Sexual Abuse Lawyers for Clergy Abuse

Finding the right clergy sexual abuse lawyer can feel like an overwhelming process, but if you or a loved one was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or clergy member, we want to help. Our experienced group of clergy sexual abuse lawyers and staff prides itself on helping victims of child molestation and rape. The information you provide, as well as your identity, will be kept completely confidential until you are ready to move forward.

priest abuse lawyersThe vast majority of sexual abuse cases and sexual assault cases go unreported in our country. Many of those who were sexually abused as a child or teen have repressed memories of the abuse or do not connect their emotional injuries to the abuse until many years later when they are adults. In those cases, survivors often believe their abuse happened too long ago to receive civil justice, which in many cases, is just not true.

In fact, now more than ever, survivors are feeling empowered to come forward and stand up to their attackers and those entities and institutions that enabled the abusers and allowed these crimes to occur. Those who chose to hire a clergy sex abuse attorney to pursue legal claims against the priests responsible and against the Catholic Church can help prevent others from becoming victims of sexual predators. Many survivors believe that holding accountable the institution that allowed the abuser to commit these assaults was one of the key steps in the healing process. As more and more predators are being prosecuted, survivors are gaining the courage to speak out and seek compensation.

What is Clergy Sex Abuse?

Clergy sex abuse is the abuse of minor that is considered sexual in nature, and is committed by a member of the Catholic Church. The term ‘clergy’ includes priests, monsignors, deacons and bishops. In addition, while brothers, sisters (nuns), and cardinals have also been credibly accused, and in some cases convicted of child sex abuse, they are not technically considered ‘clergy’ by the Catholic Church. However, in the context of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, they are often all grouped into the ‘clergy’ category for simplification.

Abuse of a child, specifically abuse that is sexual in nature, refers to the intentional harm of a minor and can be physical or psychological in nature. Since a minor cannot consent to ANY form of sexual activity, all acts of a sexual nature against a child are criminal. According to RAINN, forms of sexual abuse may include:

  • Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
  • Fondling
  • Intercourse
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
  • Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
  • Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
  • Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare

Often times, in clergy sex abuse cases, the abuser uses his position of power and authority as a means to exploit, coerce, and sexually abuse a victim. Sadly, the Catholic Church has a well-known history of child sex abuse within its ranks. The crimes of these pedophile clergy were allowed to continue for decades due to lack of accountability and deliberate cover-ups. Click to read more about the Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Cover-up.

Our law firm has compiled the information below so that survivors interested in hiring a clergy sexual abuse lawyer know what to expect if they decide to file a Clergy Sexual Abuse case against the Catholic Church.

Hiring a Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorney

The emotional injuries from sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Survivors struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD and numerous other conditions. With everything that has already happened, the idea of discussing the abuse with an attorney can seem incredibly overwhelming.

Our attorneys who focus on sexual abuse feel strongly that survivors of clergy abuse and priest molestation are entitled to restitution for the horrific abuse they endured as children. While our child abuse attorneys understand that no amount of money can erase what happened, we believe the Catholic Church should take steps to provide compensation to its victims, as well as pay for counseling and support services when needed. Even if the childhood sexual abuse occurred many years ago, and the abused victim is now an adult, our attorneys can help review your options and help file a claim.

We’ve included a step by step outline of the process below so you can get a better idea of what to expect when you contact our law firm. You can reach our office by either filling out the form on your computer screen, or via phone by simply calling our toll-free number. We have staff available days, nights and weekends so that we can speak when it’s convenient for you. We know that taking the first step and reaching out to a sexual abuse attorney can be extremely overwhelming which is why we want to be available when you are ready to discuss your unique situation.

Call Catholic Sexual Abuse LawyersStep 1 – Your Initial Phone Call with our Law Firm and Staff

Whether you submit a form online, or call us directly, your first phone call will be with one of the two Senior Client Managers we have on staff; Barbara Flowers and Paula Fay. They both focus their time helping child sexual abuse victims of Catholic priest molestation. This initial call will likely take about 10-15 minutes. During this call we will gather your contact information and get some general details surrounding the sexual abuse. Typically, we will want to know when and where the abuse occurred and the name of priest or clergy responsible for the sexual assault. You will not be required to provide explicit details of the abuse if you are not ready to do so. If you don’t remember all the details – it’s ok! – we’ll be able to gather or research the information we need at a later date.

Note that if neither of our Client Managers are available to take your call, you will be directed to a private voicemail box. Simply leave your name, phone number and the best time to reach you and either Barbara or Paula will call you back. If our offices are open, this is usually within 15 minutes. Otherwise, you will be called as soon as we open the following day, or at a time specified by you.

