Members of religious communities have a legal right to practice their faith at designated places of worship without jeopardizing their safety and wellbeing. When clergy members violate this right by engaging in sexual misconduct and abuse, they can be held liable in criminal and civil court. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse may experience a variety of damages for which they could recover compensation, including physical injuries and emotional trauma.
At Dolman Law Group, we take these cases very seriously, as we understand the wider implications they can have on victims, their families, and their communities. A Boca Raton clergy abuse lawyer from our firm can offer the compassionate and honest support you deserve as you seek to hold your abusers accountable in Florida.
Legal Options Clergy Sexual Assault Cases
If you're a sexual abuse survivor, you can seek justice against the clergy in civil court, irrespective of whether the perpetrator was convicted in a criminal court. The standard of proof is also lower in a civil case, unlike a criminal case where you must present your case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, our attorneys could use a criminal conviction as supporting evidence for your case.
Unlike criminal cases, which are handled by the state, you can choose your own attorney to handle a civil case for clergy abuse in Boca Raton. When you reach out to us at Dolman Law Group, our team will review your case for free. Based on the information you provide, we can discuss your possible next steps and explain what you can expect from taking civil action.
We Provide a Safe Space for Victims of Clergy Abuse in Boca Raton
Many instances of sexual abuse go unreported—particularly when they involve trusted members of the community, such as priests and ministers. Victims may be hesitant to come forward due to feelings of shame or fear of retaliation. Our attorneys at Dolman Law Group want you to know that we offer a safe space to discuss your experiences, rights, and legal options.
Moreover, we'll handle all communication with the parties involved in your case so you never have to make contact with them on your own. We'll also:
- Conduct a discrete investigation, collecting evidence and testimony from other community members
- Work with prosecutors exploring a criminal case against the implicated clergy member(s), as some evidence may overlap
- Prepare and file a notice of intent to sue and other legal documents
- Analyze how the abuse has affected your life through medical records and your own testimony
- Review state law to estimate the amount of compensation you can seek in the case
- Prepare you for hearings and court appearances
- Represent you in court
- Keep you updated as developments occur and empower you to make the best possible decisions for your case
States have begun establishing laws to make civil and legal action against sexual abusers easier as calls for accountability have increased. Our abuse lawyers want to help you join others in securing justice for the harm you suffered.
Recoverable Damages in Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases
While a criminal trial intends to bring justice to the victim by sending the abuser to prison, the objective of a civil case is to pay the victim financial damages. Though no amount of compensation can heal an abuse survivor's psychological and emotional scars, it provides some form of closure after the traumatic experience.
The following are examples of compensation we help victims can seek in clergy sexual abuse cases:
- Past and future medical costs for treating the effects of sexual abuse. Victims may require medical treatment for physical injuries, as well as therapy and medication to treat emotional trauma and other resulting mental health conditions.
- Lost wages or earnings if the abuse impacted the victim's ability to continue working
- Pain and suffering resulting from the abuse, including mental anguish
- Effects on personal relationships that lead to loss of consortium and companionship
- Punitive damages (awarded in specific cases)
The amount of compensation a sexual abuse victim can receive depends on the cost of their treatment, the duration of the abuse, the severity of their damages, and other factors. We'll take our time going over the many ways this abuse has affected your life to ensure every potentially recoverable damage is accounted for and properly calculated.
You Are Not Alone in Taking Action for Clergy Abuse
Although child sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church are the most notable, many religious groups have also faced lawsuits due to this type of crime. The following are examples of some religious institutions accused of child sexual abuse:
- The Catholic Church:Child sexual abuse was never openly spoken about until the Boston Globe carried out a thorough investigation into the allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and published its findings almost 20 years ago. Although many have tried to cover up and protect the perpetrators by silencing the victims, the Church has paid settlements worth over $4 billion to survivors of sexual abuse.
- La Luz Del Mundo Fundamentalist Church: The church has been accused of sexual abuse of children for many decades. According to Reuters, leader Naason Joaquin Garcia, was arrested for human trafficking and child rape in Los Angeles. Due to the vast wealth of La Luz del Mundo Fundamentalist Church, the Superior Court judge in Los Angeles set Garcia's bail at $90 million to guarantee he remained in prison while awaiting trial.
We illustrate these circumstances to show you that you are not alone in having experienced abuse by a clergy member. Many others have come forward to hold religious leaders accountable for the serious harm they've caused, and our lawyers want to help you do that same.
Let Our Boca Raton Clergy Abuse Lawyer Handle Your Case
Reporting sexual abuse can be challenging. Hiring a lawyer to represent you can help make the process more bearable, as you'll always have someone fighting in your corner to protect your rights.
Our team will help you file a personal injury lawsuit in Boca Raton, build your claim, and navigate complex state laws to get you justice. Contact our team today for a confidential, free case review.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
301 Yamato Road, Suite 1240
Boca Raton, Florida 33431