A shocking number of Catholic priests and other clergy have abused thousands of children and young adults within the last several decades. In 2018, the state of Pennsylvania made the horrific problem of priests victimizing children in their charge impossible to ignore. That revelation prompted several other states – including New York, New Jersey, Texas, Iowa and others – to launch their own investigations and, in some cases – as with CA, NY and NJ – to change their statutes of limitations laws in order to pursue civil action against the dioceses that hid or protected abusive clergy.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report
In August 2018 the nation renewed its attention on the problem of clergy sex abuse. During this time the Pennsylvania grand jury report showed a shocking number of priest abuse cases that went unreported by the church. The Pennsylvania grand jury, which convened for two years, concluded that at least 300 priests had sexually abused more than 1,000 children and underage young people in a period spanning six decades.
Catholic Church coddled, hid abusers
The jury found that the church failed, again and again, to dismiss and punish those accused by multiple eyewitnesses of sexual abuse.
Just as shocking as the jury’s report was its examination of thousands of pages of internal church documents. These documents showed the church’s abject moral failure regarding hiding abuse. The typical Catholic dioceses failed to “out” the abusers and protect the children in their charge. Moreover, the jury found repeatedly that the church failed to dismiss and punish those accused by multiple eyewitnesses of sexual abuse. Notably, the jury found the church also quietly moved sexually abusive priests to other parishes where they often preyed on other unsuspecting children.
The California Legislature recently passed an amendment to its current statute of limitation, known as Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218). AB 218 became effective on January 1, 2020. AB 218 extends the civil statute of limitations, allowing claims of childhood sexual abuse to be brought until age 40. AB 218 also allows currently barred claims, to be filed within a statutory “look-back window.” In other words, this window would allow any claim of childhood sexual abuse, regardless of statute of limitation, to be filed within three years from the effective date of the statute.
In February 2019, the archdiocese of Brooklyn released a list of more than 100 priests credibly accused of sex abuse. In April 2019, the archdiocese of New York named 120 clergy ‘credibly accused’ of child sex abuse. New York state law changed this spring with the newly-passed Child Victims Act. The law not only extends the statute of limitations, but also dispenses with the requirement to file a notice of claim against various municipal entities for the specific sexual offenses enumerated in the Act.
In May 2019, New Jersey passed legislation to allow a longer grace period (or statute of limitations) for victims to file claims for the abuse they suffered years earlier.
Dallas, Texas police in May 2019 launched a raid on a Catholic diocese in order to find records of sex abuse that were not forthcoming otherwise.
On June 3, 2019 in Iowa the state attorney general requested abuse records from Catholic diocese and launched an abuse hotline for abuse survivors.
Free Confidential Case Consultation
Call 800-558-5842, or email us now for a free confidential case consultation regarding a potential lawsuit against your abuser(s) and the church or others who enabled that abuse. We work on a contingency fee basis; we don’t get paid or charge fees unless we win compensation for our clients