Our office is open and staffed Monday – Friday, from 9am – 7pm EST. On the weekends our staff monitors voicemails and returns calls from 9am – 6pm. You can reach Barbara or Paula by calling 1-800-941-7209.

The information you provide, as well as your identity, will be kept completely confidential by our attorneys until you are ready to move forward. In addition, there is no obligation and the legal consultation is completely free. In fact, our lawyers work on a contingency so you will never have to pay any costs or expenses in advance.

Investigate Catholic Sexual Abuse CaseStep 2 – Investigating Your Clergy Sexual Abuse Claim

The information you provide to our Client Relations Managers will then be reviewed by our lead attorney to determine if we are able to pursue a claim on your behalf against the Catholic Church for childhood sexual abuse. Our lawyers will review the laws regarding the statute of limitations in your state and any other pertinent information. If we believe we can help, paperwork will be sent to you either in the mail (with a free return envelope), or electronically through DocuSign – whichever you prefer.

Once the paperwork is signed and returned, within a week you will be contacted by one of our sexual assault legal staff, and/or our lead attorney, Derek Braslow. This team will review the information you provided in your original call and try to obtain any additional details they may need. Often times this information will be gathered over the course of a few phone calls as you become more comfortable with them and are ready to share more of your story.

We pride ourselves on delivering a ‘small law firm’ experience to our clients. Each client is assigned one Client Relations Manager, one Paralegal and one Attorney for his/her case. You will not be bounced around to multiple staff members or asked to tell your story over and over again to a host of different people. In addition, to make getting in touch with us easy, our clients are provided both office and cell phone numbers to reach the staff and lawyer assigned to their case.

To learn more about our team, click here

Obtain Catholic Sexual Abuse Settlement

Step 3 – Obtaining a Clergy Sexual Abuse Settlement from the Catholic Church

Deciding how to handle and proceed with your sexual abuse case will be your decision. Our job as your sexual abuse lawyers is to provide you with all the options available to you.

In some states, programs have been put in place to financially compensate victims of Catholic priest molestation and rape, without the need to file a lawsuit or go to court. However, if your case is still within the statute of limitations set by your state, we may also be able file your case in court (if that is your wish.) If you do not want to file a sexual abuse lawsuit, and no programs are currently available in your state, our attorneys focused on clergy abuse cases may be able to work directly with the dioceses involved in the sexual abuse to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

Whatever your preference, don’t wait to speak with a clergy sexual abuse attorney. There are legal deadlines associated with every claim. Call us to learn more about your options and let us help you stand up to your abuser and prevent these assaults from happening to others.

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Clergy Sexual Abuse & the Catholic Church Cover-Up

According to a report by CNN, it is estimated that in the United States alone, over 8,600 survivors have received over $3.8 billion in restitution from the Catholic Church for claims involving allegations of sexual abuse. And while this is an extraordinary number of survivors, experts believe the number of victims is well over 100,000.

Clergy Sexual Abuse Statistics

Sexual Abuse Stats Pie ChartBishop-accountability.org documented settlements of 5,679 people who alleged sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. While this may seem like an extremely high number of sexual abuse survivors, unfortunately it only represents one-third of the 15,235 allegations of Catholic clergy sexual abuse bishops say they have received through 2009. Astoundingly, these numbers are likely only a fraction of the actual number of victims since most survivors may never come forward and report their abuse. In one 1993 study, Fr. Andrew Greeley estimated there could be as many as 100,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse in the United States alone.

While reports of child sexual abuse and priest molestation seem to have declined after the 1990’s, there is a difference of opinion as to why that may be happening. Bishops and the Catholic Church will say the decline is due to the fact that they addressed the issue of sexual abuse by clergy in the 80’s and 90’s, meaning there are less instances of sexual abuse by clergy occurring, and therefore less abuse to report. However, many people outside the church believe the reason for the decline is that many victims from that time have yet to come forward. It may take years for a sexual abuse survivor to realize that some of the issues they are dealing with today, may stem from their sexual abuse. Often times victims just aren’t ready to come forward with their stories of molestation and abuse caused by the Catholic Church and its clergy. Another explanation for the decline in abuse numbers could be that the Catholic Church, in some regions, is still covering up sexual abuse claims committed by its priests. In some dioceses, bishops are still refusing to release names of accused priests or numbers of accusations despite public outcry to do so. Regrettably, this means that the actual number of sexual abuse allegations and victims is probably higher than any published statistics.

Transfer of “Problem Priests”

When allegations of sexual abuse by clergy were brought to churches, one of the ways bishops and different parishes chose to deal with the situation was to transfer the “problem priest” to a different parish. Sometimes the new parish would be in the same state as the abuse allegations but more times than not the accused priest was transferred out of state or even out of the country. Not only were abusers transferred, but some priests who complained of these “problem priests” coming to their parish were also transferred away. Even more alarming is the fact that new parishes were not always made aware of the sexual abuse allegations coming along with the transferred Catholic priest, so there was no reason to limit or prohibit their access to children, so the molestation by these priests often continued.

