spiritual guidance.

Sexual Abusers Facing Legal Consequences

We use our comprehensive knowledge of Arizona tort law and the legal system to ensure the sexual perpetrator faces the consequences they deserve for their unacceptable behavior and that the organizations accountable for supervising are held responsible.

Were you or a loved one the victim of the Arizona clergy abuse scandal? The compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help you or a loved one with legal advice and representation involving surviving sexual assault.

Contact a clergy abuse lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Our clergy sexual assault attorneys are ready to listen to your story.

Our childhood sexual abuse law firm understands the courage it takes for the sexually assaulted victim to speak out and identify the accused priests that caused them harm. Our legal team serves as advocates for sexually abused children by taking legal action to seek justice on their behalf.

Clergy Sexual Assault Remains a Problem

As recently as 2019, the Church released its Diocesan list that identified religious leaders credibly accused of sexual assault against underage children, including twenty-seven men who served parishioners in Arizona.

Some childhood sexual abuse allegations dealing with Catholic priests date back decades. The last list released by the diocese in 2012 revealed credible Arizona clergy childhood sexual abuse claims against religious leaders, including two priests that served in Phoenix.

In December 2020, a third survivor of sexual abuse filed a civil lawsuit in federal court, accusing a Catholic clergy member of sexual misconduct involving minors in southern Arizona during the 1970s and 1980s.

A Religious Institution Childhood Sexual Abuse Cover-up

The lawsuit document revealed that church officials at the Los Angeles and Tucson Dioceses covered up child abuse and relocated priests to other dioceses. The religious organization failed to report sexual abuse to local authorities.

The plaintiffs filed a racketeering lawsuit after the State Legislature enacted the Arizona Child Victims Act, extending the statute of limitations for clergy sex abuse survivors who were harmed during their childhood. The law allows 20- to 30-year-old sexual abuse survivors more time.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse that are 30 years old had until December 31, 2020, to file civil claims against religious institutions and sexual abusers.

Hundreds of childhood victims filed civil lawsuits and Arizona courts by the December deadline, saying that they had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of religious members when they were children.

A Clergy Sexual Abuse Dumping Ground

The plaintiffs allege that the clergy members were a part of the church's pattern of using Southern Arizona as a "dumping ground" for religious perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse. Many sexual predators arrived in Arizona from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, California.

The lawsuit states that "by exporting graduates of St. John's seminary and its problematic priests to Tucson, the archdiocese of Los Angeles knowingly exported a pervasive culture of sexual abuse in misconduct to the [Diocese's] parishioners."

According to Arizona law, leaders and other people in religious organizations must notify local law enforcement authorities or child welfare institution services if they suspect abuse. However, the law exempts religious professionals from being told of childhood sexual abuse during confession or in confidence.

The Arizona law exemption limits the number of legal options victims have when pursuing sexual abuse cases against predators and religious institutions and prevents holding the church accountable.

The Devastating Effects of Childhood Sexual Assault

Clergy childhood sexual abuse can cause lifelong devastation that negatively alters the victim’s well-being. Many victims are traumatized during their young years when sexually assaulted by authority figures in charge of providing their spiritual guidance.

Most sexually abused survivors find moving forward challenging. A victim of sexual abuse might find it impossible to step forward and name their abuser, telling others what the priest did to them during their developmental years.

Many abusive priests, deacons, teachers, and coaches accused in numerous childhood sexual assault cases have victimized multiple minor children and teenagers over years or decades since the initial abuse occurred.

When Predators Are Family Friends

Sometimes, the victim's family members are friends of the predator priest or Parish pastor and are unaware that the religious organization responsible for their supervision knows of their despicable inappropriate sexual conduct.

Many can suffer from the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, including sleeping disorders, ongoing depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-injury, and suicide, including suicidal ideation (thinking about suicide).

Young children and teenage victims who suffered sexual abuse might develop negative eating disorders, begin living an over-sexualized lifestyle, or engage in any form of risky behavior after experiencing child sex abuse.

Finding Justice for Sex Abuse Victims

In 2005, the Church settled abuse cases involving forty-five victims, including survivors of sexual assault in Southern Arizona.

Three years earlier, in 2002, the Diocese of Tucson settled cases involving eleven Arizona clergy sexual abuse survivors who were assaulted by four priests, including Frs. Byrne, de la Pierre, Teta, and Trupia. In 2003, the Tucson Diocese resolved cases involving four victims of sexual assault by a lay teacher educating minors.

