Monterey Clergy Abuse Attorney
The Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse committed by clergy. Many people are appalled to learn that the church knowingly moved abusive priests from parish to parish, allowing them to continue their crimes against children.
Are you or a loved one the victim of clergy sexual abuse and need legal advice? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for sexually assaulted victims harmed by priests and other religious leaders.
Call a clergy abuse attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss how to seek justice and fair compensation from your abuser. All sensitive information you share with our law firm remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Also, your clergy abuse attorney will keep your identity confidential.
The Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious organization in the world. Many members of the congregation are drawn to the Church under the guidance of Pope Francis and religious orders to receive instructions on their faith. Its religious leaders have set high standards to guide the faithful on their spiritual journey. Unfortunately, many priests and deacons abuse this power to harm others through sexual abuse.
For hundreds of years, Church officials have hidden evidence on thousands of sexual abuse cases involving innocent children and young adults. Only recently have hundreds of accusers come forward making a report of credible allegations of the priest involved in allegations of sexual misconduct with California clergy and priests.
Diocese of Monterey Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Many clergy sexual abuse survivors are fighting back using lawsuits, holding the Roman Catholic Church accountable, and seeking restitution from the predator priests that caused them harm. The actions of the alleged victim could help protect innocent children and adults in the years ahead.
A compassionate clergy abuse attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believes the Church has failed to protect young parishioners for decades. Our team of experienced legal representatives advocate for the innocent and hold the alleged abusers accountable for the crimes they committed.
If you or a Catholic member suffers clergy abuse, speak with our sexual abuse lawyers today. Our Monterey clergy sexual abuse attorneys will listen to your story in a confidential setting and provide legal options on how to move forward with a claim or civil suit.
What Is Clergy Abuse?
The abuse of minors by Catholic Church officials such as priests and deacons is known as clergy abuse. Although the reality is that child sex abuse by clergy members is an institution-wide sexual assault crisis involving sex crimes that will affect victims for the rest of their lives, many believe otherwise.
Thousands of child survivors who were victims of sexual assault should have been secure in the hands of the organizations that claimed to care about their well-being — but this was not the case.
In addition to victims, parents and communities were betrayed by the abusers who were supposed to be role models for children.
In many clergy abuse cases, a sexual predator will use a position of trust within a religious organization or group as a means to abuse children sexually. The Church also used its influence and power over parishioners – including making decisions about marriages – to control the behavior of more children in various ways.
When a child is molested or raped by a clergy member, parishioner, or another employee, he/she may have legal remedies for compensation. Most states have passed laws to protect children from sexual abuse and sexual harassment, holding organizations responsible when there is evidence that they acted negligently in hiring, retaining, or supervising staff that poses a threat to innocent children.
Clergy Sexual Abuse Statistics
The Associated Press released data for internal documents related to priest abuse cases. The reports involved high-level meetings of Catholic leaders discussing the problem of abusive priests and how these sexual predators were moved from one parish to another.
According to the data, thousands of priests were involved in sexual abuse allegations that resulted in monetary settlements. The costs of sexual assault cases are staggering, including settlements, therapy for victims, ongoing counseling support, and legal fees.
Clergy Abuse & Sexual Misconduct
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops oversees the world's largest organization which consists of 4,500 institutions across the nation. The unlawful sexual behavior includes more than 195 dioceses and eparchies, 3,000 colleges and universities, and more than 17,400 parishes.
This is not the first time that many of these organizations have been under investigation for sexual assault. More than 6 million documents were unsealed in October 2013 after a legal settlement was reached with five victims who made claims against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The documents revealed that more than 300 priests and other church employees were involved in child sexual abuse cases over several decades, which was hidden by the organization. Many of these sex crimes took place during the tenure of Cardinal Roger Mahony.
Resolving Sexual Molestation Cases
Sexual assault is a severe problem among Catholics worldwide. Over the last few decades, the Roman Catholic Church in America has resolved thousands of clergy abuse cases through jury trials and negotiated settlements. Currently, the Church has paid out more than $3.8 billion to sexual abuse survivors injured by their clergy.
In many incidents, the religious authority took advantage of the child or adult’s vulnerability. The incidents of child abuse occur in numerous Church settings, including at Christian summer camps, places of worship, in daycare centers, at Sunday school, and in Bible study classes and other academic or sporting events.
Scared into Silence
Many of the sexually abused survivors are traumatized by the rape, sodomy, oral sex, inappropriate touching, or molestation of a religious leader, coach, teacher, or layperson. The predator often scares the victim into silence using fear and intimidation. Many survivors are terrified of what the predator will do to them if they tell anyone what happened.
As a result, it often takes many years or decades for abused children or young adults to talk about what happened. Many victims will never confront their abuser or tell other members of the congregation that there is a predator in their midst. While it takes bravery to fight back against authority, not every injured sexually assaulted survivor can do it alone.
Holding the Church Accountable for Childhood Sexual Abuse
For over twenty years, many sex abuse survivor advocates have identified priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Currently, the California Roman Catholic Church list identifies more than 700 priests and other religious leaders statewide who were accused of sexual assault, then charged, convicted, or pled guilty of sexually assaulting an innocent child or young adult.
Some clergy members sexually molested more than one victim, and other priests have assaulted and raped hundreds. Many cases involved accusations toward the alleged perpetrator of inappropriate sexual activity, child pornography, and unwanted touching.
Out of the 700 priests, thirty-three of them worked at some point in the Diocese of Monterey. The remainder worked in other dioceses and archdioceses including:
- Archdiocese of Los Angeles
- Archdiocese of San Francisco
- Diocese of Fresno
- Diocese of Oakland
- Diocese of Stockton
- Diocese of Sacramento
- Diocese of San Jose
- Diocese of San Diego
- Diocese of San Bernardino
- Diocese of Santa Rosa
- Diocese of Orange
In January 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey released a list identifying thirty religious leaders accused of sexually molesting children. The record included twelve names that had never been disclosed before. Many of these incidents occurred as far back as the 1950s.
