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San Jose Clergy Abuse Attorney

San-Jose-Diocese-Clergy-Abuse-LawyersThe Roman Catholic Church has been accused of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests. The civil legal system in California allows victims to seek compensation for their suffering, which is a powerful tool for justice and healing.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for clergy abuse survivors harmed by priests, bishops, and other clergy members in religious organizations. We fight aggressively to ensure that our clients receive maximum compensation while seeking justice against predators and religious institutions.

Call California clergy sexual abuse attorneys 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 with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

If clergy sexually abused you or someone you know in the San Jose Diocese, they must immediately speak with an experienced attorney to learn about their rights under the law. There are strict time limits on filing lawsuits against the Holy Family Parish, so do not delay contacting us today.

Church Leader's Power of Authority

Many of the faithful are drawn to Catholicism to find purpose in their life and seek forgiveness to become better individuals.

Most in the congregation raise their children on the edicts of the Church's foundation delivered by righteous religious leaders of faith to build a strong community. Sadly, many clergy members use that power of authority to abuse children and vulnerable adults.

In December 2019, Pope Francis announced that the Roman Catholic Church was making significant changes in how Church leaders deal with predatory priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse of children.

The announcement brings with it an abolishment of pontifical secrecy of covering up decades of evidence that would hold California clergy abusers accountable.

The new rule now prohibits forcing clergy members into silence and not releasing the names of priests with allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the Church. In addition, the new papal rules raise the age of cases involving sexual misconduct that could be considered child sexual abuse from fourteen years old to eighteen. This new "zero-tolerance" of child sex offenders comes decades after the child sexual abuse crisis made headlines worldwide.

San Jose Clergy Abuse Lawyer

What is Clergy Abuse?

Clergy sexual abuse occurs when a clergy member takes advantage, coerces, or forces an individual into sexual activity. It can include forced prostitution, rape, molestation, child molestation, incest. It can cause psychological injury to the victim.

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1910, the Roman Catholic Church established guidelines for dealing with cases involving priests. The "Essential Norms" was established to ensure that a priest accused of sexual misconduct would not be allowed to act as a clergy member.

Unfortunately, this set the tone for allowing church leaders to cover up clergy abuse by abusing power.

Some Roman Catholic dioceses have taken it upon themselves to compensate sexual abuse survivors regardless of how long the clergy abuse occurred.

Clergy Abuse Statistics

According to Bishop Accountability, a nonprofit located in Massachusetts, over 1,000 active Catholic school teachers in California have been accused of sexual misconduct with students.

Unfortunately, the new rule from Pope Francis has removed the ability for sexual abuse victims to seek justice because it is nearly impossible to file a lawsuit after decades of abuse.

Churches and religious organizations are not held accountable to the state or federal government to self-govern their internal affairs.

Several sexual abuse victims harmed by a priest spoke up over the years. Still, the Roman Catholic Church leaders refused to investigate or hold those accused of clergy abuse accountable properly. Several victims of clergy sexual abuse were silenced by those who had taken an oath to do no harm and uphold the law.

California Child Victims Act

In 2002, California implemented the "California Child Victims Act." This act allowed victims of sexual abuse as children to file a lawsuit against their abusers within one year of turning eighteen.

If they could not file a case before turning twenty-two because the statute of limitations expired, their abuser would be liable for damages and other civil claims. It would allow victims to obtain justice from their abusers even if the abuse occurred decades ago.

In 2019, the Church reformed that act to prevent child sex abuse cases against priests in California. Unfortunately, most of these victims were forced into silence by Church leaders who were more concerned with protecting their image than allowing children to speak up about sexual assault.

A clergy member who was found guilty of a sex crime against a child will no longer be allowed to serve in a position that could allow them to commit another sex crime against a child.

By 2020, the state legislature updated the Child Victims Act extending the statute of limitations.

According to state law, an adult victim can sue their abuser within eight years of waking up from the abuse, and a child victim can file lawsuits against their abusers within four years of turning eighteen.

The Roman Catholic Church has already paid $660 million in civil claims to victims outside the United States since 1950, according to BishopAccountability.org.

Many victims of abuse by a clergy member will no longer have a chance to obtain justice due to this new law put in place by the Church.

Pope Francis denies that sexual assault exists within his Church and has been accused of silencing victims, moving abusers from one town to another rather than safeguarding the children.

Pope Francis is not alone in his belief in allowing sexual predators to act as priests and continue their abuse of power over young people. For example, Pope Benedict XVI allowed at least forty priests accused of sexually abusing minors to return to ministry after being elected head of the Roman Catholic Church.

There are still many states that allow churches and religious organizations to self-govern without the threat of claims for compensation for victims of sexual abuse.

Pope Francis fails to protect children and has enabled sexual predators within his Church by refusing to discipline those who admitted guilt in sex crimes against children.

Church pedophile rings exist throughout the country, and there are thousands of priests accused of sexually abusing minors worldwide who continue to serve as members of the clergy.

Many victims never report sexual abuse because it is nearly impossible to file a lawsuit against someone entrusted with upholding laws and protecting young people.

The Vatican's actions will continue to allow abusers to escape justice while encouraging other predators within the Church to act as they please without fear of punishment or accountability for their actions.

What You Need to Know About Clergy Abuse Statute of Limitations

If you have been a victim of clergy sexual abuse, it is important to learn about your legal rights. Victims may seek compensation from the Church or religious organization that employed the abuser in civil court.

Unlike most personal injury cases, victims can file clergy sexual abuse lawsuits years after the abuse.