According to a church-sponsored report from 2004:

  • In 2002-2003 at least 150 Catholic priests from 56 dioceses who were removed or retired facing credible sexual abuse allegations quietly moved away
  • At least 138 of these clergy went to other American dioceses
  • In at least 10 cases the offending priests left the country
  • In at least four cases bishops claimed they lost track of the abusers
  • Some dioceses admitted priests had moved but refused to give exact numbers

Amazingly, all of these moves took place after June 2002 when bishops pledged to “deal with this problem strongly, consistently and effectively in the future.” However, in this report there is no sign that police, prosecutors, parishioners or even church employees were notified about these clergy molesters coming to their parishes.

Due to different dioceses’ decisions on releasing information regarding abusive priests, it is difficult to determine how many abusers were moved in and out of different dioceses. The churches’ silence on these issues certainly enabled these patterns of sexual abuse by clergy to continue.

A Country-wide Problem

A 2003 New York Times survey of documented cases of sexual abuse by clergy through the end of 2002 showed just how widespread sexual abuse and molestation by priests is. There were allegations of clergy abuse in 161 of 177 Catholic dioceses in the United States. Every region of the country was also affected by pedophile priests. There were 206 accused priests in the West, 246 in the South, 335 in the Midwest, and 434 in the Northeast.

Accused Priest Molestation Map by Region

For dioceses who claimed to have divulged complete lists of abusive priests, the numbers were staggering. For example, 7.7% of priests ordained in Manchester, NH over the past 50 years have been implicated in the sexual abuse of minors. That number was 6.2% in Baltimore and 5.3% in Boston. These percentages are shockingly high and show that the Catholic Churches didn’t do enough to protect their parishioners from clergy abuse.

Exposing Cases of Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Church

The media played an extensive role in making the public aware of the abuse being suffered by children at the hands of priests. For decades, the Catholic Church did all it could to keep allegations of abuse and molestation by its clergy out of the public domain. Priests would tell their victims to say nothing about what had been done to them. Parents who complained of their child’s abuse were also told to keep quiet. In Massachusetts, the true picture of the church’s attempt to cover up the abuse came to light when the Boston Globe filed a motion in court to make public church documents being used in civil lawsuits being filed against the church. When the judge ordered the records be made public, the Archdiocese appealed the ruling but was denied by the state’s appellate court. These documents helped the Globe’s investigative team piece together the story of how Catholic priests in Boston were sexually abusing children and the church’s attempt to cover up those allegations. This investigation by the Globe and the resulting story are the basis for the 2015 film Spotlight.

The strength showed by many clergy sex abuse survivors who have stood up against the Catholic Church, coupled with the in-depth investigations led by the media, are two of the main reasons the problem has become so widely known. Without these sexual abuse survivors’ willingness to come forward, it’s likely the Catholic Church would have continued its efforts aimed at hiding the truth, and continued the practice of transferring these predatory priests around the country; providing them access to new pools of child victims.

Timeline of the Church and Vatican Response

  • January 7, 2002, Boston Globe Spotlight article is published detailing the extensive abuse of children by Catholic priests and the church’s attempts to cover up the situation. (Link to articles here)
  • In January 26, 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law issues a letter of “apology” regarding how he mishandled reports and accusations of sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese. There is no response from the Vatican. (Link to letter here)
  • By March 2002, the Vatican response to the sexual abuse of children by priests has been so subdued that a number of people there are barely aware of the American Catholic Church abuse scandal. Americans in the Vatican say its response has been “embarrassingly weak.” (Link to article here)
  • Later in March 2002, a Holy Thursday letter from the Pope briefly touches on the abuse scandal but doesn’t speak harshly enough regarding the abusers, nor does he express much of any sympathy for the survivors. His comments on the sexual abuse of children by priests only comprised about 10% of his letter. (Link to article here)
  • In April 2002, the Pope issued a more strongly worded response to the abuse, saying it was an “appalling sin” and a crime. (Link to article here)
  • In June 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops establishes the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” It calls for a zero tolerance for priests who sexually abuse children. However, it fails to address bishops who have covered up cases or allowed abusive priests to remain in ministry. (Link to Charter here)
  • In November 2005, the Vatican issued a ridiculous and misguided directive stating the Church cannot admit “to Seminary or Holy Orders those who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.” (Link to Directive here)
  • In 2014 the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was instituted by Pope Francis for safeguarding minors. The Commission’s task is to “advise the Roman Pontiff on effective policies for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and educational programs for all who are involved in this work.” (Link to website here)
  • May 2019, Pope Francis issues a new church law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns worldwide to report sexual abuse by clergy and cover-ups to church authorities, however it doesn’t require the crimes be reported to police. In most instances, the “church authority” to which sexual abuse would be reported to, would be a bishop. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, it was bishops who played a prominent role in covering up abuse in the church for decades.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Timeline