Victims of abusive religious members have been pushing the state’s attorney-general to open an investigation of the Church. However, as of December 2021, there was no investigation or reports of a grand jury being convened.

Sexually abused victims in many other states have numerous legal options to bring claims against the Church and other organizations after their legislatures have made legal changes to the justice system.

In most states, the victim of sexual abuse can take legal action seeking financial compensation to recover lost income and obtain funds for their damages, including psychiatric care to treat their depression, trauma, anxiety, and other behavioral issues.

How Criminal Prosecution Affects a Sexual Abuse Civil Claim

In most civil cases, any evidence of a defendant’s guilt or liability for the actions the plaintiff suffered is an appropriate matter to explore during discovery.

In lawsuits filed against religious members, parishes, and religious organizations for childhood sexual assault crimes in which the victim was forced to exclude information during confession, this rule does not apply.

The U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether absolutely no information that could be used to criminally prosecute a clergy member or religious organization for sexually abusing a minor child can be included in a civil case brought against the predator and the responsible institution (their employer).

In its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court stated, "the First Amendment bars such a holding, as it would impermissibly encroach on the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution."

Individuals making a sexual abuse claim against a priest, deacon, or religious organization are not allowed to introduce evidence that their abuser sexually abused them.

Resolving a Sexual Crime Through Civil Recourse

However, in most cases, this does not mean that survivors of childhood sex abuse can't resolve their claims in a civil lawsuit.

In many cases, both parties to a lawsuit can reach a settlement without the involvement of any court, including when the victim is not allowed to introduce evidence that would have been presented during a grand jury investigation or prosecution.

Criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits against defendants accused of committing child sex abuse crimes can be pursued simultaneously.

When there is pressure to resolve the claims in one type of legal action within a certain time period, civil lawsuits remain an option for victims of childhood sexual abuse crimes perpetrated by priests, deacons, or other clergy members employed by religious organizations.

Legal Options for Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Arizona

Individuals looking to file a sexual abuse claim in Arizona against a priest or other clergy member employed by a religious organization are encouraged to speak with an experienced legal professional.

The law limits the amount of time childhood sex abuse victims have to file their claims before being barred from doing so forever.

Victims and their families must act quickly while evidence, witness testimony, and legal claims are still preserved and available.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations in Arizona for childhood sex abuse civil lawsuits is two years from the date the survivor turns 18, or within one year after discovering that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of 18 was caused by sexual abuse that occurred during their childhood.

Survivors can file a civil claim with sexual abuse charges against priests, deacons, religious organization leaders, or other clergy members when they believe that information related to their claims will not be allowed in criminal cases for any reason.

The filing of legal charges is just the beginning of what can be a long process of resolving childhood sex abuse claims.

The advice and guidance of an experienced attorney experienced in representing sexual assault survivors are essential to help them through the mediation or litigation stages of this type of claim.

A Change in the Law

The Arizona legislature recognized that the statute of limitations may be too short in some cases and that survivors of clergy sex abuse had insufficient time to come forward and pursue legal action against the Church.

On May 27, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey signed H.B. 2466 into law, extending the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims.

Adults who were victimized as children through sexual exploitation or abuse may now bring a civil case against their attackers and possibly organizations that protected or covered up the assaults under the new law, even if there had never been any filed criminal charges.

Arizona Roman Catholic Church Diocese

In Arizona, the Church is the single largest religious group of all faiths statewide. The two dioceses and their Bishops manage more than 150 parishes and sixty-five Catholic schools across Arizona (listed below). The Church provides services to hundreds of thousands of registered Catholics living in fifteen counties.

Arizona Dioceses

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

400 E Monroe St

Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 354-2000

Bishop: Thomas Olmsted

Cathedral: Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral

The Roman Catholic Tucson Diocese

192 S Stone Ave

Tucson, AZ 85701

(520) 838-2500

Bishop: Edward Weisenburger

Cathedral: St. Augustine Cathedral Church

Arizona Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Are Ready to Help

Our network of personal injury lawyers knows the challenges you have in talking about the unspeakable actions that a clergy member did to you. We know the Church leaders might try to defend against the allegations leveled against abusive priests.

They may contest your civil lawsuit or try to declare bankruptcy to keep you from getting the financial compensation that you deserve.

Arizona has given a 19-month window for childhood victims of clergy abuse to file lawsuits even if the civil statute of limitations in their case has expired. There is no word on whether COVID-19 will cause the state to change its law again.

We can work with plaintiffs in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Mesa, Glendale, or anywhere across the state. We are dedicated to working with you to make sure that your allegations are heard in court if your case is not settled before then.

