Wilkes Barre Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer
It was in August of 2018 when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a grand jury report accusing 300 clergy members of sexually abusing boys and girls for over 70 years. The report stated that in total, there were approximately 1,000 victims, although it’s suspected there are thousands more that never came forward about their abuse.
These findings are tragic and have left the victims with physical injuries and mental anguish that will remain with them throughout their entire life. These incidences also resulted in changes in state and federal law. These changes allow victims to come forward with civil lawsuits against their perpetrators and hold them accountable for what they’ve done. A Wilkes Barre clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help victims file these lawsuits and claim the compensation they deserve.
Who can be Held Liable for Clergy Sexual Abuse?
Survivors of sexual abuse deserve justice for the suffering they have endured. This justice can come in the form of a civil lawsuit that holds abusers accountable for their actions and that sends the message that this abuse will not be tolerated. Civil lawsuits can also help ensure that no other children suffer what so many in the state already have.
Through a civil lawsuit, victims can claim compensation for their medical treatment, counseling, psychological care, and any other costs they have incurred as a result of the abuse. Many people think these lawsuits are only filed against the accused members of the clergy. However, victims can also hold the clergy’s enablers liable for the abuse. These individuals had a duty to come forward as soon as they learned of the abuse. Sadly, too many remained silent and allowed even more children to become victims of the clergy.
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania
The grand jury report has helped change laws all around the country on the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has not yet changed their laws. However, victims within the state can still sometimes file a civil lawsuit.
Under Pennsylvania law, victims can file civil lawsuits against their abusers until they are 30 years old. Criminal charges can be brought against perpetrators until victims are 50 years of age.
Independent Survivors’ Compensation Program
For too many victims, the civil statute of limitations on their case had expired by the time the grand jury report was released. Fortunately, six Pennsylvania dioceses have created survivors’ compensation programs that allow victims to recover damages for their abuse, no matter how long ago they endured it.
These compensation programs are not run by the dioceses themselves, but rather an independent firm. Those that wish to secure compensation through these programs are barred from filing a civil lawsuit in the future. Due to this, it’s important that all victims speak to a Pennsylvania attorney that can advise on the best course of action for them.
Call Our Pennsylvania Clergy Abuse Lawyers Today
If you have been a victim of clergy abuse in Pennsylvania, it’s important to understand that there is help available. At O’Donnell Law Offices, our Wilkes Barre clergy abuse lawyers want to help make things right. After reviewing your case, we can help determine if you can file a civil lawsuit or make a claim through a survivors’ compensation program. Whichever route is best for you, we will help you secure the full amount of compensation you deserve. Call us today or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.