Fresno Clergy Abuse Attorney
Fresno Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer
The Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of scandals involving pedophile priests. As the public becomes aware that many Catholic clergies have sexually abused children, victims and their families are stepping forward to seek justice through civil lawsuits against the catholic church and its leadership.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for childhood sexual assault victims harmed by priests, bishops, and other clergymen. We fight aggressively for clergy sexual abuse survivors' rights and help seek financial compensation through a civil lawsuit, compensation claim, or the Independent Compensation Fund.
Contact our sexual abuse injury attorneys today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with your clergy abuse lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Allegations Made Against Roman Catholic Church Leaders
The Roman Catholic Church has been plagued by allegations of clergy sexual abuse.
Many of these claims involve allegations of sexual abuse committed decades ago when certain current bishops were themselves in positions of authority over abusive priests. There is concern among some Catholics that the Vatican may be attempting to cover up or otherwise obstruct justice for survivors who need to hold accountable those responsible for such crimes.
Our firm represents clients who have suffered at the hands of abusive clergy. We provide legal representation with compassion and dignity while protecting our clients' rights under California law.
Your clergy abuse lawyer will fight to ensure that you receive all compensation due to you as a victim so you can heal from your trauma caused at the Fresno Diocese and move on with your life without financial worry or burden. Our experienced attorneys understand how difficult it can be for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
The Roman Catholic Church Being Scrutinized
Over the last twenty years, the Roman Catholic Church has been scrutinized in every state, including California, for how they handle predatory priests. Many of these religious sexual abusers targeted their victims at Catholic schools, parishes, summer camps, Church-related functions, and sporting events. To date, in California, over 700 Catholic religious leaders have credible allegations against them that they sexually molested young adults and underage children.
In 2019, California Governor Newsom signed a new bill into law extending the civil lawsuit. In response, many of these victims are now seeking financial compensation against those who sexually harmed them. In some cases, the sexual abuse survivors have added the Catholic Church as a defendant in their suits because officials hid the evidence.
Roman Catholic Fresno Dioceses Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped many sexual abuse survivors pursue justice and obtain financial compensation to recover their punitive damages. If you have been harmed, we are here to listen to your story in a confidential setting. Let us protect your rights. We can use California tort laws to ensure that your case is resolved successfully.
Diocese of Fresno Slow to Respond
In January 2020, the Diocese of Fresno faced a civil lawsuit for its failure to respond to allegations involving sexual assault by a clergy member. The alleged victim accused Reverend Anthony Marino in 1979 and 1980 of sexual assault when the victim was a young boy.
The Diocese of Fresno says that they are still working on releasing a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct. The newly enacted law allows survivors to move forward by taking legal action against the Church and sexual offenders. Many of these claims are built on the secrecy of Church officials concealing the abuse or enabling the predator's abusive behavior.
Sexual Abuse Victims Deserve Compensation
It is common for victims of clergy sexual assault to wait years or decades to pursue justice. In many cases, the sexual assault survivor lives in fear of retaliation by the predator priest who threatened or intimidated their victim into silence submission. Other times, officials in the Catholic Church hide the evidence from the public, congregation, and law enforcement to protect the priest at the cost of the sexual abuse survivor.
By the time many of these cases come to light, the District Attorney's Office has no other option than to drop the charges due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Fortunately, California state legislators and the Governor enacted a new law that extends the statute to provide ample time for survivors who lost their opportunity to file a claim after the assault occurred.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, under the guidance of Pope Francis and the Vatican, has created an independent compensation program. This newly launched initiative helps provide financial compensation to sexual abuse survivors who were harmed by priests that were in 'active ministry,” on a leave of absence, visiting from another parish or no longer associated with their religious order or the Church.
Indicators of Sexual Assault
The United States CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) maintains statistics that revealed over 70% of males and 25% of females seventeen years old and younger had been sexually abused. More than nine out of ten of the sexual abuse victims knew their predator was when the rape, abuse, molestation, or sodomizing occurred. In the years afterward, the survivors often experienced significant challenges in building lasting relationships with family, friends, partners, spouses, and coworkers.
Some of the apparent indicators of sexual abuse are not easy to see. Many times, the sexual predator threatens or intimidates the prey to ensure that the deviant action by the abuser remains hidden. The horrific tactics that can keep a victim silent can express themselves in other ways that might include apparent physical signs like a sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, or genital area trauma. The victim may have bruises, unexplained bleeding, or bloody sheets.
