Orange Clergy Abuse Attorney
The Catholic Church has been plagued with accusations of clergy sexual abuse for decades, but the church has often responded by covering up these crimes and transferring abusive priests to other parishes.
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 molested victims dealing with physical harm and psychological injury caused by predator priests.
Contact an Orange clergy abuse attorney 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.
Clergy Sexual Abuse is Nothing New
For two millenniums, Catholicism has spread the truth of finding salvation through the Vatican papacy. Under the guidance of Pope Francis, ordained men are given the authority to preach the word and forgive parishioners' sins.
Sadly, many priests, bishops, cardinals, pastors, and other religious leaders use their power to harm innocent children and vulnerable adults through sexual abuse or molestation. Less than ten years ago, the Vatican took a stand to ensure the protection of children by handling cases involving clergy abuse and sexual misconduct appropriately.
The new policy of protecting young people extends to parishes in all areas of the world, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, Dioceses of Fresno, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Diocese of San Diego, and other Catholic dioceses.
What is Clergy Sexual Abuse?
In the Roman Catholic Church, clergy sexual abuse is often treated as a matter of sin and forgiveness instead of a crime. This form of sexual assault involves any type of forced or coerced sexual contact between a member of the church and someone under their direct care or authority.
Many cases involve priests taking advantage of parishioners who are at their most vulnerable, including the sacrament of reconciliation (also known as confession). Men of God will ask parishioners to confess their sins privately, but then use that private meeting time to sexually abuse victims.
Other cases of widespread sexual abuse involve priests molesting children or teens entrusted into their care for religious education and training. Childhood sexual abuse often uses young people's vulnerability to exploit their innocence.
The Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Clergy sexual abuse can have a damaging impact on victims because the perpetrator was supposed to be held to a higher standard of behavior. Authorities in the church are trusted by parishioners, but that trust is broken when vulnerable people are used for priests' own sick sexual gratification.
The trauma caused by clergy sexual abuse can be long-lasting and life-changing. Many sexual abuse survivors experience:
- Lowered self-esteem
- Loss of faith in the Church
- Social isolation
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety or depression
- Eating disorders
- Self-harm or mutilation
- Dissociative reaction, such as believing that you are disappearing from the world
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Suicidal tendencies or thoughts
Please note that victims may experience more than one of these symptoms and the impact may not surface until later in life. The negative consequences of such traumatic experiences can affect personal relationships and future employment opportunities.
The History of Child Sex Abuse in the Catholic Diocese of Orange
For decades, the Catholic Dioceses of Orange church leaders have covered up childhood sexual abuse allegedly committed by priests, laypeople, and other clergy members.
Sexual misconduct and molestation committed by members of the Roman Catholic Church was first reported in the early 1990s, but it wasn't until 2002 that Diocese of Orange leaders announced they would take action to ensure children were protected from future sexual predators.
Priest Abuse Victims Speak Out
Due to the sudden popularity of media outlets like newspapers, television reports, and the internet, many victims of clergy abuse have come forward to speak about their experiences. The Church has spent millions in settlement costs due to lawsuits brought against priests who are accused of committing sexual crimes against children or vulnerable adults.
One case that is bringing much-needed attention to the issue is the pending sexual abuse lawsuit involving Father Scott Kimball. Since 2004, the Diocese of Orange has paid out more than $5 million in total costs to settle different claims involving Kimball. One victim recently filed another lawsuit against Kimball and the Diocese of Orange for alleged sexual abuse that occurred during her time at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo.
The Settlement Process The Diocese of Orange has established many guidelines for how victims can file a claim against the church, including:
- A sexual abuse survivor must contact the Diocesan Victim's Assistance Coordinator. The coordinator will provide information about filing a claim and get more information from the claimant to determine if he or she qualifies for assistance.
- Clergy sexual abuse survivors who are eligible can receive counseling, financial compensation, and other services to help them heal.
- Claimants are required to sign a release of claims before the process can begin. This ensures that all claims related to sexual abuse against minors or vulnerable adults committed by members of the Diocese of Orange clergy will be reported in writing. It also guarantees that victims will receive the right advice and support in order to resolve issues related to their abuse.
Unfortunately, clergy abuse continues to happen rapidly throughout the Roman Catholic Church without accountability. As a result, our Orange Clergy abuse attorneys have helped our clients secure financial compensation for their damages, physical injury, and psychological trauma. Our experienced attorneys can analyze your case and determine how best to move forward.
Catholic Church Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Have you or someone you know suffered as a result of clergy abuse? You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have sustained, including:
- Emotional trauma and injury caused by sexual molestation, death threats, and domestic violence
- Loss of income and life opportunities due to reputational damage
- Medical bills incurred as a result of physical injuries
Our experienced Orange family law attorneys may be able to help you secure the financial compensation you deserve. Let us review your case today. We will take the time to listen to your story, determine how we can help, and answer any questions you may have.
Not All Abuse Cases Result in Criminal Charges
Many victims choose to handle childhood sexual abuse privately through civil litigation rather than reporting the crime to law enforcement. This is because some clergy sexual abuse claims cannot be prosecuted criminally due to the statute of limitations.
