Catholic priests throughout Savannah who sexually abused children and teens should face justice. So should Church leaders and institutions that enabled or turned a blind eye to acts of abuse. Criminal prosecutions may help to right wrongs, but survivors cannot always count on district attorneys to bring charges, and in some cases, abuser priests have since died or left the country.
That is why many survivors of Savannah-area priest sexual abuse choose to retake control by pursuing legal actions for financial compensation directly against their abusers and the Church.
The affiliated law firms of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA represent survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse nationwide, and are proud to represent the Savannah community in the pursuit of justice. We fight to hold predator priests and Church leadership legally and financially accountable for the harm they inflicted on our clients.
If you survived sexual violence committed by a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Savannah and would like to hear about how we help survivors obtain justice and compensation, then contact our Diocese of Savannah Catholic Priest Sexual Abuse Attorneys today for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
We Represent Survivors of Savannah Priest Sexual Abuse
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA focus their law practice on representing people harmed by someone else's harmful decisions or actions. Our firms have a nationwide reach and reputation as fierce, determined advocates in and out of the courtroom. Thanks to our size and years of collective experience, we have the skill and resources to take on even the most challenging and emotionally-taxing cases.
One area of law in which we concentrate a significant amount of our time and effort is the representation of survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse. We know how difficult it can be for our clients to come forward to tell their stories, and we commit to providing them with compassionate, intelligent legal advice that serves their individual needs.
Our firms have a long track record of success for clients injured by someone else's wrongdoing, including in cases involving sexual abuse perpetrated by priests. Our successes for our clients in complex, difficult cases have enabled us to build a deep well of knowledge and experience in holding powerful institutions like the Roman Catholic Church accountable for past wrongdoing.
We can never promise our clients a favorable outcome to their claims, of course. But, we do commit to every client we represent that our team will provide caring, individualized, and intelligent legal services aimed at serving our client's unique needs and achieving our client's personal goals.
Hidden Predator Protections for Savannah Priest Sexual Abuse Survivors
Bishop Accountability is a Catholic Church accountability group. Its website serves as a clearinghouse of information allegations and proven cases of Catholic priest sexual abuse worldwide, including in Savannah.
Although the Roman Catholic Church is now nearly two decades into its long-overdue reckoning with the tragedy of priest sexual abuse, survivors continue to step forward with new allegations against sexual predator priests and the Church institutions that shielded them from accountability for far-too-long. In fact, the 90-county Diocese of Savannah recently released a list of names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse dating all the way back to 1950.
In the past, one of the most tragic consequences of the epidemic of sexual violence perpetrated by priests against children and teens has been that survivors would suffer in silence for years, only to find the doors to Georgia courthouses closed to them when they made the courageous decision to come forward with their stories.
Like many states, Georgia's statute of limitations laws simply did not account for the amount of time it often took for survivors to come to terms with their past histories of abuse by priests. By the time survivors were ready to seek justice, the time limit had run out on their right to file a lawsuit.
Fortunately, Georgia law has begun to improve in that respect. In 2015, state legislators passed a law known as the Hidden Predator bill that expanded the window of time survivors had to take legal action for abuse that occurred when they were children or teens.
As of today, a survivor can take legal action seeking compensation from an abuser priest and a Church institution that ignored or enabled that abuse until the latter of:
- The survivor's 23rd birthday; or
- Two years from the date when the survivor discovered, or reasonably could have discovered, that sexual abuse had occurred.
By revising Georgia's law, legislators offered survivors of Savannah priest sexual abuse a more realistic opportunity to seek justice and accountability through a legal action in Georgia courts. It was a long-overdue change.
However, there is still more to be done. Even with the expanded time limits, many Savannah survivors of sexual abuse by priests still find themselves on the outside of the courthouse looking-in, unable to take legal action for abuse that happened during their childhood or teenage years.
A new law pending in the Georgia legislature would lend these survivors a helping hand. Called the Child Victim Protection Act of 2020, it proposes to widen the time limits for taking legal action even further, so that survivors up to 52 years of age could take legal action seeking compensation for past sexual abuse that occurred decades go in some cases.
Legal measures like these open up new avenues for survivors of Savannah Catholic priest sexual abuse to hold abusers and Church institutions accountable for their tragic legacies of sexual abuse and negligent oversight.
As lawyers for Catholic priest sexual abuse survivors, we will continue to monitor the development of this new law closely, as it holds the potential to expand access to justice for survivors who manifestly deserve it. We encourage anyone who suffered sexual violence perpetrated by a Savannah Catholic priest, no matter how long ago it occurred, to contact us for information about their current and potential future legal rights to take action to hold their abusers and Church institutions accountable.
