Maine sexual abuse survivor Robert Dupuis was only 12 years old in 1961 when Rev. John J. Curran began sexually abusing him.
Maine sexual abuse survivor Robert Dupuis was only 12 years old in 1961 when Rev. John J. Curran began sexually abusing him.
The Michigan Legislature is considering bipartisan bills which, if passed, would give survivors of sexual abuse more time to bring their claims forward and file lawsuits against their abusers in the state of Michigan. The current law caps the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse at age 28, which is on the lower end of the spectrum when compared to other states around the country.
In 2017, Leslie Lapayowker filed a lawsuit against Airbnb seeking to hold the company accountable for her sexual assault. The claim contends that the company was negligent in allowing her to rent a room from Carlos Del Olmo, a man who was previously accused of domestic violence.
Airbnb recently announced it will no longer enforce the mandatory arbitration clause in its terms of service for claims of sexual assault and harassment. Previously, in order to register on the site, users had to agree to the terms of service which was over 40 pages long.
A recent report by Bloomberg stated the shocking news that Airbnb, the online marketplace for lodging and rentals, receives thousands of sexual assault allegations every year from both guests and hosts, but the public only becomes aware of very few of them.
Airbnb paid an Australian woman, who was raped in a property rented via the site, $7 million as a settlement. The attack occurred in 2015 on New Year’s Eve in New York City. The victim and her friends picked up the keys to the property at a bodega near the apartment. It appears as though the attacker managed to make a copy of the keys at some point and hid in bathroom while the victim was out.
After lawyers for sex abuse victims argued that the original offer from the Boy Scouts to settle child sex abuse claims was too low, the parties announced on July 1, 2021 that they reached an agreement.
In April of 2021, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed House Bill 254 into law which enhances the penalties against predators who possess, view or distribute sexually exploitive material of a child younger than 12, making it a Class C felony and raising it to a Class B felony for subsequent offenses.
In May, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa, signed Senate File 562 into law which removes the criminal statute of limitations for sexual abuse and exploitation of a minor. Previously the law required that criminal charges be filed within 15 years of the victim turning 18, or age 33.
Following overwhelming support and being passed by the Louisiana Legislative Committee in May , the Louisiana Senate unanimously voted, 32-0, to remove the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims to pursue civil claims in court. In addition, the passage of House Bill 492, also opens a 3-year revival window, allowing survivors with older child sex abuse claims that may have previously been time-barred, to bring a claim in court, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.
Maine Governor Janet Mills recently signed into law a bill that will allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. While the state did eliminate the state of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims in 2000, that law was not retroactive so survivors whose claims were expired at that point could not bring them forward.
The Diocese of Springfield recently released an updated list of church officials and employees who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Bishop William Byrne said the new list is part of his commitment to “transparency and healing.” There are 61 names on the list, 21 more than the previous version.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 73 into law in April 2021 which eliminates the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault of minors and adults. One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, said of the new law, “Victims deserve justice whenever they choose to seek it. Outdated laws won’t be able to stop them anymore.”
Pressure to change existing statute of limitations laws for survivors of sexual abuse began to emerge from the public after a 2018 grand jury report from the state’s Attorney General shed light on just how deep the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse ran in Pennsylvania. Three years later, efforts to change those laws are still getting bogged down in the state’s legislature.
Two years after launching an investigation into child sexual abuse claims against the state’s Catholic dioceses, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation has opened 120 cases and received 205 reports of clergy sexual abuse. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt requested the Bureau investigate reports of sexual abuse by clergy in the state as other Attorneys Generals have done in states around the country.
