Oakland Clergy Abuse Attorney
Diocese of Oakland Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Hundreds of priests have been accused of sexually abusing thousands of children over several decades. Many victims are still suffering from the trauma they experienced as children, and many survivors have taken legal action to hold their abusers accountable.
Were you sexually abused by an employee at the Roman Catholic dioceses or other religious institutions? Was the Catholic priest publicly accused of harming others? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent clients who are sexually abused victims dealing with physical harm and psychological injury caused by predator priests.
Contact an Oakland clergy abuse lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Diocese of Oakland
The Roman Catholic Church "foundation is built on the spirituality of its religious leaders under the guidance of Pope Francis. As the world" leading religious institution, the high standards of Catholicism provide parishioners with an opportunity for second chances and forgiveness. Unfortunately, many religious priests use their power of authority against the congregation by sexually abusing minors and vulnerable adults.
In recent decades, California Church diocese officials and religious orders faced a myriad of cases involving sexual molestation by Diocesan Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, Parish Pastors, Religious Brothers, and Sisters. Many of these cases have made the headlines and shocked parishioners worldwide. Statistics show that over the last seven years, about 4% of all Catholic Church clerics in America have faced credible accusations of sexual misconduct.
Researchers have yet to correlate a higher incident rate of religious leaders accused of sexual molestation of a minor compared to other groups of men in power. That said, church officials have often looked the other way or hid evidence from law enforcement and the public.
The lack of the Church’s accountability and failure to take responsibility has given cover to predatory priests and religious brothers at the cost of the innocence of many vulnerable parishioners. Without protection from the Church, the victims are injured a second time if law enforcement never steps in to investigate the case.
What is Clergy Sexual Abuse?
Clergy sexual abuse is any sexual contact between a member of the clergy and a person under their authority. Any child, woman, or man subjected to forced sex is considered a victim of abuse under this definition.
However, if there was consent on the part of the individual, it is not considered clergy sexual abuse in most cases.
The abuser may be a priest, minister, rabbi, or another religious leader in charge of an individual. In some cases, the abuser is a family member, teacher, coach, or counselor who held authority over the victim.
In many cases involving priests and other members of the clergy, the survivor was a child when they were sexually abused. Although most victims of clergy sexual abuse are children, many adults also report ongoing childhood sexual abuse that goes back to their childhood.
Clergy Abuse Statistics
As of 2008, there were more than 10,000 lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church in the United States due to ongoing sexual abuse by priests. It is estimated that one-third of all U.S. cases of childhood sexual abuse are committed by members of the clergy.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a national support group providing assistance to victims of these abuses. According to SNAP, in 2009 there were about 17,000 members of this group in more than 85 cities across the United States.
What Types of Abuse Can Occur in Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases?
An abuser in any type of sexual abuse case may use many different methods to force the victim into compliance. Some types of abuse that occur in clergy sexual abuse cases include:
- Forced or coerced intercourse
- Masturbation of the abuser by the survivor, also known as "masturbatory rape." This may be accompanied by physical abuse, such as choking or punching to force compliance
- Oral sex or kissing, especially forced on a minor or infant
- Inserting objects, such as candle wax or dildos into body openings without consent. This may leave injuries that are both physical and emotional in nature
- Forcing the person to pose in sexually explicit positions while being photographed or videotaped
- Forcing the victim into prostitution or pornography against their will
If you are a survivor of clergy abuse, childhood sexual abuse, or other forms of sexual assault, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced California personal injury & sexual abuse lawyer.
Clergy Sexual Abuse Harm
Clergy sexual abuse can cause profound harm to the survivor. Some of the effects include:
- Depression or anxiety
- Substance abuse or compulsive behaviors, such as gambling or compulsive spending
- Relationship problems with friends and family, especially when they were aware of the abuse in childhood but failed to prevent it
- Feelings of personal powerlessness and a lack of self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts, especially related to fears of being punished for the actions committed against them as children
- Inability to trust others, leading to isolation from friends and colleagues
Oakland Diocese Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Many predators put fear into their victims through intimidation or harassment to ensure their silence. Sexual abuse survivors are often embarrassed, are in fear of retaliation from their attacker, or believe they will be ostracized if they speak out and tell others what happened.
When the Church allows priests facing sexual abuse allegations of minors to remain in active ministry, they empower the abuser to sexually assault others. Without criminal convictions, the Diocese of Oakland religious brothers and deacons accused of the sexual abuse of a minor are never held legally accountable in court.
As a victim advocate, an Oakland clergy abuse attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to obtaining justice on behalf of clergy sexual abuse survivors in the Catholic Diocese of Oakland. We use the law and our years of experience to ensure that the religious brothers and deacons accused of childhood sexual abuse of minors are held civilly liable.
If you were harmed by a priest or other religious leader accused of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, we can help. Allow us to listen to your story in a confidential setting. Your Diocese of Oakland abuse lawyer can provide exceptional legal advice and protect your rights to seek compensation.