Based on the above timeline, the Vatican and church still seem to be falling short in its efforts; choosing to protect themselves before keeping the children of their churches safe from predator priests. Not mandating that any allegations of abuse be reported to authorities outside the church is asking for the cycles of abuse to continue since the church is clearly unable to police itself. There is no excuse for them not doing more to help stop sexual abuse of children by clergy.

If you were a childhood victim of a predatory priest and want to hold the Catholic Church accountable, contact our experienced clergy sex abuse lawyers for a free consultation. The information you provide, as well as your identity, will be kept completely confidential until you are ready to move forward.

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Child Sex Abuse Laws & Time Limits for Filing a Claim

Clergy sexual abuse lawyers are required to follow the laws set by each state in order to pursue a sexual abuse case on behalf of a survivor of priest molestation or child sexual abuse. State laws differ greatly, and, therefore, the time allowed for an individual to bring a claim of sexual abuse also varies. However, even in states where the statute of limitations (SOLs) appears to be expired, there may be other options for pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit and obtaining a settlement.

There has been significant movement over the last few years by legislators in many states to improve upon existing civil statute of limitation laws as they relate to child sex abuse. The argument supporting the need for change is based on the fact that many survivors of childhood sex abuse often suppress those painful memories. Others are not able to process or deal with the trauma until much later in adulthood, sometimes only after they begin therapy or find support groups. Prior to recent reform, the SOLs in most states were far too short. They barred both criminal and civil claims from being brought against abusers and pedophiles due to arbitrary deadlines for filing a sexual abuse claim.

Many lawmakers are currently working to change and improve their state’s SOL laws, while others have already enacted a change. While the changes vary by state, some states have already extended their civil SOLs, giving victims of childhood sexual abuse a longer time period to file a claim. In some instances, the civil SOL has been totally removed, meaning there are no time restrictions for filing a claim. Finally, in combination with the extended SOL laws, some states have imposed a ‘window’, allowing survivors of childhood sex abuse, whose claims were previously expired under current law, to file their claim within a preset time frame.

Sexual Abuse Statue of Limitations Laws by State

Laws regarding clergy sexual abuse lawsuits are governed at the state level and, therefore, subject to the laws in each individual state. The last few years have been exemplary for reform of child sex abuse statute of limitations laws (SOLs).

ChildUSA, a leading non-profit created to end child abuse and neglect, prides itself on ‘producing evidence-based solutions and information needed by policymakers, organizations, media and society as a whole to increase child protection and the common good.’ As part of their efforts, ChildUSA conducted a study which reported on the pace of child sex abuse statute of limitations reform in all 50 states. Each state was given a score based on both its criminal and civil SOL laws to create an average. The scale was based on a score of 0-5, where 1 was the worst and 5 was the best.

 

Revival Windows Helping More Survivors Receive Compensation

In addition to changes in SOL laws, some states have gone a step further and created what is knowns as a ‘revival window’. These ‘windows’ give survivors, whose claims were previously time-barred due to statute of limitations laws, the ability to file those claims against those responsible. Revival window terms vary by state and can differ with regards to:

  • Length of Time – Some revival windows are permanent while others are open for a finite period of time.
  • Age Limits – The most victim friendly revival windows have no age limits, however, in some states, revival windows come with age caps, meaning any person over a defined age is not eligible to file a claim under the new window law.
  • Who Can Be Sued – The best revival windows do not limit who can be sued for damages. However, in some states, revival windows only allow for the actual perpetrator to be sued, leaving survivors unable to hold the institutions responsible for covering up the sexual abuse accountable.

States with Open Revival Windows

The following states currently have open revival windows. If you were abused as a child by a priest or other clergy member in any of these states, your time to file a claim is court is likely limited. If you are ready to file a claim or have questions about filing a claim, please contact our sexual abuse attorneys as soon as possible.