A ruling by the Kansas Court of Appeals holding that negligence claims against institutions are not barred by the statute of limitations will allow a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Kansas City to move forward
A recent lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Oakland accuses deceased priest Monsignor John T. McCracken of raping a young boy on multiple occasions between 1972 and 1974. It is the first time McCracken has been accused of sexual abuse of a child and his name is not on the Dioceses’ 2019 list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
Connecticut’s current civil statute of limitations law (SOL) for childhood sexual abuse leaves older victims of abuse without an avenue to pursue justice because their claims are time-barred by the law. Unfortunately, those survivors will have to wait at least another year to see if any impactful changes will be made to those statute of limitations laws since no bill to change the SOL was introduced to the state legislature in the 2020 session.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul sent a letter to the state’s five Catholic dioceses notifying them that his office will begin an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against clergy and other faith leaders. In the letter, Kaul asked the dioceses to preserve any relevant documents or information regarding sexual abuse by clergy
Several Bills have been filed by Massachusetts Senate and House leaders to open up avenues to civil justice for survivors of child sexual abuse. A number of these Bills propose removing the civil statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse and opening up a permanent revival window for time-barred claims.
The Tucson and Los Angeles Dioceses have been accused of violating Arizona’s racketeering laws in a federal lawsuit filed at the end of 2020, which happens to coincide with the end of Arizona’s revival window. The lawsuit alleges the dioceses routinely buried allegations of priests sexually abusing children and would transfer those priests to different parishes instead of alerting law enforcement. A violation of Arizona’s racketeering law also means the state’s Attorney General could investigate the allegations as well.
Bill 492 received overwhelming support and passed the Louisiana Legislative Committee and will now head to the Louisiana State Legislature House of Representatives. The Bill extends the statute of limitations (SOL) for sexual abuse survivors to 35 years after the victim’s 18th birthday.
On April 30th, 2021, Arkansas legislators passed significant new law aimed at providing survivors of childhood sexual abuse a greater opportunity to hold their abusers, and those institutions responsible for allowing the abuse, accountable.
In 2016, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, leader of the Archdiocese of New York, introduced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program as a way to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse, and according to the church, “promote healing” and “bring closure” to the sexual abuse crisis ailing the Catholic Church.
In the last year, the Archdiocese of Seattle has agreed to settlements totaling over $2 million with victims who claim they were sexually abused by four members of the Archdiocese’s clergy.
A sexual abuse lawsuit filed by Sam Garcia at the end of 2020 makes 35 lawsuits now filed against the Diocese of Norwich and former Bishop Daniel Reilly. All the plaintiffs are men who claim as boys they were sexually assaulted and raped by Christian Brother K. Paul McGlade while they attended Academy at Mount Saint John in Deep River during the 1990s. Garcia is the only plaintiff who identified himself by name.
The Catholic Church’s past history of covering up childhood sexual abuse claims has led to another lawsuit being filed, this time by one of its insurers. Arrowood Indemnity Company, an insurance company that covers the Diocese of Brooklyn, has filed a lawsuit asking the court to rule that it not be held responsible for defending or indemnifying the Diocese against sexual abuse claims.
Defrocked Charlotte Diocese priest Robert Yurgel is facing a new claim that he allegedly sexually abused a boy as young as five years old inside St. Matthews Church in Ballantyne. Yurgel has already served 8 years in prison for sexually abusing an altar boy back in 1999. The lawsuit has also named the Charlotte Diocese and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars.
After a serious ‘blunder’ by Pennsylvania’s Department of State earlier this month, Pennsylvania legislators look to pass a new bill that would allow child sex abuse victims a two-year ‘window’ to file civil claims in court against both public and private entities.
According to a recently released report, nationwide the Catholic Church has spent more than $10 million on lobbyists over the last seven years, fighting to keep state statute of limitations reforms from going into effect. The report was commissioned by law firms who represent survivors of clergy sex abuse.
In late 2020, a former student at the Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming her former school teacher sexually abused her when she was a student and the school “failed to take any measures to investigate and put an end to the misconduct and protect its young student.”
The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was sexually abused as a child by defrocked priest Daniel McCormack back in the early 2000s. This Catholic Church settlement pushes the total to over $11 million paid to survivors who were abused by McCormack. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Archdiocese of Chicago has had to pay out millions of dollars in order to settle a sexual abuse claim against one of its clergy.
At the beginning of 2021, the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed legislation focused on creating a revival window for child sexual abuse survivors. After passing the General Assembly in February, the bill should have been included on the May 2021 ballot so, if passed, the state’s constitution could be amended.