The statute of limitations under California's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act allows victims to sue their abusers within eight years of turning eighteen or until they are twenty-five if they can prove that they were not employed, self-supporting, in public service, on active duty with the military, or emancipated when the abuse took place.

Clergy sexual abuse lawsuits could be brought forward within four years of turning eighteen under California Government Code section 945.6 if a religious organization employed the perpetrator at the time of the abuse.

Suffering in Silence

Many victims remain silent about their sexual abuse as children because they do not realize they can seek compensation in civil court. Therefore, it is important for those who clergy members have abused to speak with an experienced sexual abuse attorney about their rights.

Even if the victim does not file a lawsuit, they can help protect future victims of clergy sexual abuse by speaking out about their abuser and encouraging others who have been sexually assaulted by members of the Church or any other church or religious organization around the country to seek compensation for their injuries.

What Sexually Abused Victims Need to Know About Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Were you or a loved one abused by a member of the clergy? If so, it is important to contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney about your rights and determine if filing a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit is right for you and your family.

No matter how long ago the abuse took place, sexual assault victims should never feel ashamed or embarrassed because they do not have to face their abuser alone.

It is important to hire an attorney who has experience handling clergy abuse claims and can help sexual abuse victims seek justice for the trauma they endured while holding the Church accountable for the actions of its employees. In addition, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer can explain your legal rights and help you file a civil claim before the statute of limitations expires.

Diocese of San Jose Child Sexual Abuse Attorney

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has long served as a legal advocate for victims of child sex abuse in the San Jose and Santa Clara religious community. With our years of experience, we use the law to protect our client's rights. In addition, our law firm understands the challenges of facing the Church without legal assistance.

If you or your loved one is a Catholic clergy abuse victim, we can handle every aspect of your case to ensure the legal action you take has a successful outcome.

Let clergy abuse lawyers from our law firm discuss your case during a confidential consultation in a safe environment to go over the merits of a claim. We can provide numerous options to ensure you receive the justice you deserve for your legal claims.

Bishop McGrath Releases Names of Priests with Allegations of Child Sex Abuse

In October 2018, San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath ordered names to identify fifteen clergy members with credible allegations of child sexual abuse involving children and young people.

Nine of the religious order priests on McGrath's list are deceased, and the other Jesuit priests were permanently removed from active ministry. The allegations of clergy abuse against children and vulnerable adults occurred as far back as 1961 up to the present day.

Last month, Bishop McGrath gave his deepest apologies to each survivor of clergy assault. In addition, McGrath informed the congregation that there were no currently opened investigations of sexual abuse that had not been resolved or settled.

While the Roman Catholic Church might have handled child sex abuse cases in San Jose and Santa Clara County, it might not extend to the Archdiocese of San Francisco or other diocese and parishes in the Bay area.

San Jose Clergy Abuse Law Firm

Diocese of San Jose Settles Clergy Abuse Cases from Decades Ago

Recently, the Diocese of San Jose revealed Reverend Leonel Noia's sexual misconduct occurring in 1976 while on a camping trip. As a result, father Noia was convicted and sentenced to jail for the sexual assault of an underage male.

Church officials had suspended the priests from active ministry for three years after the incident. However, the Reverend was allowed to serve parishioners over the next two dozen years while working at three parishes in San Jose. Noia passed away in the early 2000s.

Jesuit priest Joseph Pritchard faced allegations and was named in a civil lawsuit for repeatedly sexually abusing a parish altar boy nearly four decades ago. The lawsuit documents included the names of priests, including Pritchard, as defendants. Church leaders from the Diocese of San Jose settled the case for $21.2 million in 2005.

The Long-Lasting Effects of Child Sexual Assault

Clerical sexual abuse involving young children and vulnerable adults can create long-lasting emotional and physical harm.

In addition, in the days and months after the abuse, the victim may suffer severe medical conditions, including sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and physical injuries.

The long-term emotional trauma of a survivor of clergy molestation might involve anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harming behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, or suicidal ideation (thinking about committing suicide).

When a young child grows into a vulnerable adult experiencing sexual abuse, they may misuse alcohol and drugs, participate in criminal behavior, or struggle with the challenges of developing long-lasting healthy relationships.

Children and young people who have been sexually abused are at heightened risk of sexual exploitation. Many sexual predators will pass their victims around to other abusers for the predator's sexual gratification.

Decades ago, most parents of a survivor of clergy abuse and sexual assault failed to take any action to protect their child. Alternatively, they would tell the young boy or girl not to speak ill of religious order clergy and never discuss what happened out loud.

In modern times, parents, family members, friends, and witnesses have a moral obligation to speak directly to local law enforcement and child social services to protect the innocent victim from further abuse. Therefore, clergy abuse survivors and others can report the incident to California Child protective services for an immediate response in San Jose and Santa Clara County at (408) 299-2071 or (800) 856-5553 in the Bay area and Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Diocese of San Jose Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help

If you are a victim of sexual assault harmed by an Archdiocese of San Francisco or Diocese of San Jose religious leader, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free case evaluation. Let us review the merits of your case to discuss your lawsuit or legal options in a confidential setting to ensure you receive financial compensation.

Changes in the California statute of limitations law provide new opportunities for plaintiffs to file a claim against the Church no matter when the abuse happened.

Our San Jose law firm handles cases involving clergy abusers who are currently in "active ministry," on administrative leave, are removed from the priesthood, retire, or die.

Our San Jose lawyers accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death claims through contingency fee agreements. This promise ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a jury award or negotiated settlement.

Diocese of San Jose Clergy Abuse Attorney Resources:

San Jose Clergy Abuse Attorney

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