Are you the victim of clergy sexual abuse in Washington, D.C, and harmed by a priest, clergy member, or church officials? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can provide immediate legal advice to file a victims’ compensation claim. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) to schedule a free consultation.
While Washington D.C has not yet paid out large settlements like many other Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in the United States, there is a long history of abuse in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Recent reports have shown evidence of cover-ups and a failure to investigate crimes at the hands of clergy, abusive priests, and Archbishops in the District of Columbia and the surrounding areas.
Now, recent changes to the statute of limitations have given sexual abuse survivors of this exploitation the revived right to file a lawsuit against the Catholic Church.
Sex abuse is not only a crime, but those who are victims can also recover through a sexual abuse claim for the trauma that they have been subjected to by a trusted clergy member.
Washington Clergy Sexual Assault Lawsuit Attorneys
If you are the victim of abuse in D.C. and are ready to come forward, contact our law firm to learn more about your legal rights and how you can file a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church and clergy members that harmed you.
Call our law firm for a free consultation so our lawyers can help you, or someone you love, get the justice and the financial compensation that you deserve for your child sexual abuse suffered at the hands of a religious leader.
The Catholic Church in Washington D.C.
The Archdiocese of Washington consists of more than just the territorial boundaries of the District of Columbia. The Archdiocese also spreads into the Maryland suburbs, encompassing areas in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties as well as other parts of Southern Maryland.
As of 2017, there are approximately 655,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese. There are 139 parishes in Washington, D.C.
Abuse Scandals in the Archdiocese
Clergy sexual abuse issues ran rampant in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C.. The former Archbishop himself has been accused of molestation and has been sued in New Jersey.
There are a number of accused priests and other religious clergy members in the Archdiocese.
Thomas McCarrick Abuse Scandal
Archbishop Thomas McCarrick, who was later named a Cardinal, has been accused of sexual abuse during his time in New Jersey. This was before he was named to a position of leadership in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C.
The lawsuit claims that Cardinal McCarrick was protected by the Catholic Church and that the religious leaders knew of the clergyman’s misconduct. One of the sexual abuse victims even claims that he told Pope John Paul II of McCarrick’s abuse.
McCarrick became the most senior clergy member ever in the Catholic Church to be defrocked in connection with the abuse scandal. When the most senior clergy member in the Archdiocese is an accused sexual predator, it is little wonder why the Archdiocese of Washington has not taken a more proactive role in the molestation scandal until recently.
Cardinal Wuerl Resigns
The successor to McCarrick resigned his position after a dozen years at the helm of the Archdiocese of D.C. Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl was accused of covering up the sex crimes of a number of priests under his supervision.
He was named in a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report as one of the most shocking details in the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The report laid out crimes of predator priests under Wuerl’s supposed supervision before he came to Washington DC.
Around the same time as Wuerl resigned, local religious officials released a list of thirty-one names of priests who were “credibly accused” of abusing children. Sexually abused survivors claim that the inappropriate sexual behavior that these priests allegedly committed in the Catholic archdiocese dates as far back as 1948.
Of the priests named in the report, only fourteen alleged predator priests are still alive. Some have been facing civil clergy sexual abuse cases for years.
Michael Bransfield Scandal
The former Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston is being investigated for molesting a nine-year-old girl in Washington DC during a pilgrimage that he led. There were newspaper reports that there was a previous Church investigation of Bransfield for inappropriate sexual activity that occurred during his time in Washington DC.
The reports in the Washington Post said that he had paid $350,000 to the Vatican and church officials in what is speculated to have been “hush money” to avoid the law.
D.C. Attorney General Investigates the Church
At the time, the D.C. Attorney General announced that he was opening an investigation into whether the Catholics broke the law by covering up the sex crimes of Catholic priests.
Church officials told the Attorney General that it believed that the problem of sexual molestation in its parishes was a historical one and that it did not know of any current cases where there have been allegations of sexual abuse in the diocese.
However, law enforcement is paying close attention and discussing what happened with church clergy leaders. Law enforcement has not had its last word regarding clergy sexual abuse allegations.
Statute of Limitations for D.C. Abuse Claims
Similar to New York, New Jersey, and California, D.C. also passed a bill that expanded the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims. The changes to the law are as follows:
- Abuse survivors have a two-year window to file lawsuits that would have been previously barred because the statute of limitations expired.
- Abused victims who suffered clergy sexual abuse under the age of 35 now has until they are 40 or until five years after they learned that they were abused to file a lawsuit.
- Assaulted survivors who suffered child sex abuse and is over the age of 35 has five years to bring their sex abuse claim.
- The time limits to file D.C. court actions for sexual assault cases are found in section 12-301 of the DC Official Code.
Clergy sexual abuse victims are encouraged to come forward, seek justice, and obtain compensation by filing a civil case against the predator and organizations that covered up the molestation. Sexually molested survivors 39 years old and younger can file a lawsuit before May 3, 2021, no matter how long ago the clergy sexual abuse occurred.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese
In the nation’s capital, Roman Catholics are the single largest religious group of all faiths. The Washington, DC Archdiocese, and its Bishop manage parishes throughout the district.
Archdiocese of Washington, DC
5001 Eastern Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20782
- Bishop Wilton Cardinal Gregory
- Auxiliary Archbishop Mario E. Dorsonville
- Auxiliary Archbishop Roy Edward Campbell, Jr
- Auxiliary Archbishop Francisco González, S.F.
- Auxiliary Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl
- Former Archbishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick
- Former Archbishop Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey
- Former Archbishop Cardinal William Wakefield Baum
- Former Archbishop Cardinal Patrick Aloysius O’Boyle
- Former Archbishop Michael Joseph Curley
Sex Abuse Lawsuit Damages
When you are a plaintiff in a sex abuse legal action against the Catholic diocese, you can recover damages for the harm that you have suffered at the hands of the religious clergy.
Our sexual abuse lawyers can help you recover damages in a sexual misconduct case including:
- Non-tangible damages like pain and suffering you have endured, including the emotional trauma that you suffered as a result of the clergy sexual abuse
- The costs of any medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment
- Any lost wages if the effects of your abuse keep you from working or harms your ability to earn
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (this can include your spouse)
- If the sexual abuse victim committed suicide, their estate can file a wrongful death claim.
While civil lawsuits are not an easy decision to make for the traumatized plaintiff, they are your way of getting justice for clergy sex abuse, even if the priest is no longer alive and cannot face criminal charges. Thousands of survivors of sexual abuse are filing a civil case against the Roman Catholic Church.
Washington D.C. Sexual Abuse Lawyer
You have a limited amount of time to take legal action against the Catholic Church to compensate you for your suffering. It is vital that you contact an attorney to begin the process of submitting your complaint to the court.
Our sexual abuse lawyers will handle your legal issues in a spirit of discretion and understanding, knowing that you have suffered among the worst type of sexual abuses possible.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our sexual abuse lawyers at (888) 434-5757 (toll-free phone call) to seek justice and receive financial compensation.
If your clergy sexual abuse civil lawsuit is not successful, you will have no out-of-pocket expenses for our legal advice.