More than 230 sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey from December 2019 to December 2020. The large number of lawsuits directly coincides with the state’s extension of its statute of limitations laws in civil actions for sexual abuse claims as well as its opening of a revival window which allows time barred claims to be brought before a specific date. The New Jersey revival window is set to close on November 30, 2021. Since it can often take years before a sexual abuse survivor feels comfortable enough to talk about being abused, extending the statute of limitations and opening the revival window gives victims an opportunity to receive some justice for what was done to them.
In 2018, Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester announced that the Archdiocese would seek bankruptcy protection amidst the growing number of sexual abuse lawsuits. Nearly 3 years later, the committee set up to represent the survivors, along with the Archdiocese, have reached a confidential settlement.
The Archdiocese of Chicago suspended two priests from ministry within six weeks of each other due to independent allegations of child sexual abuse. Separate letters from Cardinal Blase Cupich stated that Rev. Daniel McCarthy and Rev. David Ryan were both asked to step away from ministry after the Archdiocese received allegations of sexual abuse of children against both priests.
After a two-year investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the Diocese of Buffalo, alleging it covered up allegations of child sexual abuse and misused charitable assets by supporting predatory priests instead of following protocol and reporting them to authorities. Former Bishop Richard Malone and former Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
In an opinion issued in late 2020, the West Virginia Supreme Court rejected Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s claim that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act (CCPA) when it hired “admitted and credibly-accused sexual abusers” to work in schools and camps without warning prospective consumers.” The majority opinion stated that the CCPA does not apply to services offered by religious institutions.
A survey done by Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) concludes that only five U.S. dioceses are financially transparent. According to its website, VOTF is “a lay organization of faithful Catholics. . .whose mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.”
Texas priest Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez was sentenced to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to two charges of second-degree felony indecency with a child. The charges stem from when La Rosa-Lopez served at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe Texas in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Three sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Scranton Diocese at the end of 2020 allege that church officials knew the accused clergy members were abusing children and instead of punishing those priests, they transferred them to other parishes.
Rhode Island is reviewing a new bill to expand the current law’s definition of “perpetrator”, The bill is in response to state court rulings which, victims’ advocates say, have narrowed the meaning of the term “perpetrator” and has precluded victims of clergy sexual abuse from including a church or diocese in a lawsuit.
The Boy Scouts of America has offered to fund a trust with at least $300 million to compensate child sex abuse victims. The offer is part of a reorganization plan submitted by the Boy Scouts after filing for bankruptcy in 2020. The money will come from local councils, insurance policies and the sale of a collection of Norman Rockwell paintings.
Heal our Heart, the citizen-led group of prominent Catholics in Washington State discussed last April, are continuing their call for a public review of the “Seattle Archdiocese’s private records on clergy abuse.” The alliance remains resolute that a ‘truth and reconciliation’ approach to the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal will bring healing through transparency.
A popular Chicago priest is facing accusations he molested two brothers back in the 1970s when they were boys. The men, who now live in Texas, accused Father Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing them in his bedroom at the churches he served at on Chicago’s South Side. The brothers have chosen to remain anonymous since they still have family in Chicago and don’t want them to receive any backlash from Pfleger’s supporters.
In December of 2020, the Diocese of Oakland announced it reached a $3.5 million dollar priest sex abuse settlement with a former seminarian who asserted Father Michael Van Dinh raped him in 2017 at St. Michaels Parish in Livermore, CA. The seminarian did not wish to be identified and will be referred to here as ‘John Doe’
In Oct. 2020, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments virtually and live-streamed via YouTube, for the Rice v. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, et. al, case. This important legal battle could have major implications for priest and clergy abuse survivors regarding potential lawsuits.
In a matter of seven days, the Catholic Diocese of Charleston found itself having to defend itself against two allegations of priest sexual abuse. The allegations of abuse span from 1961 through the mid-1970s.
How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in Maryland is a common question. For some Maryland clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades, to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even survivors who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.
A $1.4 million dollar settlement was reached with the Augustine Order involving sexual abuse allegations against deceased Rev. John J. Gallagher. The settlement compensates 11 survivors, 10 females and 1 male whom Gallagher abused between 1974 and 1978 during his time at St. Mary’s School in Lawrence, MA.