There has been worldwide media coverage of the sexual abuse that has been perpetrated by clergy within the Chicago Catholic Church on innocent children. Although some of these horrendous sexual abuse acts have been made public after years of alleged coverups by the Catholic Church, it is difficult to know exactly how many children were harmed by those in positions of power within the church. What is known is that this abuse was not isolated; there have been reported accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, nuns and even bishops from all over the world, including a large number here in Chicago. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers stands beside victims of sexual abuse to ensure their legal rights and personal privacy is fully protected.
Long History Of Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
Although the notoriety of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal is well-known now, for many decades this abuse was quietly swept under the rug by church leaders. It was not until 1981 when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, a crime that he later plead guilty to, that these crimes began to be investigated more thoroughly.
When another case of a priest in Louisiana being charged with 11 counts of sexual molestation became headline news, more reports began to surface. In 1998 when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas was reported to have paid a $30.9 million settlement to twelve victims of one priest, the entire world began to take notice.
Since 1998, there have been thousands of victims that have come forward with their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of staff within the Catholic Church. According to BishopAccountability.org, by 2012 an estimated $3 billion in lawsuits have been settled by the Catholic Church for sexual abuse from 1950-2012. In a six-year period from 2003-2009, over 1,550 victims received settlements from the church in the U.S.
Sexual Abuse In Chicago’s Catholic Churches
The Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal is felt keenly here in Chicago. With over 2.2 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties, almost 40% of the population is of the Catholic faith. What is more alarming is that, in 2010, a report was released by three advocacy groups that an estimated 60% of the over 350 parishes in Chicago have had sexual abuse allegations. What is even more troublesome is that these are only the publicly reported cases of abuse; many other victims have undoubtedly remained silent.
The public outcry on these sexual abuses by clergy and other staff members of the Catholic Church has opened the door for many victims to come forward. Those who have suffered in silence for years finally are learning that they are not alone and that the injustice of what was done to them as children needs to be punished for the cycle of abuse to end. It is the bravery of these victims that have come forward who have been traumatized at the hands of a trusted priest or other Catholic Church staff members that may have the largest impact in ending this abuse of children.
Chicago Priest Abuse Attorneys Who Stand With You
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers appreciates the lifelong turmoil a childhood event can have on a person. While we are committed to fully prosecuting your case from a civil damages perspective under Illinois law, we also work within the confines of your personal wishes. Consequently, every case involving church sexual abuse is handled with the utmost discretion and care to preserve your wishes. If you were violated by a priest or other church official in Chicago, you can speak to one of our attorneys experienced with sexual abuse litigation without any cost or obligation to evaluate your legal options. Contact us today!
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