Montana Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Due to the passing of a retroactive window in May of 2019, Montana is noted for being one the most victim friendly states in the country with regards to sexual abuse and assault laws. Its efforts to change legislation has helped survivors of sexual abuse get justice against their abusers in the courts, and also allows for compensation. These laws enable lawyers handling sexual abuse claims in Montana to file cases against sexual predators, including clergy members, and the Catholic church.
Below you will find Montana lawsuits news & updates, as well as additional information on Montana’s statute of limitations laws. These laws are important because they dictate how long a lawyer handling a Montana sexual assault case has to file a claim on behalf of a survivor. In addition, we have compiled a list of Montana settlements received by sexual abuse and assault survivors and a list of Montana ‘credibly’ accused priests released by the dioceses.
Montana Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse & Assault
Montana is one of the few states in the country to open a 1-year revival window in 2019 which allows victims of sexual violence whose claims were previously time-barred to bring a claim against their abusers. In addition, Montana also eliminated the state’s criminal SOL for felony and misdemeanor sexual abuse of children in 2019.
Criminal Statute of Limitation Laws for Montana
There is no criminal statute of limitations (SOL) for felony or misdemeanor sexual abuse of children, including prostitution and trafficking in Montana. For all other sexual abuse felonies, the statute is age 38. Child USA, who has evaluated every state based on their criminal statute of limitation laws, gave Montana a Criminal SOL score of 5, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the highest. A score of 5 is defined as a criminal SOL eliminated for all felonies and misdemeanors. Montana is one of only 7 states to be given a perfect Criminal SOL score.
Civil Statute of Limitation Laws for Montana
In 2019 Montana took great strides to update and better its sexual abuse and assault civil statute of limitations laws. Previously set at age 24, or 3 years after discovery, Montana’s new legislation moved the age to 27 or 3 years from discovery of the abuse, whichever is earlier. In addition, on May 7, 2019 a 1-year ‘window’ went into effect, allowing survivors of sexual abuse, whose claims were previously expired under the old laws, the opportunity to file a claim against their abusers. The window does have one unusual condition, however, and that is “actions can only be brought against perpetrators who are alive and have been convicted of or admitted to the abuse.”
Child USA, who has also evaluated every state based on their civil statute of limitation laws, gave Montana a Civil SOL Age Cap score of 2, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the highest. A score of 2 is defined as a civil SOL age cap between 26 and 34 years old for survivors. Additionally, Child USA gave Montana a related SOL Revival Law score of 3 on the same 1-5 scale. A score of 3 is defined as a revival window or revival up to age 30-54, for claims against perpetrators and private organizations.
If you or someone you love was sexually abused or assaulted in Montana, contact us now. Due to Montana’s revival window, those sexually abused as a minor likely still have a claim against their abuser, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. Don’t wait to file your claim. Montana’s current revival window is set to close on May 7, 2020.
Go to our main sexual abuse page to learn more about the process of filing a clergy sexual abuse claim.
Montana Sexual Abuse Settlements & Jury Awards
March 2015 – The Diocese of Helena reached a $21 million settlement with more than 360 survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. The agreement was reached via mediation and negotiation rather than years of litigation. Most of the money will be paid by the diocese’s insurance carrier. The diocese also published a list of accused perpetrators as part of its bankruptcy reorganization documents.
April 2018 – After years of litigation and multiple attempts at mediation, the Great Falls-Billings Diocese reached a $20 million settlement agreement with 86 survivors of sexual abuse. The allegations claim the abuse occurred between the 1940s and 1980s. The names of the accused priests are: Cyril Altermatt, Joseph Brown, Patrick Conway, Arnold Custer, Francis Duffy, Augustine J. Ferretti, Charles Gorman, Joseph Heretick, Leo Jansen, Koerner (first name unknown), Patrick Kendrigan, Kevin Malee, Bernard McMeel, Thomas McTague, Clarence Talks Different, Krik Morgan, James Reilly, Father O’Reilly (first name unknown), Joseph Papes, Sylvester Penna, Brother Rene (first name unknown), James Reynolds, Edmund Robinson, John Ryan, Patrick Savage, Frederick Simoneau, Andrew Zerek.
*The settlements listed above are offered for educational purposes only and do not guarantee any future outcome or settlement. Each legal situation is different, and past performance does not guarantee future results. We do not maintain that is a full list of all settlements in the state of Montana but merely a grouping of those we choose to share on our website. Please contact us if you would like additional settlements included or if you notice any inaccuracies on our site. We strive to provide our viewers the most up to date and accurate information as possible.
Montana Catholic Dioceses Release Names of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Children
On April 30, 2015, the Diocese of Helena released a list of all past and present alleged perpetrators of the Diocese who are identified in the Sexual Abuse Claims in the Whalen and Does cases. The list states that the Diocese will post a link to the names on the list on its homepage. On December 17, 2018, the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings released its list of all past and present alleged perpetrators of the Diocese who are identified in the Sexual Abuse Claims in the Whalen and Does cases. The decision to release the names was made as part of the bankruptcy settlements for both dioceses.
According to both Dioceses, the lists will be available on their webpages for a period of not less than 10 years.
Dioceses of Helena Clergy Credibly Accused Priest List
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Dioceses of Great Falls-Billings Clergy Credibly Accused Priest List
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Click to view our larger database of accused priests. Here you can search by accused clergy first and last name, Parish/Diocese, city and state, and even by the years of their assignments.