Pittston Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Of the many types of criminal offenses that a person can commit, those involving children are perhaps the most difficult to comprehend, especially in cases that involve abuse by a loved one or a trusted community figure. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, Pennsylvania has been rocked by a series of scandals involving the abuse of minors by ordained priests. While recovering monetary funds can never compensate a person for the abuse that he or she underwent as a child, it can give survivors a small measure of justice. To find out more about the types of compensation available to sexual abuse survivors, please contact an experienced Pittston clergy sexual abuse lawyer who can explain your legal options.
Compensation for Sexual Abuse
After a Pennsylvania grand jury found evidence of sexual abuse committed by 301 priests last year, seven of the eight dioceses in the state launched compensation funds. These programs offer lump sum payments to victims in return for signing away their right to file lawsuits against the church over alleged sexual abuse. With many victims unable to file a lawsuit against their abusers due to the state’s statute of limitations, these programs are often the only way that survivors of sexual abuse can be heard. Unfortunately, these programs began winding down in September and will officially close in November, making it especially important for those who were abused by a church officer in their youth, to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Filing a Claim
In Pennsylvania, survivors of sexual abuse only have until their 30th birthday to file a civil claim against their abuser, or until their 50th birthday to file criminal charges. Although the House passed a bill earlier this year that would eliminate the statute of limitations for these types of crimes, the Senate has yet to rule on the matter.
Abuse survivors who have not yet turned 30 years old, however, may still have standing to file a claim against their abuser in court, where they could seek compensation for:
- Any medical costs associated with injuries sustained during the abuse;
- Emotional distress and emotional trauma; and
- Lost wages.
However, a plaintiff will only be able to recover these damages if he or she can prove that the abuse occurred, as well as the extent of the resulting harm. This often requires the submission of convincing evidence, including:
- Medical records detailing the signs of assault;
- Any admissions of guilt by the offender;
- Police reports submitted following the assault; and
- Financial statements detailing the costs of the assault, including expenses related to medical treatment and therapy.
Unfortunately, those who do not file a claim before the state’s statute of limitations expires could be barred from recovering damages at all, so if you were victimized by a member of the church as a child, it is important to retain an attorney who can advise you as soon as possible.
Contact Our Office Today
Please call 570-821-5717 today to speak with one of the dedicated sexual abuse lawyers at the O’Donnell Law Offices today.