In May of 2020, the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for bankruptcy protection after 400-plus clergy sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against it. The sheer number of lawsuits is staggering …
A lawsuit was filed against the Diocese of San Diego less than two weeks after the diocese said it was contemplating filing for bankruptcy protection. The suit accuses the diocese of fraudulently transferring assets in order to avoid paying large settlements to survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego recently stated it may choose to file for bankruptcy in the coming months; blaming the number of clergy sexual abuse cases filed against it.
The Diocese of Portland is challenging the constitutionality of the new law and trying to get the lawsuits dismissed . . .
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), as well as other survivors of clergy sexual abuse , delivered a list of 312 clergy and lay people publicly accused of sexual abuse . . .
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill has ordered the Archdiocese of New Orleans to stop paying retirement benefits to five priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors . . .
Attorneys for more than 400 clergy sexual abuse survivors in Albany, New York, denied the diocese’s request to pause litigation . . .
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the highest court in the commonwealth, upheld a lower court’s ruling which will allow a clergy sexual abuse claim to move forward . . .
A ruling by a federal bankruptcy judge will allow clergy sexual abuse survivors to move forward with lawsuits against the Diocese of Rochester.
Neyer is seeking more accountability from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as well as asking lawmakers to reform the state’s current child sex abuse statute of limitations laws.
A recently filed lawsuit by a clergy sexual abuse survivor accuses the leaders of the Rhode Island Catholic Church of “victim blaming” and ignoring multiple allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy.
Abuse Claim Against Defrocked Priest Settled for $1.2 Million
Since December 1, 2019, when New Jersey opened a two-year revival window for victims of sexual abuse, 820 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse against clerics, teachers, and nuns have been filed against Catholic dioceses and orders.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
<>The three Roman Catholic Dioceses in Colorado paid out a total $7.3 million in sexual abuse settlements to over 70 people who were sexually abused as children by clergy. The payments came as part of the Colorado priest abuse reparations program. The Catholic Church settlements cover claims that went back decades and marked the end of a 22-month investigation by Colorado Attorney General, Phil Weiser. <>
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma is overseeing the Chapter 11 reorganization of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Thuma’s recent ruling would allow lawyers for clergy sex abuse survivors to file lawsuits against the diocese claiming it fraudulently transferred an estimated $150 million to avoid paying it to survivors. Lawyers for survivors allege the transfer of Archdiocese real estate and assets to parishes is an attempt to avoid bigger payouts to victims.
Over the last few years, many states have passed reform bills to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse hold their abusers, and the institutions responsible for the abuse, accountable. Several states, including New York and California, have passed laws setting up what are commonly referred to as ‘revival windows.’ These ‘revival windows’ create a time frame for previously expired claims to be brought on behalf of the survivor.
The Archdiocese of Newark is facing nine new sex abuse lawsuits that were recently filed. In total, four priests and three clerics from two different religious orders were named. One of the clerics, from the Xaverian Brothers, was accused of for the first time.
The Servants of Paraclete has asked a New Mexico court to dismiss a lawsuit involving David Holley and child molestation. The response states “the complaint fails to state claims, in whole or in part, upon which relieve can be granted as a matter of law”. While the merits of this particular dismissal request will play out in the court, there was a history of pedophile priests plaguing this particular facility.
The Diocese of Trenton is facing at least 10 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse; all filed by the same attorney. Over the almost last two decades since the Boston Globe expose in 2002, the public has become more aware of the Roman Catholic Church’s ongoing cover-up of child abuse. What the Diocese of Trenton is facing is the increased pressure from state officials , state office, and plaintiff attorneys seeking accountability and justice.
>A new law passed in the state of California provides victims with a window to file claims of childhood sexual abuse that were previously time barred. One man is taking advantage of that law and in February of 2020, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The victim alleges that Father Michael Baker sexually abused him repeatedly from age 6 to 10 years old and that the Cardinal at the time, Roger Mahoney, covered it up. The plaintiff’s attorney, John Manly, stated that the Cardinal tried to hide what was going on with Father Baker by transferring him to other parishes rather than reporting the criminal behavior to the police.
An investigation is underway by the Diocese of Des Moines regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Robert L Grant better known as “Father Bud” by a student at the St Alberts High School in Council Bluffs. The alleged abuse took place back in the early 1990’s. Due to Iowa law, criminal actions cannot be taken because of Iowa’s statute of limitation which requires a victim to report the abuse within 10 – 15 years after the individual turns 18 (depending on the circumstances.)
Victims of clergy sexual abuse with cases against the Diocese of Buffalo should expect delays in compensation awards. In a January ruling by Judge Deborah A. Chimes, Supreme Court of Erie Country, she noted the particular victim (plaintiff) should receive damages for abuse suffered. However there is a catch causing a delay in getting compensation from the Diocese of Buffalo. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy. This filing effectively paused all lawsuits and legal proceedings against the dioceses.