How Survivors May Obtain Justice and Accountability for Savannah Priest Sexual Abuse
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we know our clients make the brave decision to step forward with their stories of Savannah priest sexual abuse for a wide variety of reasons. Some want to close a difficult chapter of their lives. Some want acknowledgment of the harm done to them. The vast majority want their efforts to help protect children and teens from sexual abuser priests in the future.
Regardless of the reasons our clients have for stepping forward to tell their stories, the attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA work tirelessly to develop sound, strong legal strategies aimed at achieving their priorities. Having made a courageous decision, our clients need and deserve intelligent, compassionate legal advice about how to obtain justice and hold abuser priests and Church institutions accountable. They also deserve to know that they always remain in control of their cases, and that we act on their behalf only when they have authorized us to do so.
The specific legal strategies we present to our clients vary from case-to-case, but frequently include:
Civil Claims for Monetary Damages
The most common method of seeking justice and accountability in a Georgia court is to file a lawsuit demanding financial compensation. Money cannot heal the trauma of Savannah priest sexual abuse, of course. However, it can help survivors obtain support and assistance in coming to terms with their past. Receiving a payment from the Church can also give some survivors a tangible sense that the Church acknowledges the profound harm inflicted on them by a predator priest and by Church leaders who turned a blind eye or, worse, covered-up abuse.
Without a detailed understanding of the facts of a survivor's case, we cannot predict how much money any particular lawsuit might succeed in obtaining from the Church. That is why the teams at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA commit, first and foremost, to listening to our clients' stories and understanding their hopes and motivations for coming forward. Only then do we discuss the potential amount of a claim for damages with a client.
Civil Claims for Injunctive Relief
Some of our clients at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA hope to achieve other goals beyond obtaining compensation from their abusers and Church institutions. Instead, they want their lawsuits about Savannah priest sexual abuse to spur lasting change within the Church that prevents abuse from occurring in the future.
Our lawyers have the experience and legal knowledge to advise those clients on the range of options for seeking injunctive relief in a lawsuit. Injunctive relief is the legal term for a court directing a party to do something. Some lawsuits against the Catholic Church in other parts of the country have resulted in courts ordering Church institutions to implement changes that increase transparency and accountability in connection with allegations against sexual predator priests. We are always prepared to discuss these alternative forms of relief with our clients as part of a strategy to achieve their goals for stepping forward and telling their stories.
Participation in a Criminal Prosecution
Sexual abuse by Savannah priests against anyone, and especially children and teenagers, is a crime that Georgia law punishes severely. Presented with a credible allegation of abuse, local district attorneys in Georgia's 159 counties must decide whether, when, and how to pursue criminal charges against the accused priest. A survivor's willingness to testify against a priest often factors heavily in the prosecutor's decision.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we firmly believe that our clients have the right to choose whether and how to testify against an abuser priest in a criminal proceeding. We advise our clients about their legal rights and other considerations in making that decision, and we support their decision no matter what they decide. Our mission is to protect their interests in all events, which may include helping them to prepare for testifying against a priest or developing a legal strategy that coordinates their participation in a criminal prosecution with their simultaneous pursuit of financial compensation through a civil lawsuit.
Our Duty Is to Our Clients
Over our years of law practice, the lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have never ceased to feel humbled by the strength and courage shown by survivors in coming forward with their allegations against an abuser priest. Most realize that doing so will require them to relive and recount painful memories, and yet a deeper sense of justice drives them forward.
As legal advocates, we take our obligation to protect our clients' interests and confidences very seriously. Everything our clients tell us about the abuse they endured and about their lives generally stays strictly confidential unless and until our clients give us permission to use that information in the course of representing them.
Attorneys for Survivors of Savannah Priest Sexual Abuse
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA lawyers work tirelessly as advocates for survivors of Roman Catholic priest sexual abuse. No matter the reasons or motivations our clients have for stepping forward with their stories of sexual abuse, we dedicate ourselves to serving their interests by developing and pursuing individualized legal strategies tailored to their needs. For us, there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter sexual abuse case. Every client has a unique and vitally important story to tell, and it is our honor to be chosen to help tell it.
If a Savannah-area Catholic priest committed sexual abuse against you as a child or teenager and you wish to explore your legal options for seeking justice and accountability, we invite you to speak with one of our committed, compassionate sexual abuse injury attorneys today. We represent survivors of priest sexual abuse nationwide. Contact us online or by phone at 833-552-7274 for a free, strictly confidential, no-obligation case consultation.
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