7 Facts About Clergy Abuse Lawsuits Californians Should Know
Clergy abuse lawsuits have gained much more visibility over the last few decades. Because more victims are coming forward, the stigma around these lawsuits has decreased. Even the Catholic Church is beginning to become more cooperative in helping victims bring suits against their abusers. In California, the legal system is set up to help these victims in an especially efficient manner. Here are seven facts about clergy abuse lawsuits that every Californian should know:
1. Organizations Can Help You Through This Difficult Time
California has tons of compassionate organizations that are set up to help the victims of clergy-led child abuse, and their families. Trying to bring a suit against your abuser can be incredibly difficult without emotional support, so these groups are dedicated to helping you throughout this trying process. Not only can they help you determine what legal route to go with your case, but they also offer therapy and mental health support options as well. No matter what you need to begin healing, these support groups are dedicated to helping you.
2. Sexual Abuse Attorneys are Available
When dealing with an entity as powerful as the Catholic Church, you’ll need the brightest and most experienced legal help you can find. Many law firms have lawyers who specialize in suits dealing with sexual abuse, even cases that directly involve clergy members. If you or a loved one need support and assistance in filing your case against your abuser, it’s time to begin your search for a California clergy sexual abuse lawyer today.
3. Multimillion-Dollar Settlements are Not Uncommon
While multimillion-dollar settlements are not the norm, they are also not all that uncommon. In some cases, there have been settlements that have amounted to more than three hundred million dollars. California has seen some of the highest-profile cases in the country, and some of the biggest payouts during the settlement phase as well. Depending on the severity of your abuser’s crimes, and the negative impact it has had on your life, you can discuss what amount you feel comfortable seeking when bringing your lawsuit forward.
4. There is No Statute of Limitations
California is one of the many states in the U.S. that has gotten rid of the statute of limitations for clergy-involved sexual abuse. Since many abuse victims do not come forward until they are adults, this change in the law has helped to make justice possible for thousands of people who would have otherwise been lawfully barred from seeking compensation. If for some reason you’re uncertain about how the SOL applies to your case in California, you should consult your clergy sexual abuse lawyer for more details.
5. Problem Priests are Sometimes Transferred
While the Catholic Church has become more serious about assisting victims in bringing their abusers to justice, there are still instances of foul play happening behind the scenes. When a priest is evading justice, they will often seek to be transferred to another jurisdiction where it will be harder for their victims to seek justice. If you discover that your abuser has been transferred, especially if they were aware that you were thinking of bringing an abuse suit against them, you need to get in contact with your attorney ASAP.
6. The Catholic Church Has Paid Over Three Billion in Settlements
Because there have been so many high-profile and high-payout cases brought against the Catholic Church over the last few decades, they have now paid an extraordinary amount in settlement and other legal fees. Currently, more than three billion has been paid out to victims around the country. As suits begin to come forward, this amount will only increase as the years go by.
7. Not All Abusers are Men
While many people assume that all clergy-associated abusers are men, this is simply not the truth. Women make up a small, but notable percentage of the abusers in these cases. Because of the stigma that sometimes surrounds being abused by a woman, these victims are known to have difficulties coming forward. However, you must remember that there is help out there – no matter who your abuser may be.
Justice Can Be Served
Although many settlements end up being higher, the average settlement in clergy abuse lawsuits is still quite high – between $150-350K. Victims deserve justice, compensation, and an apology from the church for the abuse they’ve gone through. With the right lawyer and communal support, you can finally see justice served, and begin finding the peace of mind that you’ve been searching for.