Arkansas

  • Opening on February 1, 2022
  • 2-Year window
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, private organizations & the government
  • Window will close January 31, 2024

California

  • Opened on January 1, 2020
  • 3-Year window
  • Window only revives claims for those up to age 40
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations & the government
  • Window will close December 31, 2023

Connecticut

  • Opened in 2002
  • Permanent window only revives claims for up to age 48
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations & the government
  • Opened on September 23, 2016
  • Permanent window
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations & the government

Kentucky

  • Opened March 23, 2021
  • Limited window which revives the SOL up to 5 years after the date the original SOL previously expired

Maine

  • Opened on June 29, 2021
  • Permanent Window
  • Revives all previously expired claims without limitation against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations, and the government

Massachusetts

  • Opened in 2014
  • Permanent window only revived for those up to age 53
  • Window only allows for claims against perpetrators

Montana

  • Opened on May 7, 2019
  • Permanent window for those up to age 27
  • 1-Year window for those 27 and older closed on May 6, 2020
  • Window allows for claims against perpetrators and entities

Nevada

  • Opened on June 2, 2021
  • Permanent window for those claims against perpetrators criminally liable for sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor and promoters, possessors, or viewers of child sexual abuse material
  • Permanent window limited to age 38 for child sex abuse and sexual exploitation of a minor against other defendants

New Jersey

  • Opened on December 1, 2019
  • 2-Year window
  • Window only revived for those up to age 53
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations & the government
  • Window applies to both child and adult victims of sexual assault
  • Window will close November 30, 2021

New York

  • Opened on August 14, 2019
  • 1-Year window (which has since be extended due to Covid-19)
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations & the government
  • Window will close August 14, 2021

North Carolina

  • Opened on January 1, 2020
  • 2-Year window
  • Allows for all civil claims
  • Window will close December 31, 2022

Oregon

  • Opened in 2010
  • Permanent Revival Window for those up to age 40
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals and private organizations

Rhode Island

  • Opened on July 1, 2019
  • Permanent Revival Window for those up to age 53
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators only

Vermont

  • Opened May 28, 2018
  • Permanent Revival Window
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations and government

West Virginia

  • Opened on March 25, 2020
  • Permanent Revival Window for those up to age 36
  • Allows for claims to be filed against perpetrators and private organizations

States with Pending Revival Window Legislation

In addition to the open revival windows mentioned above, many states have introduced bills into legislation with the hopes of extending child sex abuse SOL laws and creating revival windows. The following states have pending legislation that would enact some kind of revival window.

Georgia

  • The pending reform bill would extend the civil SOL for child sex abuse from age 23 to 38 and the delayed discovery rule from 2 to 4 years.
  • The bill would also open a 1-year revival window against perpetrators and entities, with a limitation that claims against entities can only be brought for conduct occurring after 1988

Hawaii

  • The pending reform bill would open another revival window until April 24, 2024.
  • The bill would also provide for treble damages against a legal entity that disregarded evidence or failed to report prior sexual abuse. ‘Treble damages’ allow a court to triple the amount of the compensatory damages awarded to a plaintiff.

Indiana

  • The pending reform bill would open a permanent revival window for all expired claims.
  • The bill excludes children who were sexually abused at a health facility.

Kansas

  • The pending reform bill would open a permanent revival window for claims that were not expired prior to 1992.

Louisiana

Maryland

  • The pending reform bill would open a 2-year revival window for all expired claims.

Massachusetts

  • The pending reform bill would open a permanent revival window for all expired claims.
  • The bill would also remove the $20,000 cap placed on ‘charitable organizations’, which currently includes the Catholic Church.

New York

  • The pending reform bill would open another revival window for 3 additional years for all expired claims, including those governed by an SOL of another jurisdiction, with a provision barring confidential settlements.

Ohio

  • The pending reform bill would open a 3-year revival window for all expired claims.

Oklahoma

  • The pending reform bill would open a 5-year revival window for all expired claims.
  • The bill passed the House in March 11, 2021.

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

  • The proposed bill would amend its revival window up to age 53 in order to clarify the definition of perpetrator to includes persons and entities who ‘aid, abet or conceal sexual abuse or exploitation of a child’.

Texas

  • The proposed bill would open a permanent revival window for all expired claims.

Click on our interactive map below to find out more about the revival windows and statute of limitations laws in your state.

Revival Window Laws by State

Last updated June 23, 2021

Permanent Window Open, NO Age Limits
Permanent Window Open w/ Age Restrictions
Permanent Window Open w/ Age & Who Can Be Sued Restrictions
Permanent Window Open w/ Restrictions & Legislation Pending
Current Window Open w/ NO Age Limits
Current Window Open w/ NO Age Limits & Legislation Pending to Extend
Current Window Open w/ Age Restrictions
Window  Previously Opened, Now Closed
Window  Previously Opened, Now Closed, New Legislation Pending
Bill Proposed to Add Revival Window
No Window Currently Open and No Legislation Pending

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Help for Sexual Abuse Survivors

While the response from the Catholic Church has been slow and inadequate in many aspects, advocates, including non-profits, state legislators and child sex abuse attorneys, have fought tirelessly for survivors’ rights. In addition, many Catholic Dioceses across the country have taken strides to provide transparency with regards to pedophile priests by releasing the names of those credibly accused priests, as well as offering compensation to its victims.