In 2003, the Diocese adopted its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to prevent cases involving clergy abuse and help in the investigative process to ensure that victims receive the care they deserved. The list included clergymen that had never been named before, priests who had been laicized (defrocked) or retired, and Reverends who had died before the allegation of sexual molestation arose.
The Charter program helps provide a reconciliation to sexual abuse survivors to ensure they can receive counseling, spiritual guidance, and pastoral care. Due to changes in California statute of limitations law, child sex abuse survivors harmed by predator priests years ago can now file lawsuits and claims to seek compensation from those who failed to protect the innocent including:
- The abuser
- The religious order
- The diocese of Monterey
- Bishops and archbishops
- Other clergymen
The California Child Victims Act & Statute of Limitations
In January 2013, the California Child Victims Act (CCVA) was introduced to allow child victims of any sex abuse crimes from 1990 to 2016 to file a claim with a civil court. In 2017, the deadline was pushed back another five years and allows people abused as late as early 2005 to sue their abusers and Church leaders for fair compensation.
Many sex abuse survivors who were abused in the 1970s and 1980s had no idea that they were entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. Therefore, in 2018, the California Legislature increased the time limit to file a claim from 2017 to 2019. This gives sexual molestation victims an opportunity to look into their past and seek damages against predators and Church officials who failed to protect them.
The old deadline in California, based on the statute of limitations was eight years after the victim's age of majority (18) or 26 years old. For example, an adult victim of childhood sexual abuse might have only recently remembered or admitted to being sexually assaulted. In that case, they would have three years to file a civil suit from that time.
Proposed New Statute -- California Extends The Time to File Clergy Abuse Lawsuits
The new legislation provides a three-year window for anybody to submit a claim against alleged perpetrators. No personal injury case is closed by a legal deadline during this time. On January 1, 2020, the period began. As a result, sexual abuse survivors could file a civil lawsuit until January 1, 2023.
It is important to note that a child sex abuse survivor must be fifty-two years old or younger in order to sue their abuser and the Church Diocese for damages. A victim who falls outside of this age requirement has two more years (until January 1, 2021) to file a claim.
Other legislation also makes it easier for survivors of childhood sexual abuse victims outside of California to file criminal and civil lawsuits against their abusers or Church officials who failed to protect them from predators.
Civil Lawsuits Against the Church & Child Sexual Abusers
Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse had no idea they were sexually abused until adulthood, a few years ago, or a decade ago. In that case, they might be able to file a lawsuit against their abuser and the Church for damages due to the statute of limitations being extended in 2016. Victims have until January 1, 2021, to file a claim.
While dioceses across California have been filing bankruptcy as a legal defense to pay off childhood sexual abuse claims in a timely manner, lawsuits continue to be filed in state and federal court over clerical sex crimes.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) reported that since January 2013 when the California Child Victim's Act was signed into law, there were more than 1,000 convicted priests who molested children. There are hundreds of accused priests who molested innocent victims and whose crimes date back more than two decades.
The Survivors Network continues to receive calls, emails, and reports from sex abuse survivors who are still haunted by memories of clergy sexual misconduct that occurred years ago. SNAP is calling upon any adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest or church official in California to call their hotline at (310) 473-4994.
The Sexually Abused Filing Clergy Abuse Claims Against the Predator and Diocese of Monterey
Filing a civil lawsuit could hold the sexual predator accountable for their wrongdoing while reimbursing the victim for their physical, mental, psychological, emotional, and financial losses related to the perpetrator's crime.
If you are a victim, a priest abuse lawyer can assist you in filing all the necessary documents to hold the predator and the Roman Catholic Church legally and financially accountable. Remember, time is of the essence, and all appropriate paperwork must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Surviving Clergy Sexual Abuse
The repercussions of sexual abuse can last for years or decades, where survivors never display any of the warning signs associated with molestation. Some of the indicators that a loved one has been molested could include:
- Anger issues
- Deep depression
- An unexplained negative change in their personality
- Displays of nonsocial behavior
- Participation in criminal activity
- Unusual sexual behavior
The religious authorities harmed many sexually abused survivors at Church or school, where they were to take solace in their spiritual teachings. Some victims suffered clergy abuse when participating in school activities or serving the Parish as altar boys.
Are you aware that your loved one was sexually assaulted by a bishop, cardinal, priest, parish pastor, or another religious leader? If so, it is essential to take immediate action to protect the victim. Hiring an attorney is the first step toward ensuring that your loved one’s legal rights are protected. With proper legal representation, you can hold the predatory priest accountable for the horrific act that caused someone you love much pain.
Hiring a Monterey Clergy Abuse Attorney
Do you suspect that a loved one was molested, raped, sodomized, or injured by sexual abuse by a priest or other religious leader? If so, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to seek justice and schedule a free consultation.
Our law firm can discuss your case in a confidential setting and provide numerous legal options on how to proceed. With a California abuse lawyer on your side, we can ensure a successful resolution of your financial compensation claim.
Our California law firm accepts all clergy abuse claims and sexual abuse lawsuits through contingency fee agreements while keeping your identity confidential. This arrangement with your California attorney ensures that our services are paid only after our law firm has successfully resolved the case through a jury trial award or a negotiated settlement.
Our clergy abuse law firm accepts cases involving predator religious leaders who are still active "in ministry,"; currently on a leave of absence, in retirement, removed from the priesthood (laicized), or dead.