Catholic Church Clergy Abuse in New York
New York Abuse Litigation Lawyers
Are you, or your loved one, a victim of sex abuse at the hands of the Catholic priests in New York? You may have a legal cause of action that might entitle you to substantial compensation.
Working with an attorney at our law firm, you can file a lawsuit in court against any one of the dioceses in New York where the abuse occurred.
Contact our firm’s sexual assault lawyers to learn more about how to begin the process of beginning legal action. We will work with you every step of the way.
Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Clergy Seek Justice
Misconduct by Catholic priests has been unfortunately rampant throughout the United States for much of the last century just as it has been in New York State. The Church’s newfound commitment for transparency and intention hopes to ensure that sexually abused victims receive justice.
However, there are still thousands of victims of sexual abuse who endured horrific exploitation at the hands of priests as children in their catholic diocese or religious order. New cases are being filed practically on a daily basis accusing the Roman Catholic clergy of sexual abuse.
Church officials are now finally being made to answer for the massive child sexual abuse cover-up that they orchestrated. There is a heightened focus on the legal rights of clergy sexual abuse victims as New York and many other states have made it easier for those harmed by childhood abuse to file sexual abuse lawsuits.
There are estimates that the religious institutions may face more than 5,000 new lawsuits and resolve survivor’s settlements totaling more than $4 billion in clergy sexual abuse cases. If you have been hurt by this criminal conduct as a child, our legal team can initiate a personal injury court case on your behalf.
Call for a free case evaluation at (888) 424-5757 for immediate legal advice. A sexual abuse attorney is standing by to answer your questions.
The New York, NY Catholic Church
Over seven million Catholics in the State of New York out of a total population of 19.3 million in America makes the church the largest religious institution in the state. There are seven dioceses and one archdiocese in New York, including:
- The Archdiocese of New York
- Diocese of Albany
- Diocese of Brooklyn
- Diocese of Buffalo
- Diocese of Ogdensburg
- Diocese of Rochester
- Diocese of Rockville Centre
- Diocese of Syracuse
Church officials manage over 1,500 parishes and 655 Catholic schools statewide that educate approximately 215,000 elementary school students. Catholic services also include health care and human services throughout the state.
New York Child Victims Act
Like New Jersey and California, last year New York also changed its laws that govern time limits in Catholic Church sexual abuse cases. Signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo and effective August 14, 2019, New York instituted a one-year waiver of its statute of limitations in abuse cases.
Currently, plaintiffs may file a claim for the horrific clergy sexual abuse that they endured no matter when it occurred. This one-year window means that people who were previously unable to file a lawsuit have longer to do so.
There is talk this waiver may be extended for another year once it expires. Many believe that one year simply is not enough time for plaintiffs to hire a sexual abuse attorney and compile their case. In May 2020, the protections afforded by the New York Child Victims Act were extended until January 2021.
New Statute of Limitations Extension for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse
In August 2020, the New York Legislature extended the statute of limitation’s timeline to August 14, 2021. Survivors of sexual abuse must act now and not bank on lawmakers extending this period yet again.
New York’s Child Victims Act also changed the statute of limitations in sexual exploitation cases after the waiver expires. Before, victims of child sexual abuse had five years from when they were harmed by a clergy sexual abuse event.
The changes to New York law now extends the limitation survivors have to file a have to the victim’s 55th birthday. The newly enacted changes removed the previous ninety-day notice of claim requirement survivors, or their abuse attorney had to bring a case again school districts and municipalities involved in sexual assault.
The statute applies to any claimant seeking recovery of “damages for physical, psychological, or other injury or condition” caused by a “sexual offense.” The offense may involve sexual intercourse, sodomy, sexual contact, sexual misconduct, or incest.
New York Catholic Church Abuse Court Cases
In one New York case, the Diocese of Brooklyn reached a historic settlement with four plaintiffs, agreeing to pay them a total of $27.5 million for their sex abuse claims.
This settlement amount is much higher than the average clergy sexual abuse payment. In this case, the victims alleged that the misconduct occurred over a six-year period at the hands of someone who was associated with the diocese but was not an employee.
Lawsuits have not just been limited to dioceses in the New York City area. Just since the Child Victims Act was signed, fifty lawsuits with sexual abuse civil claims have been filed against the Rochester diocese.
In 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo paid a total of $17.5 million to settle 106 sexual assault cases that were filed against it. In fact, one month after the enactment of the Child Victims Act, the Diocese of Buffalo had the most lawsuits filed against it out of any defendant in the state.
The Buffalo Diocese has potential liability with sexual abuse victims is so high that it has already entered bankruptcy court seeking protection.
Catholic Lawsuit Settlements
The Brooklyn settlement described above is unusually high for litigation against religious institutions. The Associated Press (AP) reports that the national average settlement in a Church abuse case involving a priest or clergy member is roughly $350,000.
However, there was a large settlement in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that resulted in a payment of $1.3 million per plaintiff. Some clergy abused survivors received significantly higher payouts.
Numerous factors can impact potential payouts in your clergy sexual abuse case, including the Roman Catholic diocese’s financial condition assets available through its balance sheet and insurance coverage. The flood of clergy assault lawsuits is expected to place a severe financial strain.
However, there will still be money to settle cases, even if the diocese is seeking bankruptcy protection. Thus, if you have been a victim of clergy abuse, lawyers can help ensure you receive financial compensation for the alleged abuse. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.
New York State Sexual Abuse Damages
The settlements described above have several different elements of damages that have been suffered abuse by priests, clergy, and laypersons. Sexual abuse can have a number of different impacts, and each of them can result in compensation.
Some of the parts of damages for abuse survivors include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional trauma
- Lost wages if the effects of the abuse have decreased earnings potential
- The costs of treatment and care, including bills for psychological and psychiatric care
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
The damages from childhood sexual abuse involving priests can be considerable. Priest abuse has kept many sexually abused survivors from living a normal life.
Hire a Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today
As of now, you have a limited amount of time to file an abuse lawsuit in civil court to take advantage of the one-year window. Even if you do not need to take advantage of the relaxed time limits, you should still file an abuse lawsuit as soon as possible so that the evidence of the misconduct is preserved.
Even if the incidents happened many years ago, victims might still be able to file a civil action. Your trial lawyer can quickly resolve a confidential abused case with tact and discretion while fighting hard for your legal rights.
Contact us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to set up your free consultation. Your sexual abuse lawyer will handle your case on a contingency basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless we are successful in helping you obtain financial compensation.
Our personal injury attorneys help fight for victims of clergy abuse to get the justice that your family deserves.
All information you share with our sexual abuse attorneys will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.