Sexual Assault Lawsuits Against the Catholic Diocese

July 26, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Sexual Assault Lawsuits Against the Catholic Diocese

Seeking Restitution for Sexual Crimes Committed by Church Leaders

There has been a new resurgence of awareness in the public concerning the amount of sexual abuse that occurs behind closed doors in a number of Catholic institutions. Films such as Spotlight released in 2015 that highlight the investigation of sexual crimes committed by leaders of the Catholic church has brought this serious issue to the forefront as well as a number of prominent lawsuits against the Catholic Dioceses. Catholic dioceses have paid more than $3.8 billion to settle the claims of more than 8,600 victims of sexual assault by members of the Catholic clergy. Countless children have been harmed by the sexual crimes committed by members of the Catholic clergy and they have the right to take legal action against these individuals and seek restitution. 

Florida Sexual Assault Lawsuits 

The damage caused by sexual assault and abuse goes much deeper beyond the skin and into the psychological wellbeing of a person. Physical scars heal with time but the emotional and mental scars caused by sexual abuse perpetrated by a trusted figure like a member of the Catholic clergy can forever alter a child's life. This trauma can be treated but that comes at a cost as well as treatment for physical damage. Survivors of sexual assault have the right to seek restitution from those responsible for their traumatic experience so that they can pay for these damages. Civil lawsuits against parties liable for sexual assaults work by having the plaintiff prove the negligence of that liable party and prove that it caused the damages they suffered. These cases are often settled out of court when a plaintiff and defendant reach an agreement based off of the presenting of evidence and negotiation between the two parties.  This process of taking legal action against those that perpetrated sexual assault or contributed negligence that allowed such crimes to occur can be long, complex, and emotionally taxing. This is especially true for those that are still recovering from their trauma. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA specializes in cases such as this where sensitivity and understanding of this trauma plays a major role in ensuring justice is served. Our lawyers have been handling sexual assault cases successfully for years and negotiated settlements for our clients that they could feel satisfied with. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA offers free consultations to those that have suffered sexual assault and abuse at the hands of members of the catholic clergy, in the workplace, and more. To schedule your consultation with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA you can contact us online or you can call our office at (727) 451-6900.

Civil Lawsuits Against the Catholic Dioceses

The catholic church has long had a problem when it comes to the repeated crimes of their clergy members. Specifically, the crimes of sexual assault and abuse perpetrated against small children, usually boys that work as altar boys. The committing of these crimes as holy men and trusted members of the community is bad enough but the institutions that make up the Catholic faith have taken these crimes further by not only being knowledgable about their perpetration in the first place even going so far as to take members of the clergy that they know have committed sexual crimes against children and actually take steps to conceal these illegal activities. In Pennsylvania, it was revealed that the catholic church had covered up thousands of reported cases of sexual abuse by relocating priests accused of sexual abuse to different parishes and in some cases, having them removed from the priesthood without notifying anyone of the crimes that they had committed and had the potential to commit again. 

Florida Catholic Dioceses

Civil lawsuits against the catholic church have occurred all over the world. More importantly, many civil lawsuits have been filed against Catholic diocese right here in Florida. The Catholic diocese in Florida can be thought of as church provinces made up of parishes that are each overseen by a priest. A bishop oversees each diocese and is seen as the religious head of that segment of churches. In Florida, there are a total of seven dioceses in Florida made up of the dioceses of Miami, St. Petersburg, Venice, St. Augustine, Orlando, Pensacola-Tallahassee, and Palm Beach. Many of these dioceses have seen controversy based on accusations of Sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy members, most notably Miami

Statutes of Limitations for Sexual Abuse of Minors

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that someone has to file a civil lawsuit for a specific type of case. In the case of sexual abuse, the statute of limitations changes depending on the age of the plaintiff when they were abused. 
  • With sexual battery involving a minor under 16 years old, there is no statute of limitation.
  • 7 years after the victim reaches the age of majority, which is 18 years old in the state of Florida;
  • 4 years after the victim leaves the dependency of the abuser or 4 years from the time of the discovery of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse (whichever date is later between these two options)

Seek an Experienced Florida Sexual Assault Attorney

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of sexual assault and/or survived sexual trafficking then you are likely able to seek compensation for the damages you suffered through a civil lawsuit. Sexual assault and human trafficking affect not just individuals but whole families and even entire communities. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA provides expert legal representation to those seeking to hold those that sexually assaulted accountable for their actions.  By enlisting the legal assistance of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's experienced sexual assault attorneys, you are giving your case the best chance possible at recovering a settlement that you can be comfortable and satisfied with. Our lawyers have been serving the people of Florida for years by successfully securing settlements for sexual assault survivors from parties whose negligence allowed for such tragic experiences to occur. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA offers free consultations to those that are curious as to how we can assist in your sexual assault injury lawsuit. To contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA you can either contact us online or call our office at (727) 451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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