Catholic Diocese Credibly Accused Lists

Many Catholic Dioceses across the country have begun releasing lists of the priests they deem to have been ‘credibly’ accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Most of these investigations into clergy sex abuse are conducted by either an independent board hired by the church, an archdiocesan or canonical review board, or some combination of the two. Most dioceses release these lists along with a statement of apology from the bishop or cardinal which also explains the process and criteria used to determine whether a priests’ name would be included. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York released the following statement in his pastoral letter which accompanied the list of credibly accused priests from his Archdiocese.

I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.

We’ve compiled the following list of dioceses who have chosen to release a credibly accused list to the public. For a full list of clergy related to a particular diocese, click on the hyperlink below. Additional dioceses’ lists and the names of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse continue to be added to our site.

List of Catholic Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse

The number of allegations of child sexual abuse reported to the Catholic Church by 2009 in the United States was over 15,000. In a 1993 report completed by Andrew M. Greeley, a Catholic Priest, professor and journalist, Greeley estimated the number of clergy sexual abuse victims was likely closer to 100,000. That would make the percentage of sexual abuse claims that are actually reported staggeringly low; at less than 15%.

While the percentage of claims reported is estimated to be extremely low, the number of predator priests and clergy accused of sexual abuse and misconduct is in the thousands. We have compiled a list of priests accused of sexual abuse and continue to add to it weekly.

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Sexual Abuse Settlements & Compensation by State

According to BishopAccountability.org, Clergy sex abuse lawyers have filed over 3000 lawsuits against the Catholic Church in the United Sates with some cases resulting in multimillion-dollar settlements. In total, it is estimated that the Catholic Church has paid its victims between $2-3 billion dollars from 1950 to 2007 alone. Below is a list of some of the largest landmark Catholic church sexual abuse settlements by state.

Alaska Catholic Church Settlements

  • $50 million paid in November of 2011 to 110 Alaska natives who alleged sexual abuse by Jesuit priests

Arizona Catholic Church Settlements

  • $22.2 million paid as part of the trust set up for survivors in the Tucson Diocese’s bankruptcy reorganization

Arkansas Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.5 million jury award for sexual abuse survivor from Blytheville, Arkansas
  • $790,000 in compensation paid by the Little Rock Diocese to five survivors of priest sex abuse in the 1970’s

California Catholic Church Settlements

  • $100 million paid to nearly 90 sexual abuse survivors in 2004 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange
  • $35 million paid to 33 sexual abuse victims in June of 2005 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento
  • $56 million paid to 56 sexual abuse survivors in August of 2005 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
  • $28 million paid to 25 sexual abuse survivors in March of 2006 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • $60 million paid to 45 sexual abuse survivors in December of 2006 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles
  • $660 million paid to over 500 sexual abuse victims in July of 2007 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles
  • $198.1 million paid to 144 childhood sexual abuse victims in September of 2007 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
  • $3.5 million paid to sexual abuse survivor in December of 2020 by the Diocese of Oakland

Colorado Catholic Church Settlements

  • $5.5 million paid to 18 sexual abuse survivors in July 2008 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver
  • $7.3 million paid to over 70 Colorado sexual abuse survivors in December 2020

Connecticut Catholic Church Settlements

  • $15 million paid to 26 sexual abuse survivors in March of 2001 by the Diocese of Bridgeport
  • $21 million paid to 40 sexual abuse survivors in October of 2003 by the Diocese of Bridgeport
  • $22 million paid to 42 sexual abuse survivors in November of 2005 by the Diocese of Bridgeport
  • $1.1 million paid to a survivor in November of 2006 by the Diocese of Norwich
  • $3.55 million paid to 5 clergy abuse survivors in March of 2019 by the Diocese of Bridgeport

Delaware Catholic Church Settlements

  • $77 million paid to 150 sexual abuse survivors in February of 2011 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington

Florida Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.075 million paid to 12 clergy abuse survivors in April of 2004 by the Diocese of St. Petersburg
  • $3.4 million paid to 24 clergy abuse survivors in September of 2004 by the Diocese of Miami
  • $1.5 million paid by the Diocese of Orlando and the Diocese of St. Augustine to 3 clergy abuse survivors in September of 2005
  • A six-figure settlement was paid to a clergy abuse survivor in August of 2014 by the Diocese of Venice

Georgia Catholic Church Settlements

  • $4.24 million paid by the Diocese of Savannah in October of 2009 to settle a claim with a clergy sexual abuse survivor
  • $4.5 million paid by the Diocese of Savannah in July of 2016 to settle a claim with a clergy sexual abuse survivor

Hawaii Catholic Church Settlements

  • The Diocese of Honolulu paid $25,000 of a $1.5 million settlement to a sexual abuse survivor who made claims against a priest assigned in both the Honolulu Diocese and the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.

