California Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorney

Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

The abuse of trust by someone purportedly acting in the name of God is perhaps the greatest of all sins. We look to our church leaders to teach us about faith, love and charity. When a church leader betrays this trust, a sex abuse victim’s entire sense of security can be ruined. This sexual abuse can lead to years of pain, not knowing who or what to believe in. Many sex abuse victims feel afraid or ashamed to come forward with sex abuse claims against church leaders because the clergy member is so well respected in the community. This causes further trauma because the sex abuse victim is made to feel they are at fault, as so they brought it upon themselves.

Underage sex abuse victims are NEVER to blame. If an unspeakable act is committed by a church member, the victim is ALWAYS entitled to justice, no matter how responsible the victim may feel. It is important to remember this!

CATHOLIC CHURCH ABUSE IN CALIFORNIA

There have been many lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, and scandals over sex abuse by Catholic priests in the U.S.

As it became clear that there was truth to the allegations and that there was a pattern of sex abuse cover-ups in a number of large dioceses across the United States, the issue became a nationwide scandal, creating a crisis for the Catholic Church. A large number of these Catholic Church sex abuse crimes occurred in California.

The majority of accused priests in the United States (55.7%) had one formal allegation of sex abuse made against them, 26.4% had two or three sex abuse allegations, 17.8% had four to nine sex abuse allegations, and 3.5% had ten or more sex abuse allegations. A major aggravating factor was the actions of Catholic bishops to keep these crimes secret and to reassign the accused to other parishes in positions where they had continued unsupervised contact with youth.

The Catholic church found it necessary to make financial settlements with the victims estimated to have surpassed $5 billion. Many victims of Catholic priest sexual abuse still have not come forward, out of fear, shame and embarrassment.

OTHER RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS IN CALIFORNIA

The Catholic church is not the only culprit. Many children in California were victimized by other religious organizations such as the Mormon Church, Baptist affiliated churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses and countless other religious organizations. In most of these instances the religious organization engaged in a cover up by either failing to alert parents, failing to remove the perpetrator or failing to inform law enforcement.

It is important for victims to understand that any cover up of sexual abuse in California is illegal under the law. As such, California legislation allows victims of child sex abuse to recover up to three times the amount of compensation if a cover-up is proven.

IS THE CALIFORNIA CHURCH RESPONSIBLE?

It is also important to note that religious institutions in California are liable to sex abuse victims even if the abuse was not committed by an actual church leader. They are potentially responsible if a child was victimized by:

  • Youth pastors in California.
  • Adult church members in California.
  • Underage church members who commit sex assault on minors in California.
  • Employees of churches, including janitorial or secretarial staff in the State of California.
  • Any person committing sex abuse of a minor on church property anywhere in the State of California.

CALIFORNIA DEADLINE TO FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CHURCH

Even if the sex abuse act was committed years ago, the victim may still be entitled to compensation.

For this reason, it extremely important to hire sex abuse attorneys with vast experience handling church abuse claims in California. It is also very important to act before it’s too late. With the passage of AB-218, California allows a three-year window for EVERY CALIFORNIA SEX ABUSE VICTIM, regardless of how long ago the sexual abuse occurred and regardless of the sex abuse victim’s current age, to file a claim against church leaders, church members or facilities that allowed the abuse to occur in California. But please note, this three-year deadline expires on December 31, 2022.

If sex abuse victims miss the three-year deadline, they may still be able to file a claim against the above-mentioned entities. California AB-218 allows any victim of underage church sex abuse to bring a claim before their 40th birthday, subject to certain exceptions. And if the sex abuse is not discovered until after the victim reaches the age of 40, the new California law allows them to bring the claim within 5 years of discovery. Again, this exception comes with very stringent guidelines, and it is important that victims speak with an experienced sex abuse lawyer who understands the nuances of this California law.

HIRE AN EXPERIENCED CALIFORNIA SEX ABUSE ATTORNEY

If you or a loved one is the victim of church sex abuse in California, of any denomination, contact Craig Charles Law today for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation regarding all your legal rights. It is our mission to help sex abuse clients achieve justice and we are passionate about helping sex abuse victims get their lives back on track.

Put you trust in us and let us fight for you. We are a gay friendly, LGBTQIA affirming law practice. Call Craig Charles Law today and begin the healing process. 424-343-0660.

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