Our law firm accepts clergy sexual abuse legal claims throughout California, including in Alameda County, Contra Costa Counties, San Francisco County, Napa County, Marion County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, San Mateo County, and Sonoma County. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free initial consultation.
Clergy Sex Abuse an Ongoing Problem for the Diocese of Oakland
Many new cases involving clergy sex abuse hit the headlines in the last few years. However, accusations of alleged abuse are nothing new to the Oakland Diocese.
In August 2005, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland settled numerous civil lawsuits to resolve cases involving fifty-six victims who were sexually abused by clergy members. These suits were settled before the diocese of Oakland, Bishop Michael Barber took control of its parishes in 2013.
The cases involving child sexual abuse allegations were resolved after the plaintiff's attorney negotiated with Church officials for over four months. The agreed settlement resulted in individual settlements that ranged between $200,000 to over $2 million, based on the severity of the Reverend's crime. The Catholic Diocese of Oakland is part of the northern California Roman Catholic Church that, in 2005, was named in over 150 lawsuits involving sexual molestation.
Two plaintiffs from Antioch, CA, were awarded nearly $2 million in financial damages paid by the Diocese of Oakland. Jurors in the civil claim found that the predatory Catholic priest had sexually assaulted the two former altar boys in 1980.
A spokesperson from the victim advocates group, East Bay Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that the jury awards were the "bare minimum" needed to resolve these claims.
In June 2005, the Diocese of Sacramento resolved thirty-three claims of alleged abuse for over $35 million. The following month, the Archdiocese of San Francisco announced it would be settling twelve Catholic clergy sexual abuse cases involving clergy members for $16 million.
A Long History of Clergy Sexual Abusers
For hundreds of years, religious leaders in the Roman Catholic Church were accused to have sexually molested vulnerable adults and innocent children.
However, it was not until the early 1940s that the first sexual abuse cases became public after a New Mexico Retreat opened the doors of its Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete to provide treatment for diocesan priests facing accusations of the alleged sexual molestation.
Many Bishops around the nation sent their priests, religious brothers, and deacons to the Retreat to get help for their sexual misconduct behavior and addiction to alcohol. Before the opening of the Retreat, many cases involving sexual misconduct by clergy members were handled at the local level.
The Diocese Bishop rarely removed the sexual assaulter from the ministry or would place him on leave for a short time or reassigned him to a different parish. It was rare if the Bishop or the local parish priest informed the congregation what had happened between the victim and a priest who was in service to their spiritual care.
The lack of transparency by the Roman Catholic Church went on for decades. The actions of Church officials often gave power to the predator to continue abusing unsuspecting victims to repeat his offenses with their victim or search for new prey.
The silence of the clergy abuse victims and the Church cover-up allowed the abuse to continue without notice, even when there was enough evidence to hold the predator sexually abusing minors legally accountable.
The Emotional and Physical Toll of Childhood Sexual Abuse
The experience of surviving clergy sexual abuse places a heavy burden on the victims that can last a lifetime without counseling. To make things worse, the child sex abuse survivor will often remain silent in fear of retaliation from the abuser and never tells anyone what occurred when they were vulnerable young people.
Many sexual abuse perpetrators choose their prey by their naïveté, innocence, or age. The abuser uses the victim’s vulnerability against them to take advantage of the situation.
Even after undergoing years of therapy, many sexual assault survivors develop challenging medical conditions, including deep depression, high anxiety, thoughts of suicide, post-traumatic disorders, and difficulty in maintaining quality relationships with family, friends, lovers, and spouses.
In time, many sexually abused survivors can step out of their silence, point out their molester, and hold him accountable to protect others from harm. With legal representation, the victim never has to face the Church or their abuser alone.
An Oakland Clergy Abuse Attorney Is Here to Help
Under the guidance of Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States covered up hundreds of cases of sexual assault for years. Fortunately, sexual assault survivors who were harmed in California Roman Catholic dioceses or other religious institutions have many legal options to seek justice through the legal process.
Attorneys from our law firm use California law to hold Oakland Diocese priests accountable through filed civil lawsuits and can help you too.
The recent changes made by the California Legislature and Governor provide a workaround for the state’s statute of limitations. Now, sexually abused survivors victimized decades ago can still file a civil lawsuit and seek fair compensation to recover their damages.
Our clergy abuse law firm accepts all cases where the predator is still in "active ministry," remains on administrative leave, has been removed from the priesthood, is now in retirement, or has died.
Hiring Clergy Sexual Abuse to Resolve your Compensation Case
Were you or a loved one the victim of clergy sexual abuse? Has the religious leader or former priest been publicly accused of harming others including minors and vulnerable adults?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, fight on behalf of our clients to ensure they receive maximum compensation from all those involved including the predator, Diocese of Oakland, Roman Catholic Church, and others involved in the cover-up.
Our legal team is helped many survivors seek justice and the financial recovery they deserve. Call our legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. Tell us what happened in a private and confidential setting.
All personal, confidential, or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship. We accept all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no upfront fees are paid until the case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.