Illinois Catholic Church Settlements

  • The Archdiocese of Chicago settled lawsuits with four sexual abuse survivors for nearly $4 million
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay more than $8 million to settle claims from 15 sexual abuse survivors
  • The Diocese of Rockford settled a sexual abuse lawsuit for $2.2 million regarding abuse of two teenage girls
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago settled lawsuits with 15 sexual abuse survivors for nearly $7 million
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago settled lawsuits with 16 sexual abuse survivors for nearly $13 million
  • St. Clair County jury in Belleville awarded a sexual abuse survivor $5 million after he was abused as a child
  • The Diocese of Belleville agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a former altar boy
  • The Diocese of Joliet agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by three sexual abuse survivors
  • The Diocese of Joliet agreed to pay over $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a sexual abuse survivor in his 50s
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a 12-year-old girl and her family
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit involving a child sexual abuse from the early 2000s
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago settled lawsuits with three sexual abuse survivors for $3.15 million

Iowa Catholic Church Settlements

  • $37 million paid to 162 sexual abuse victims in December of 2007 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport as part of a bankruptcy filing by the diocese

Kentucky Catholic Church Settlements

  • $25.7 million paid to sexual abuse survivors in July of 2003 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville to settle 240 lawsuits
  • $79 million paid to nearly 250 victims in January of 2006 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington

Louisiana Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.8 million paid to the family of a former alter boy in December 1987 by the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette
  • $18 million paid out by the Catholic Diocese of Lafaytte and it’s insurers to 34 victims from 1983-1990

Maine Catholic Church Settlements

  • $200,000 paid by the Diocese of Portland to a women in December 2009
  • $1.2 million paid by the Diocese of Portland in August 2016 to settle claims by six men

Maryland Catholic Church Settlements

  • $50,000 settlement paid by the Archdiocese of Baltimore to a women who was sexually abused while a student at a Catholic high school

Massachusetts Catholic Church Settlements

  • $10 million paid to 86 victims in 2002 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston who were abused by John Geoghan
  • $85 million paid to 552 sexual abuse survivors in 2003 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston
  • $33 million paid to over 250 sexual abuse victims in June of 2005 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston
  • $1.4 million paid to 11 priest sexual abuse survivors in August of 2020 by the Augustinians

Minnesota Catholic Church Settlements

  • $200 million settlement in June of 2018 by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to settle the claims of 450 clergy abuse victims
  • $34 million settlement in March of 2020 by the Diocese of New Ulm to settle the claims of roughly 100 clergy abuse victims
  • $22.5 million paid in May of 2020 by the Diocese of Saint Cloud to settle the claims of 70 clergy abuse victims
  • $21.5 million settlement in February of 2021 by the Diocese of Winona-Rochester to settle the claims of 145 clergy abuse victims

Mississippi Catholic Church Settlements

  • $5.1 million paid to 19 clergy abuse survivors in March of 2006 by the Diocese of Jackson

Missouri Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.2 million jury award in March of 1999 for a victim of clergy abuse within the Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • $1.675 million paid in April 2004 by the Archdioceses of St. Louis to a family of a boy who was abused by a clergy.
  • $2 million paid in August of 2004 by the Archdiocese of St. Louis to 18 victims of clergy sexual abuse.
  • $10 million paid in August 2008 by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to more than 40 victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Montana Catholic Church Settlements

  • Diocese of Helena paid a $21 million settlement to more than 360 survivors of sexual abuse by clergy
  • Great Falls-Billings Diocese reached a $20 million settlement agreement with 86 survivors of sexual abuse

Nevada Catholic Church Settlements

  • The Diocese of Las Vegas paid out approximately $15 million to Catholic Church sex abuse victims between 1995-2019
  • The Diocese of Reno paid out approximately $1.4 million to Catholic Church sex abuse victims between 1998-2019

New Hampshire Catholic Church Settlements

  • The Diocese of Manchester paid out over $5 million to 62 victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy members
  • The Diocese of Manchester announced that it had paid out approximately $30 million to sexual abuse victims as of 2019

New Jersey Catholic Church Settlements

  • $3.2 million paid from 1990-1994 by the Camden Diocese to 19 sexual abuse survivors
  • $5 million paid by the Paterson Diocese to 27 sexual abuse survivors in February of 2005

New Mexico Catholic Church Settlements

  • The Diocese of Gallup was ordered to pay $21 million to 56 survivors of sexual abuse by a federal bankruptcy judge

