Wyoming Attorneys Investigating Sexual Assault Claims Against the Roman Catholic Church Archdioceses
Sexual assault has been linked to long-lasting consequences for victims who suffer from emotional, physical, and psychological effects decades after they survived the horrific event. Some sexual abuse survivors suffer ongoing depression, traumatic memory flashbacks, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that results in fear, stress, and anxiety. Statistics from a 2010 survey revealed that 20% of women and less than 2% will experience violent sexual assault at some point in their life.
It is often challenging for victims who survived sexual abuse to come forward after years of suffering in silence. The compassionate network of affiliate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) can help you or a loved one with legal assistance in cases involving surviving sexual assault.
Our caring team understands the pain you are feeling and the courage it takes to speak openly about what occurred. Our Catholic dioceses sexual assault attorneys are ready to listen to your story in a confidential setting.
Our Cheyenne team has a comprehensive understanding of Wyoming tort law and will use the legal system to ensure the perpetrator faces the justice they deserve for their unacceptable behavior.
We will also hold church officials accountable for their lack of supervision of the clergy member that caused your harm.
Sex Abuse with Clergy Remains a Problem
Most sexual assault cases involve adults and children who have experienced unwanted sexual contact where the predator priest or other clergy member has taken advantage of the victim.
In many cases, there is a threat or force of violence that may involve indecent exposure, molestation, statutory rape, lascivious or lewd acts, sexual assault, harassment, threats, or unconsented touching, even if the abused victim was completely clothed.
Some sex abuse victims respond through self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders, disassociation, suicide, and suicidal ideation (thinking about killing themselves). Others must undergo a rape-associated pregnancy, medical-procedure abortion, or sexually transmitted infection.
Victims may develop a lack of trust in other religious leaders, coaches, teachers, lovers, spouses, and family members. The survivor, who might not have accused the priest publicly, might choose not to report to the police or church dioceses what happened with the clergy member.
The Devastating Effects of Sexual Assault
Sex abuse may cause lifelong devastation that negatively alters the victim’s well-being. Children and adults who have been sexually assaulted by clergy members may suffer from ongoing depression and substance abuse.
Young children and teenage victims may begin living an over-sexualized lifestyle or engage in any form of risky behavior, including unprotected sexual activity. Some predators pass the child among other priests and other clergy members to share them in inappropriate carnal activities, creating life-long mental health issues.
Sexually Abused Survivor Justice
In August 2019, Cheyenne law enforcement recommended filing sexual assault charges against two unnamed Wyoming Roman Catholic Church leaders accused of sexual abuse. The recommendation arose approximately twelve months after police had reopened the case accusing a retired local Bishop of molestation.
In 2017, state law enforcement had re-opened a closed case involving clergy sex abuse accusations against Joseph Hart, Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne after a police investigation.
The new document revealed allegations between 1976 and 2001, claiming that the Diocese a Cheyenne Bishop sexually assaulted two boys. The sex abuse accusations also include allegations of Joseph Hart sexually abused others when he was an associate priest decades ago in Missouri.
In 2019, Pope Francis informed the Wyoming diocese that he had authorized an investigation involving the sex abuse allegations against Hart. The former Bishop, now eighty-seven years old, has denied the abuse allegations involving the accusations of inappropriate misconduct in Missouri and Wyoming.
In addition to former Bishop Hart facing allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, Bishop Robert Guglielmone of South Carolina is also facing charges of sexual misconduct involving a minor. The sex abuse case stems back decades ago when he was a reverend working in a diocese in New York. Like Hart, Bishop Guglielmone has denied the allegation.
Wyoming Child Sex Abuse Compensation Statute of Limitations Laws
All civil actions are governed by time constraints for filing a lawsuit known as the statute of limitations. Your failure to file a case within the statute of limitations may forever bar you from receiving any financial compensation.
According to Wyoming law, updated in November 2020, any individual over fifteen years old engaging in inappropriate sexual activity with an underage child under thirteen years old commits a crime of sexual abuse of a minor.
Additional crimes involving child sex abuse in Wyoming include:
“(ii) Being eighteen (18) years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the actor is the victim’s legal guardian or an individual specified in W. S. 6-4-402;
(iii) Being eighteen (18) years of age or older, the actor inflicts sexual intrusion on a victim who is less than sixteen (16) years of age and the actor occupies a position of authority in relation to the victim.”
Criminally, the predator guilty of sexually abusing a minor under sixteen years is subject to a court-ordered sentence of not more than fifty years imprisonment.
The time for filing a sexual abuse case is very fact dependent and you should consult with an experienced attorney who can address how the law applies to your case.
Compensation in a Sex Abuse Case
Victims of abuse are entitled to recover compensation from the church or other organization the perpetrator worked for. Most claims involve economic and non-economic damages to compensate the plaintiff for their harm.
Many sex abuse cases involve compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of normal life
- Medical expenses
- Counseling and therapy costs
In some cases, a judge may make an award for punitive damages to ‘punish’ the perpetrator.
An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and options regarding compensation available in your case. Our law firm regularly retains the services of expert witnesses to assist us in conveying the extent of our clients’ damages to a judge or jury.
Wyoming Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne
In Wyoming, the Catholic Church is the single largest religious group of all faiths statewide. The state’s single diocese and their Bishop manage sixty-four parishes statewide. The Church provides services to Catholics living in twenty-three counties.
Diocese of Cheyenne
2121 Capitol Ave
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Bishop: Steven Biegler
A Wyoming Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer is Here to Help
Our Wyoming clergy sexual abuse lawyers understand the challenges you face when speaking about the vile actions of what a clergy member did to you. We know the power of the Catholic Church and Cheyenne Diocese in fighting back to tell the community and parishioners that nothing happened.
However, with Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, on your side, you will never face church officials alone. We can assure you that your shocking sexual abuse story will be heard by all those responsible when settling your case or presenting evidence at trial.
Contact us now at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss receiving compensation from a priest, clergy member, or church officials. Our law firm can start working on your abuse civil case today to ensure your rights are protected.
Talk to us now so we can begin filing all the necessary paperwork and submitting the new documents to the proper state courthouse. Take legal action now by filing a legal court compensation case to hold the accused clergy member legally accountable. Your action now could stop the sexual assault of other potential victims long into the future.
We will successfully resolve your civil abuse court case, use the law to protect your rights, and obtain financial compensation on your behalf.
All information you share concerning your case will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.