Reliving child sexual abuse is difficult and traumatic. A compassionate lawyer who fights for you aggressively when litigating your civil claim is what you need. All information you share concerning your clergy sexual abuse case remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

Hiring A Sexual Assault Lawyer to Receive Compensation

Let our sexual abuse injury attorneys begin working on your case today to file a claim or lawsuit.

We can help you as you seek to hold the clergy accused of sexual abuse and the Catholic bishops that protected them accountable for the child molestation to which you were subjected.

Even if they are decades old, sexual abuse allegations against priests must still be heard.

Contact the sexual abuse lawyers at our law firm now at (888) 424-5757. All information you share during an initial, free consultation concerning your clergy sexual abuse case will remain confidential.

Resources:

All Arizona Parishes:

  • All Saints Newman Center, Tempe
  • All Saints Parish, Mesa
  • Ascension Parish, Fountain Hills
  • Blessed Sacrament Parish, Scottsdale
  • Blessed Sacrament Parish, Tolleson
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona
  • Christ the King Parish, Mesa
  • Church of the Resurrection Parish, Tempe
  • Corpus Christi Parish, Phoenix
  • Corpus Christi Parish, Tucson
  • Eastern Rite Church Affiliation
  • El Cristo Rey Parish
  • Good Shepherd Mission, New River
  • Good Shepherd of the Desert Church
  • Holy Cross Parish, Mesa
  • Holy Family Mission, Blackwater
  • Holy Family Parish, Phoenix
  • Holy Family Parish, Tucson
  • Holy Spirit Newman Center, Grand Canyon University
  • Holy Spirit Parish, Tempe
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center
  • Immaculate Conception Parish, Cottonwood
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Phoenix
  • La Santisima Trinidad Catholic Mission Scenic
  • Mater Misericordiae Mission, Phoenix
  • Most Holy Trinity Parish, Phoenix
  • Most Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • Mount Claret Retreat Center, Phoenix
  • Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, Phoenix
  • Our Lady of Fatima Mission
  • Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Guadalupe
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Queen Creek
  • Our Lady of Joy Parish, Carefree
  • Our Lady of La Vang Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Benson
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Tempe
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Glendale
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Parish, Scottsdale
  • Our Lady of the Angels Parish
  • Our Lady of the Desert Mission, Dolan Springs
  • Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Parish, Lake Havasu City
  • Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Phoenix
  • Our Lady of Victory Mission, Sacaton Flats
  • Our Lady Queen of All Saints, Tucson
  • Our Mother of Sorrows, Tucson
  • Queen of Peace Parish, Mesa
  • Sacred Heart Parish, Phoenix
  • Sacred Heart Parish, Prescott
  • Sacred Heart Parish, Tucson
  • Saint Melany Parish (Byzantine), Tucson
  • San Francisco de Asis Parish, Flagstaff
  • San Lucy Mission, Gila Bend
  • San Martin De Porres Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • San Xavier del Bac Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • Santa Cruz Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • Santa Teresita Parish, El Mirage
  • SS Peter and Paul Parish, Tucson
  • Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, Phoenix
  • Saint Agnes Parish, Phoenix
  • Saint Ambrose Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish, Chandler
  • Saint Anne Mission, Ash Fork
  • Saint Anne Mission, Santan
  • Saint Anne Parish, Gilbert
  • Saint Anthony Mission, Sacaton
  • St. Anthony of Padua Parish
  • St. Anthony of Padua, Wickenburg
  • St. Anthony Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Augustine Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Augustine Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • St. Benedict Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Bernadette Parish, Scottsdale
  • St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Scottsdale
  • St. Bridget Roman Catholic Parish, Mesa
  • St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Chino Valley
  • St. Catherine Mission – Santa Cruz
  • St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Peoria
  • St. Clare of Assisi Parish
  • St. Clement of Rome Parish, Sun City
  • St. Columba Kim Roman Catholic Mission, Mesa
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish, Tucson
  • St. Daniel the Prophet Roman Catholic Parish, Scottsdale
  • St. Dominic Mission, Rio Verde
  • St. Edward the Confessor Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Sun City
  • St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Camp Verde
  • St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Tucson
  • St. Francis De Sales Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • St. Francis of Assisi Mission, Ak-Chin
  • St. Francis of Assisi Mission, Scottsdale
  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Bagdad
  • St. Francis Roman Catholic Parish, Seligman
  • St. Francis Xavier Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, Cave Creek
  • St. Germaine Parish, Prescott Valley
  • St. Gianna Oratory, Tucson
  • St. Gregory Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Helen Roman Catholic Parish, Glendale
  • St. Henry Parish, Buckeye
  • St. James Parish, Glendale
  • St. Jerome Roman Catholic Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Joachim and St. Anne Parish, Sun City
  • St. Joan of Arc Parish, Phoenix
  • St. John the Baptist Parish, Laveen
  • St. John the Evangelist Parish, Tucson
  • St. John Vianney Parish, Goodyear
  • St. John Vianney Parish, Sedona
  • St. Joseph Mission, Mayer
  • St. Joseph Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Parish, Williams
  • St. Joseph Parish, Tucson
  • St. Juan Diego Church
  • St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • St. Louis the King Roman Catholic Parish, Glendale
  • St. Luke Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish, Tucson
  • St. Margaret Mary Parish, Bullhead City
  • St. Margaret Parish, Tempe
  • St. Maria Goretti Parish, Scottsdale
  • St. Mark Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Martin de Porres Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Mary Basilica, Phoenix
  • St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Gilbert
  • St. Mary Mediatrix Catholic Parish
  • St. Mary Parish, Chandler
  • St. Mary Roman Catholic Parish
  • St. Matthew Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Michael (Ukrainian), Tucson
  • St. Michael Parish, Gila Bend
  • St. Monica Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • St. Paschal Baylon Mission, Mesa
  • St. Patrick Parish, Scottsdale
  • St. Paul Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Peter Parish, Bapchule
  • St. Philip Benizi Mission, Black Canyon City
  • St. Philip the Deacon Mission, Phoenix
  • St. Pius X Catholic Parish, Tucson
  • St. Raphael Parish, Glendale
  • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Parish, Anthem
  • St. Steven’s Parish, Sun Lakes
  • St. Theresa Parish
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Avondale
  • St. Thomas More Parish, Glendale
  • St. Thomas More, Tucson
  • St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Phoenix
  • St. Thomas the Apostle, Tucson
  • St. Timothy Parish, Mesa
  • St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Phoenix
  • St. William Parish Cashion
  • Vietnamese Martyrs Parish, Phoenix