New York Catholic Church Settlements

  • $65 million paid to over 300 victims through the New York Diocese compensation fund from 2016-2019
  • $27.5 million paid by the Brooklyn Diocese to 4 boys abused by their teacher who was later sentenced to 15 years in prison for the abuse
  • $11.45 million jury award for 2 survivors abused by their former youth minister in the late 1990s on Long Island

North Carolina Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.1 million paid to five sexual abuse survivors by the Diocese of Raleigh for claims against two priests
  • $1.23 million paid to a sexual abuse survivor by the Diocese of Charlotte after the priest who abused the victim made incriminating statements on a taped phone call

Ohio Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.19 million paid in August 2004 by the Diocese of Toledo to settle 23 claims
  • $1 milliion paid in August 2020 by the Diocese of Columbus to settle a sexual abuse claim stemming from a Catholic preparatory school

Oklahoma Catholic Church Settlements

  • $5 million paid to a clergy abuse survivor in May of 2002 by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
  • Nearly $800,000 was paid to 2 clergy abuse survivors in August of 2002 by the Diocese of Tulsa

Oregon Catholic Church Settlements

  • $75 million paid to 177 sexual abuse survivors in April of 2007 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland

Pennsylvania Catholic Church Settlements

  • In April of 1994, a jury awarded over $1.5 million to a 26-year old plaintiff who was abused by his former priest over a 6-year span. The final award exceeded $2.5 million after penalties for delay in payment were assessed.
  • $3.7 million was paid to 21 victims of childhood sexual abuse by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in May of 2005.
  • As of December 2019, the Roman Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania reported to have collectively paid more than $84 million to over 500 survivors of sexual abuse.

Rhode Island Catholic Church Settlements

  • $13.5 million paid by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence to settle a lawsuit filed by 36 clergy abuse survivors
  • $1.3 million paid by the Dioceses of Providence to settle a lawsuit by four clergy sexual abuse survivors and their families

South Carolina Catholic Church Settlements

  • The Catholic Diocese of Charleston settled out of court with 11 sexual abuse victims for a total of nearly $1.4 million

Tennessee Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.55 million paid in February of 2009 to a clergy abuse survivor by the Diocese of Memphis

Texas Catholic Church Settlements

  • $7.5 million paid to three men of clergy sexual abuse in March of 1998 by the Diocese of Dallas
  • $23.4 million paid to nine former altar boys for priest molestation in July of 1998 by the Diocese of Dallas
  • $2.75 million paid to a clergy abuse survivor in April of 2005 by the Diocese of Forth Worth
  • $1.4 million paid to a clergy abuse survivor in April of 2005 by the Diocese of Forth Worth
  • $1.2 million paid to three clergy abuse survivors in July of 2011 by the Diocese of Corpus Christi

Vermont Catholic Church Settlements

  • $17.6 million paid by the Diocese of Burlington to settle 26 lawsuits against priests in Vermont for child molestation. In addition, as part of the settlement, the Diocese also agreed to settle the cases of 3 former altar boys who won large jury awards at trial, but who’s cases were all being appealed by the diocese.
  • $8 million jury award against the Catholic Diocese of Burlington for a former altar boy abused from 1976-1978 while serving at Christ the King Church.

Virginia Catholic Church Settlements

  • There are currently no notable settlements to report for Virginia however a compensation fund has been set up by the Richmond Diocese for clergy sexual abuse survivors. The deadline for submission was April 3, 2020.

Washington Catholic Church Settlements

  • $48 million paid to 150 sexual abuse victims in January of 2007 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane
  • $1.7 million settlement agreed reached by the Archdiocese of Seattle to settle abuse claims against a Snohomish, WA priest
  • $2 million payout by the Archdiocese of Seattle to settle clergy sexual abuse claims against four priests

Washington D.C. Catholic Church Settlements

  • $1.3 million paid to 16 sexual abuse survivors by the Archdiocese of Washington D.C

Settlements with the Catholic Church are still being reached today for hundreds, if not thousands, of clergy abuse survivors. You can view some of these recent Catholic Church Settlements on our website. To hire a clergy sexual abuse attorney and pursue a legal claim of your own, call us today at 1-800-941-7209.

Note additional sexual abuse lawsuit and settlement data is continuously being added to our site. Please check back for additional information.

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Resources for Clergy Abuse Survivors

Survivors of priest rape and sexual abuse by clergy should know that in addition to hiring a clergy sex abuse attorney, support services exist and are available to them. When they are ready, we encourage survivors to seek out and find the support program that suits them best. Every survivors’ experience is different so finding the help and resources they are comfortable with is important. The following is a list of websites for survivors of sexual abuse. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and is also not a recommendation or endorsement of any of the following. Survivors should feel free to visit the sites to see if any may be of help to them or could possibly steer them in the direction of an organization that could.

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