In February of 2020, the Diocese of Buffalo became the second Diocese in New York state to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after the first filing by the Diocese of Rochester in September of 2019. The church sites the new law passed by New York state’s legislators, dubbed the Child Victims Act, as the reason for bankruptcy filings.
Senators from New York gathered on Friday to discuss extending the time for victims to file a claim for sexual abuse. The original deadline was set to expire on August 14, 2020 but now, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, legislators have agreed to extend it to January 14, 2021; giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse an additional five months to file a claim. The senate felt that since court services have been significantly reduced due to the virus, it was only fair to extend the time for these victims.
An Arizona state law opening a window for those whose sexual abuse claims may have been time barred has been extended to the end of this year. Two victims who claim they were abused by Catholic priests over 40 years ago used this law to file lawsuits against their church and the Diocese of Phoenix.
A lawsuit filed in New Jersey by a former Diocese of Allentown altar boy claims that the diocese failed to protect him as he was sexually abused for decades. The $50 million suit contends diocese officials turned their backs on the victim and failed to protect him from the abuse even after knowing his abuser was a pedophile.
A lawsuit has been brought against Bishop James Timlin and Bishop Joseph Bambera for their part in covering up years of alleged sexual abuse by priests in the Diocese of Scranton. After years of thinking it was “too late” to do anything about their abuse, four men have come forward and accused Father Michael Pulicare, the former assistant pastor of St Joseph’s Parish, of sexual abuse. Pulicare died in 1999 and the church was renamed Divine Mercy of St Joseph, which is located on Davis St in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Each man filed their own separate lawsuit.
A childhood victim of priest sex abuse at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Holy Trinity School filed a civil lawsuit in Erie County Supreme Court of New York. This New York Catholic Church lawsuit, filed in September of 2019, was filed against the Diocese of Buffalo and claims Monsignor Valerio Bernardo, a pastor of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church and Holy Trinity School, abused the plaintiff during the late 1960s when she was about five years old. The plaintiff and her family were parishioners at Holy Trinity Church and she was a student at Holy Trinity School.
Father Isidore Ndagizimana, better known as Father Izzy, of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, has been accused of sexually abusing 6 female parishioners. The six women, whose names have been left anonymous, claim Father Ndagizimana would touch them inappropriately in the confessional box at church and tried kissing them. Also, while their husbands were away he would often show up at their homes uninvited.
The Harrisburg Catholic Diocese has recently declared bankruptcy as a result of ongoing and mounting Catholic Church sexual abuse claims. The diocese has already paid out nearly $13 million to 111 victims of childhood sexual abuse and church officials believe there may be more than 200 additional victims who could seek compensation through the bankruptcy proceedings.
In August 2019, New York legislature enacted a new law that gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a one-year window to file a lawsuit against their abusers. Already, over 500 cases have been filed with the state and experts estimate that thousands of lawsuits are on the way. Advocates, including attorneys, for the victims believe that justice is needed in the form of being heard by the public, recognition of the abuse, and financial compensation. Melissa Breger, a professor at the Albany (NY) Law School, agrees, “I think for a lot of these folks, it’s validation that, ‘Yes, what happened to me was wrong and the fact that I was a child and could not do anything about it is being understood now and I can now seek redress as an adult.” Ms. Breger also previously worked with domestic violence victims and victims of childhood abuse.
As of August 14, 2019 New York survivors of childhood sexual abuse will be given a one-year window to file a lawsuit against their abusers under the new Child Victims Act passed by NY legislature earlier this year. Thousands of cases are expected to be filed with payout estimates to victims in the millions of dollars. Under the new one-year window law, anyone who was abused is eligible to file a claim with a sexual abuse lawyer. Additionally, New York has gone from one of the worst states to one of the best states to file a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit.
In an effort to cut the total number and size of payouts made by the Catholic Church to its sexual abuse victims, and to hide key documents from the public, the Diocese of Scranton, PA and other dioceses in the US are offering child sexual abuse victims’ closed-door settlements. These settlement programs are run by third-party administrators outside of the church and offer ‘swift’ resolutions opposed to trials.
With an important victory for sexual abuse victims, a Pennsylvania court has recently ruled that a woman can pursue her lawsuit claiming clergy in the Altoona-Johnstown, PA Roman Catholic Diocese covered up her alleged molestation by a priest. The lawsuit was initially dismissed by a county judge in 2017 because the statute of limitations had expired. However, a three-judge Superior Court panel reinstated the woman’s lawsuit which claims that two bishops illegally tried to cover up her sexual abuse by a priest to protect their reputations. The ruling may allow more sexual abuse victims whose abuse occurred long ago, to file claims.
According to a recent report released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, from June 2017 to June 2018 the U.S. Catholic Church spent a whopping $301.6 million on clergy sexual abuse costs. Two-thirds of the clergy sexual abuse costs, or nearly $200 million, were spent on legal settlements. Additionally, the report revealed that during the same 12-month period, the Catholic Church fielded nearly 1,100 new “credible allegations” of sexual abuse committed on a minor by priests and other clergy.