Arizona Catholic Schools:

  • All Saints Catholic School, Sierra Vista
  • Annunciation School
  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Kindergarten
  • Bourgade Catholic High School
  • Brophy College Prep All-Boys High School (Jesuit owned)
  • Christ the King School
  • Immaculate Conception Catholic School, Cottonwood
  • Immaculate Conception Catholic School (formally St. Joseph)
  • Immaculate Conception Catholic School, Yuma
  • Immaculate Heart High School, Oro Valley
  • Immaculate Heart School, Oro Valley
  • Lourdes Catholic Elementary Catholic School, Nogales
  • Lourdes Catholic High School, Nogales
  • Most Holy Trinity School
  • Notre Dame Preparatory High School
  • OLPH Glendale School
  • Our Lady of Joy School
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School – Glendale
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School – Scottsdale
  • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, Lake Havasu
  • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, Lake Havasu City
  • Our Mother of Sorrows School, Tucson
  • Queen of Peace School
  • Sacred Heart Catholic School, Nogales
  • Sacred Heart Catholic School, Prescott
  • Saint Mary’s Catholic High School
  • Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson
  • San Francisco de Asís, Flagstaff
  • San Miguel High School, Tucson
  • San Xavier Mission, Tucson
  • Santa Cruz School, Tucson
  • Seton Catholic Preparatory High School
  • SS Peter and Paul School, Tucson
  • SS. Simon and Jude Catholic School
  • St Ambrose School, Tucson
  • St Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson
  • St Cyril School, Tucson
  • St Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Tucson
  • St John the Evangelist School, Tucson
  • St Joseph School, Tucson
  • St Thomas the Apostle Pre-School, Tucson
  • St. Agnes Catholic School
  • St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School
  • St. Charles Mission, San Carlos
  • St. Francis Assisi Catholic School, Yuma
  • St. Francis Xavier Catholic School
  • St. Gregory School
  • St. Jerome School
  • St. Joan of Arc School
  • St. John Bosco School
  • St. John Paul II Catholic High School
  • St. John Vianney School
  • St. John XXIII School
  • St. Louis the King School
  • St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, Kindergarten
  • St. Mary-Basha School
  • St. Matthew School
  • St. Peter Mission School
  • St. Theresa School
  • St. Thomas Aquinas School
  • St. Thomas the Apostle School
  • St. Timothy School
  • St. Vincent de Paul School
  • Xavier College Preparatory All-Girls High School
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