The sexually abused victim might display emotional or behavioral signs that include:
- A display of fear when left alone with a particular individual
- Inappropriate sexual behavior, especially in very young victims
- A sense of ongoing worry or excessive fear
- The avoidance of taking off clothing when changing or bathing
- A display of simulated sexual activity
- Talking excessively about sex
- Nightly bedwetting in teenagers, older children, and toddlers
- A sudden unexplained change in the victim's eating habits including decreased appetite, difficulty in swallowing or refusing to eat
- Visual signs of insecurity or withdrawal
- Fear of the dark or waking up from nightmares
- Declaring that their body is dirty, immoral, or repulsive
Many of the emotional and behavioral scars left behind after a sexual abuse experience can last a lifetime. Typically, the victim will develop lifelong depression, ongoing anxiety, deep-seated post-traumatic stress disorders, or other unhealthy condition.
To protect young children, adults must ensure that they respect the minor's boundaries and limit his or her access to anyone who engages in inappropriate behaviors, including touching. Listen to what the child wants to say. Believing what you are told is the best way to start a healthy and open dialogue about his or her feelings. Knowing what happened can ensure your child remains protected from this moment forward.
California Child Victims Act (Assembly Bill 218)
Beginning January 1, 2016, a new California law – Assembly Bill 218 (California Child Victims Act) – increased the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims from age 26 to age 40. After January 1, 2019, AB 218 allowed a one-year window to revive time-barred claims by those who have been sexually abused as children, and who now file civil claims against their abusers.
The related Senate Bill 813 will permit adult victims of sexual abuse who are currently barred from filing civil claims because of the statute of limitations to bring their lawsuits within one year of January 1, 2017, or within three years of the date, they discover both:
(1) that they have suffered a psychological injury caused by sexual abuse, and
(2) that their injury was caused by the sexual abuse they suffered as a child.
SB 813 also gives survivors more time to file lawsuits after turning 40 but has no retroactive component. This bill applies primarily to claims against private institutions such as churches, charitable organizations, youth groups, sports teams/programs, etc., and public entities such as school districts and police departments, for child sexual abuse by those who were in positions of trust.
The California Child Victims Act may also apply to claims against those responsible for the care of a child such as teachers and doctors if there is sufficient evidence that they knew or had reason to know about the abuse but failed to report it.
The bill will only apply to crimes perpetrated by priests and clergy members after January 1, 2017.
AB 218 has been hailed as a landmark reform by many sexual abuse survivors and their advocates because it closes a loophole in the current California statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims. In 2003, California lawmakers extended the civil statute of limitations from age 21 to age 26 but did not change the time limits for criminal prosecution of perpetrators.
The Statute of Limitations: How Long You Have To File a Clergy Sexual Abuse Case
The deadline for filing a civil claim under the new AB 218 and SB 813 generally depends on the age of the victim at the time of the sex abuse and whether they were minor when the clergy abuse occurred.
These clergy abuse claims can sometimes be brought decades after they occurred – as long as three years from turning 40 – which is why it is crucial that you contact us as soon as possible after you realize that you have suffered a psychological injury caused by sexual abuse.
Please note, however, that Assembly Bill 218 does not apply to criminal cases involving the Church, priests, and clergy members facing allegations of clergy abuse. Criminal charges must be filed within 8 years of the date that the sex crime occurred.
There is no deadline for filing lawsuits if the abuser is still alive and has not yet been convicted of the sex crime because the lawsuit will not be time-barred until that person dies. This deadline is extended by three years after the abuser's death.
All lawsuits must be filed within one year of the date that AB 218 goes into effect. As SB 813 has no retroactive component to revive old claims, it will not apply to cases that were already time-barred.
Why Hiring a Fresno Clergy Abuse Attorney Is Crucial to Winning Your Case
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit that could provide compensation to survivors of child sexual abuse varies depending on the circumstances, but it is crucial to retain legal counsel as soon after realizing that you have been sexually abused.
Our lawyers understand how difficult it can be for victims of abuse to come forward and file a civil claim, which is why we handle every case with the utmost sensitivity and care before filing a lawsuit. Our legal team can ensure that you receive adequate compensation to pay your medical expenses, mental health costs, and will fight for punitive damages to punish the predator and the Roman Catholic Church.
Legal assistance is crucial because it will allow us to complete a clergy abuse investigation concerning the predator and diocese of Fresno as soon as possible after you have come forward, which often yields invaluable information that would be impossible for someone who does not have legal training or experience.