In California, a child under 14 years old has to file a civil action within 8 years from the date of the abuse. If the victim is over 16 at the time of filing and under 26 when they discover the harm caused by molestation, they have to file an action within 3 years of the date they knew about their injury.
However, some child molestation cases may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony if there is evidence that sexual intercourse occurred or an arrest warrant has been issued after sexual abuse allegations with someone under 18 years old. Criminal charges can also apply if the abuse happened when the victim was over 18 years old.
The California Child Victim Act
in 2020, the state legislature made changes to the California Child Victim Act that will help child sexual abuse victims. The timeline for filing civil claims involving sexual abuse will be extended to the age of 28. Additionally, all current and future claims will be able to take place within one year of the bill's signing into law.
Unlike the old statute, these new changes to the law will not require victims to show they suffered any type of personal injury. This means you don't have to receive medical treatment for your injuries in order to file a civil claim for clergy sexual abuse.
Additionally, the 2020 law allows for clergy sexual abuse victims to file claims against perpetrators who are already dead or their estates.
The statute of limitations will not apply in any criminal case involving the sexual abuse of a minor, even when the minor is over the age of 28. This means that if you choose to report your clergy sexual abuse case to law enforcement, it can still be prosecuted criminally even if you are over the age of 28.
Diocese of Orange County Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help
The United States Roman Catholic Church, under the guidance of Pope Francis, continues to face serious problems involving predator priests in the religious community. Many sexual assault victims have taken a stand, faced their molesters, and filed civil lawsuits against the Church to hold their abusive clergy members accountable.
If you are a clergy abuse survivor harmed by a Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County Church leader, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. Contact a California clergy sexual abuse lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation. Let us hear your horrific story and discuss the best pathways to resolve your case and ensure you receive financial compensation for your damages.
A recent change in the California statute of limitations law now provides new opportunities for plaintiffs to file a clergy sexual abuse claim against the Church. Complainants can file a civil case even if the California statute of limitations has expired since the abuse occurred.
Our legal team handles Orange County, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles sexual abuse cases involving a religious child molester whose current status is in "active ministry," has been removed from the priesthood, has retired, was placed on administrative leave, or has died.
The Roman Catholic Church Independent Compensation Program
Church leaders have announced a new compensation fund that will be available to victims of childhood sexual abuse. The Roman Catholic Church Independent Compensation Program is being created by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and a group of local congregations.
The program will provide free counseling services to victims while they apply for compensation. It's important to note that those who have already settled a sexual abuse claim with the church will not be eligible for this compensation.
In order to qualify, victims must have been under 18 years old when they were sexually abused by a priest or deacon who was affiliated with either the Los Angeles Archdiocese or one of its participating member churches.
If you are a victim who is now over the age of 18 and you were abused before 1988, you can still apply for compensation provided that this claim is being submitted within one year from the signing of 2020's Assembly Bill 131.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) Settlement Program
Church leadership has announced a new program to settle sexual abuse claims made against leaders or members of its congregations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sexual Abuse Legal Settlement Program will provide victims with a free and voluntary benefits counseling session as well as legal compensation.
The program is available to victims who were a minor when they were sexually abused by a church leader or member within the last four years prior to January 31, 2019.
You are not required to sign a confidentiality agreement when applying for the program, but you will be required to cooperate in any criminal investigation or prosecution that is brought against the perpetrator before you receive compensation. Additionally, all claims must be filed within one year of January 31, 2019.
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements
Many victims choose not to file a claim for financial compensation because they are afraid their abusers will retaliate if their identity is revealed, or they do not want their church community to find out about the sexual abuse.
To protect this confidentiality, many churches require victims to sign non-disclosure agreements in exchange for compensation. These are written promises where both parties agree to keep the sexual abuse committed by a priest private.
However, these types of agreements do not change the fact that clergy sexual abuse is a crime and should be reported immediately to law enforcement. Clergy abuse survivors are encouraged to seek advice on how to protect themselves from future harm by the perpetrator.
In some cases, a non-disclosure agreement can be nullified if the perpetrator continues to pose a risk to their victim.
Orange Diocese Sexual Assault Attorney
For years, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has provided advocacy and legal assistance for sexual abuse survivors in the Diocese of Orange religious community. With our years of experience, we use California law to protect our client's rights and personal privacy.
Our law firm remains committed to obtaining the maximum monetary compensation that the victim deserves. If you or your loved one is a Catholic clergy abuse survivor, a clergy abuse attorney can handle all aspects of your case to ensure the legal action you take results in a successful outcome.
With our years of experience, we have successfully resolved litigation involving religious institutions in all California dioceses, including Orange Diocese, Los Angeles Archdiocese, and San Diego Diocese.
Our compassionate attorneys understand that the assault you endured created long-lasting effects that shape your close relationships, friendships, and ability to trust others. Let us begin taking action today to ensure you complete the healing process.
Hire an Orange Clergy Abuse Attorney to Resolve Your Sexual Assault Case
Are you or a loved one the victim of clergy sex abuse? Do you want to seek justice and hold the abuser and religious institution accountable for their actions and cover-up?
The sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are legal advocates for child sex abuse survivors. We are here to listen to your story and take appropriate legal action to stop the abuse against others.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing into your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.