Diocese of Phoenix Faces Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuits

In 2020, child sexual abuse claims against two priests who served in the Diocese of Phoenix made headlines. Alleged claims of sexual abuse of children against Father John “Jack” Spaulding and Father John P. Doran are a bleak reminder of the scale of clergy abuse not only within the Diocese of Phoenix, but the Catholic church as a whole.

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Allegations of Sexual Abuse Emerge Against Two Priests Who Served in the Diocese of Greensburg, PA

Allegations of sexual abuse by two priests who served in the Greensburg Diocese were brought to light recently by the State Attorney General’s office and the diocese itself. Father Emil Payer’s name was released by the diocese as part of a report by Bishop Edward Malesic. The report stated that Payer’s name was being added to the diocese’s list of priests who served within the diocese and had one or more “credible and substantiated” allegations of child sexual abuse brought against them. The second priest, Father Andrew M. Kawecki, was arrested and charged with several sexual abuse crimes against a former altar boy.

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Number of Clergy Abuse Lawsuits Filed in Pennsylvania Surge

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.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey?

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in New Jersey is a common question. For some New Jersey clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those who haven’t blocked those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.

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New York’s Diocese of Rochester Files for Bankruptcy

In September of 2019, the Diocese of Rochester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester. At the time of the filing, the petition noted the Diocese had $50-$100 million in assets, with liability estimates totaling $100 to $500 million. The Diocese of Rochester was the first New York diocese to choose Chapter 11 reorganization, however the Dioceses of Syracuse, Buffalo and Rockville Centre have all since filed as well. The Rochester diocese covers 12 upstate New York counties where an estimated 360,000 Catholics live.

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Pontifical Secrecy Rule Lifted in Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases

In December of 2019 the Vatican issued an instruction called On the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings which essentially removed the pontifical secrecy rule related to clergy sexual abuse or misconduct cases. The directive by the Vatican should help ease communication between church officials and civil authorities around the globe regarding abuse cases.

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Connecticut Diocese Resolves Clergy Abuse Case

Rev. James Kowalski, the former dean of New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, reached an agreement with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to resolve an allegation of clergy sexual abuse against him which dates back to 1984. A young woman alleged Kowalski sexually abused her when he came to visit her during her freshman year at college. Kowalski’s connection to the alleged victim started when he was a newly ordained priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, Connecticut, when the complainant was in middle school. At the time of the alleged abuse, Kowalski was serving at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hartford.

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New York’s Rockville Centre Diocese Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The Rockville Centre Diocese in New York, which covers the Long Island area, and is one of the largest dioceses in the country serving 1.4 million Catholics, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The petition was filed on October 1 at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The filing was done to help the diocese manage legal expenses and facilitate settlements with sexual abuse survivors.

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How Long do I have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in Illinois?

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in Illinois is a common question. For some Illinois 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.

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How Long do I have to File a Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in California?

How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in California is a common question. For some California clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those 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.

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