North Carolina Catholic Church Abuse Lawsuits
The recent law passed by the North Carolina Legislature has given new life to possible lawsuits brought by those who were abused by priests in Charlotte, Raleigh, or throughout the state.
Numerous allegations of sexual abuse by Church employees and clergy have come to light as there has been new attention focused on decades of sexual assault in organizations such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.
Even though the Church is trying to clean up its act after decades of alleged abuse by members of the clergy, the Catholic Church still may not settle sexual abuse lawsuits. Therefore, you need a personal injury lawyer on your side to file a clergy abuse claim against the Church in North Carolina.
North Carolina Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Our law firm can help you file your clergy sexual abuse claim as you fight to receive the financial compensation that you deserve for the nightmare that you have had to endure. We can assist sexual abuse victims in finding the evidence necessary to come forward and prove their claim.
If the Church is not settling the case or not making you a reasonable offer, your attorney will need to fight for you. Contact the sexual abuse lawyers on our legal team to set up your initial consultation.
All of our sexual abuse cases are handled on a contingency fee basis where we only receive a legal fee when we are successful in obtaining a financial recovery for you. There are no costs to begin the legal process. If we do not secure a recovery for you our services are completely free.
The Catholic Church in North Carolina
The number of adherents in the Roman Catholic Church in North Carolina has rapidly grown along with the state. By 2010, there were nearly 400,000 Catholics in North Carolina. This represents a fourfold increase from 1980. The Church itself believes that the actual number of Catholics in North Carolina is more than double that.
Roman Catholics are the single largest religious group of all faiths in North Carolina. Two dioceses (Charlotte and Raliegh), and their Bishops manage parishes in a hundred counties. The largest parish in the country is now found in Charlotte. St. Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte draws over 10,000 people to its masses each weekend and has over 100 ministries providing spiritual guidance to adults and children.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
7200 Stonehenge Drive
Raleigh, NC 27613
- Bishop Luis Zarama
- Former Bishop William Joseph Hafey
- Former Bishop Eugene Joseph McGuinness
- Former Bishop Vincent Stanislaus Waters
- Former Bishop Francis Joseph Gossman
- Former Bishop Michael F. Burbidge
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte
1123 South Church Street
Charlotte, NC 28203
- Bishop Peter Joseph Jugis
Scandal in the North Carolina Catholic Church
The dioceses in North Carolina are finally having their reckoning with the decades of abuse that happened in the Catholic Church in the state. Like many other dioceses throughout the United States, the Diocese of Charlotte is now reviewing its files and old allegations of abuse to publish lists of clergy members who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.
In 2019, the Diocese of Charlotte published a list of 14 credibly accused catholic priests. The Church had previously settled an abuse lawsuit back in 2009 for just over $1 million.
One North Carolina priest appeared on the list of accused priests in a scorching Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed the abuse committed by over 300 priests.
The Diocese of Raleigh similarly published a list of those suspected of clergy sexual abuse in October 2018. There were 29 clergymen on the list, and most of them were deceased. The Diocese of Raleigh claims that it had no prior knowledge of any of these claims. Since 1950, this diocese has paid over $2.7 million in sex abuse claims.
The pattern of child sexual abuse in the Charlotte diocese went almost to the very top. The Vicar General and Chancellor stepped down in 2019 after credible allegations of sexual advances towards an adult student. This was after decades of actions taken to cover-up the abuse.
Recent Charlotte Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Now the Catholic Church has been named as a defendant in an increasing number of lawsuits that have been filed. In April 2020, two new civil actions were filed against the Church based on the alleged actions of Father Richard Farwell and Father Joseph Kelleher. These priests were on the list of fourteen clergy members that were credibly accused of molestation.
The victims had previously been unable to sue the Church but had their lawsuits revived by the change in the statute of limitations. The lawsuits allege illegal abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.
The plaintiffs allege that the North Carolina Church did not do enough to protect them from abuse. Then, the plaintiffs allege that the Church was aware of the fact that these priests were sexual predators and took steps to conceal the fact by moving the abuser to different parishes.
One lawsuit even claims that the Church accused him of fabricating the allegations, only to now consider it a credible claim of abuse years later. Incredibly enough, even though these priests appear on the list of credibly accused Church employees, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte denies liability in these lawsuits.
The North Carolina Statute of Limitations
Every legal cause of action is governed by a time constrain for filing a lawsuit or resolving a claim. Your failure to comply with the applicable statute of limitations will forever bar your claim and you will not able to obtain any compensation.
As news reports indicated the scope of the misconduct in North Carolina parishes, the North Carolina Legislature acted to do something to help victims of child sex abuse whose right to file a lawsuit had lapsed due to time limits.
In November 2019, the North Carolina Legislature waived the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases for a period of two years, from January 1, 2020, until December 31, 2021. This has revived many different sexual abuse cases that were previously barred by the time deadlines.
This change to state law extends through December 31, 2021, and is similar to actions taken by legislatures in New York and New Jersey. After this window expires, SB 199 expands the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases.
According to the Senate bill, abuse survivors have through the age of 28 to submit a civil sexual assault claim or they also may have two years after their abuser has been convicted of a felony pertaining to their abuse after facing criminal charges.
Victims, or their personal injury lawyer, should file a claim soon to avoid legal problems when seeking compensation.
We urge you to speak with an experienced sexual abuse law firm as soon as feasible to ensure your legal rights are not compromised. The statute of limitations in these cases can be complex and dependent on the circumstances involved in your case.
Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Damages
When you file a civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault, you are seeking compensation for a lifetime of damage you have suffered from the sexual exploitation by members of the clergy.
The amount of your child sex abuse settlement or lawsuit verdict can depend on various factors, including the assets that the local diocese has available to pay lawsuit settlements and personal injury claims.
Sexual abuse settlements can include compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional trauma that has lasted for years after the abuse
- The costs of physical, psychiatric, and psychological care related to the assault
- Lost wages or earnings power if the psychological damages have decreased your earnings power
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Possible punitive damages depending on how egregious the conduct of the Church has been
Our lawyers are committed to maximizing the value of sexual abuse claims for victims. Each case is carefully evaluated to evaluate all aspects of damages you are entitled to under the law. We regularly engage expert witnesses to help convey the extent of your damages to a judge, jury or mediator responsible to evaluating your case.
Rest assured, when you retain our lawyers, there will be no shortcuts taken and your case will be carefully examined to ensure that you get the justice that you deserve.
North Carolina Sexual Assault Victims Lawyers
Call us today for more information about your legal rights if you are the victim of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy or church official, recently or decades ago.
Our attorneys commit to handling personal injury claims brought by victims of sexual abuse with delicacy and discretion as we understand that you will be required to confront many painful and searing memories.
Our sexual assault injury lawyers will fight hard for you or your family members who seek justice. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your free case evaluation. Our services are free if our lawyers are not able to successfully help victims of sexual abuse recover in a settlement or a court verdict.
All information you, or your loved one, share during a free consultation concerning unwanted sexual contact will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Time for bringing a claim may be limited. Talk to an experienced law firm today and let us help guide you towards resolution.