Our attorneys are extremely familiar with California law and what kind of evidence is needed to make a successful case, what kind of psychological injuries are caused by clergy abuse, how long the effects of child sex abuse can last, which statutes of limitations apply to your claim, and what kind of evidence is most important for us to obtain.
A Successful Clergy Abuse Case Requires Critical Evidence
The sooner that we are able to start gathering evidence on your behalf, the better our chances are of winning. Retaining legal counsel early can allow us to preserve important pieces of evidence that might otherwise be lost or altered.
You can also help your case significantly by keeping detailed records of any communications you had with the religious organization that employed the perpetrator; this includes emails, letters, memos, notes, and records of phone calls.
These items might contain information that is important for us to obtain during our investigation, so please do not throw these away or alter them in any way.
We Have the Resources to Fight for Justice on Your Behalf
Our legal team has decades of combined experience and we have dedicated our careers to ensuring that all survivors of clergy abuse receive the justice that they deserve. We know how to investigate a case and understand what kind of evidence is needed to win before a jury, which makes all the difference when it comes down to winning your case.
We will work tirelessly on behalf of our clients so that you can focus on recovering from your psychological injuries.
Settlement Options for Victim Survivors of Clergy Abuse
There are many different factors that will be taken into consideration when determining whether or not to settle with your perpetrators. For example, the availability of witnesses who were present during the abuse is crucial evidence in winning a case against an accused sex abuser because it can provide proof that they committed the offenses.
If the religious organization that employed your abuser is also named as a defendant, it can also strengthen your legal claim if they knew or should have known about the incidents of childhood abuse because they failed to take action to stop them.
If you are able to win your case against your credibly accused perpetrator, then our legal team will work with you to ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation that you deserve. We will ensure that your rights are preserved and help you file a motion to waive your statutory right to a confidentiality agreement.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm about being sexually abused during a confidential consultation remains private to an attorney-client relationship.
File a Civil Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit or Use the Independent Compensation Fund
The Roman Catholic Church has developed an independent compensation fund that provides monetary recovery for injured victims. However, what is the best option when taking legal action against the Fresno Diocese?
Should you consider receiving monetary recovery through an independent compensation fund or filing a civil lawsuit? The Independent compensation fund is governed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The process, conditions for eligibility, and awards are prescribed according to the provisions of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People.
A civil lawsuit can be filed in state or federal court. A victim must file before the statute of limitations expires (civil lawsuits have statutes of limitation; in Virginia, this time limit is generally 2 years), meaning the victim must file in a timely manner. A civil case can be filed whether or not any criminal charges have been filed against the childhood sexual assault abuser.
The best option for you is highly dependent on your particular situation and who your abuser was and where they worked in the diocese of Fresno. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, we are prepared to answer the tough questions survivors of clergy abuse have about their case.
Hiring a Fresno Clergy Abuse Attorney to Resolve Your Sexual Abuse Case
Every Fresno clergy abuse attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Attorneys LLC has recovered more than $250 million in financial damages for our clients. As experienced trial attorneys, we have presented evidence in court and negotiated out-of-court settlement agreements with the responsible parties to ensure full monetary compensation.
Are you, or loved one, the victim of clergy abuse, it is essential to speak to a Catholic clergy abuse lawyer today. Our clergy abuse attorneys can help you seek justice and ensure your rights are protected while we obtain financial compensation on your behalf.
Your dedicated sexual abuse lawyer is ready to hear your story in a confidential setting. We accept all California clergy abuse cases through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement provides immediate representation without the need to pay for our services until after we have successfully resolved your case.
We handle all clergy abuse cases, including priests who are actively “in ministry,” on a leave of absence, retired, deceased, visiting from another diocese, or defrocked (laicized) by Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Our California attorney law firm represents clients throughout California including in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Sacramento, Monterey, San Jose, Stockton, Santa Rosa, Orange, and Oakland.
We Will Make Sure Your Voice is Heard, No Matter What
It is important that civil cases brought against the Roman Catholic Church and other religious organizations in which priest sexual abuse has occurred be represented by an attorney with extensive experience of comprehensive California law in filing a civil claim.
Our legal team would like to have a free initial consultation with you if you have been sexually abused by a priest or another member of the clergy. Call us today at 1-888-424-5757 for immediate legal advice and schedule your confidential consultation.
Your clergy abuse lawyer will carefully listen to how the abuse occurred to you and evaluate all of the evidence that exists to determine how our law firm can best go about taking legal action and reaching a settlement.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is evaluating Roman Catholic child sexual abuse cases across the entire nation (including California) and offers free initial consultations to any potential client who may have a case.