Catholic priests in New York State who sexually abused young parishioners should face justice and accountability, as should any Church leader or institution who ignored, facilitated, or covered-up abuse. In addition to hoping for criminal prosecutions, New York survivors of priest sexual abuse also frequently have legal righto to take legal action seeking compensation and other remedies from their abusers and the Church.
For years, the Roman Catholic Church accountability organization Bishop Accountability has maintained a website (bishopaccountability.org) that details allegations of abuse against priests throughout New York and around the world. The Church's public reckoning with its tragic history of harboring and protecting child abusers among the priests in its ranks has been going on for years now, but by no means does that mean it has lost steam in New York (or anywhere else).
The affiliated law firms of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA represent clients who have suffered the extreme trauma of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest. If you live in New York State and have questions about legal options for holding priest abusers and Church institutions accountable for sexual abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred, then contact our New York Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation today.
We Represent Survivors of New York Priest Sexual Abuse
Attorneys who join Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA commit to spending their careers fighting for the rights of people wrongfully harmed by someone else's misconduct. Our experienced, compassionate legal professionals have a well-known, and even-more-well-deserved, reputation as fierce, passionate advocates who have the resources and know-how to tackle even the most challenging legal matters.
We represent clients who have suffered extreme harm, perhaps none more heartbreaking than the trauma of priest sexual abuse. In their Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA lawyers, our clients get a legal advocate committed to delivering sound, sensible, personalized legal services tailored to their specific needs. Our mission is to honor the strength and courage it takes for survivors of priest sexual abuse to seek accountability through nothing short of the full measure of our talent, experience, and resources.
That commitment to our clients has yielded significant results. Over our years of law practice, we have achieved hundreds of millions of dollars in combined settlements and jury verdicts to benefit our clients. Our successes have allowed us to grow and develop into a firm that has the deep well of resources and know-how to go up against the Roman Catholic Church, one of the most powerful institutions in the world, and to deliver results.
Of course, we can never guarantee our clients will recover compensation. However, we can promise they will receive individualized, compassionate, sophisticated legal representation that puts them in the strongest possible position to hold abuser priests and the Church accountable.
The New York Child Victims Act Helps Priest Sexual Abuse Survivors, but Many May Lose Their Rights If They Do Not Act Now
The movement to see justice done for survivors of priest sexual abuse has accelerated. Recently, for example, the Diocese of Rockville Centre warned it faced severe financial strain from legal liabilities related to allegations of sexual abuse among its priests. The Diocese's warning illustrates the strength of the movement to hold the Church accountable, but also highlights the importance for survivors to act quickly to protect their rights.
For far too long, survivors of priest sexual abuse understandably doubted whether New York's laws and courts could deliver justice and accountability for the harms they had suffered. That was because the statute of limitations for taking legal action in New York, like in many states, effectively prevented survivors of priest sexual abuse from seeking justice and accountability within a reasonable timeframe. Many survivors needed years to come to terms with the abuse they had suffered, and by the time they were ready to come forward and tell their stories, the window of opportunity for filing a lawsuit had long since passed.
Fortunately, that has changed.
In 2019, the New York legislature passed the New York Child Victims Act, which gave survivors of child sexual abuse by priests and others throughout the Empire State expanded deadlines and enhanced rights take legal action seeking compensation for the harms they suffered. The law, which survived a legal challenge by the Rockville Centre Diocese, gives survivors a powerful opportunity to hold priests and the Church accountable for perpetrating and enabling sexual abuse, even if that abuse happened decades ago.
The passage of the New York Child Victims Act significantly expanded the deadlines for survivors of New York priest sexual abuse to take legal action against perpetrators and Church institutions for harm that occurred long ago, when they were children. Under the law:
- Survivors whose claims had not already expired have until they turn 55 years old to take legal action; and
- Survivors whose claims had already expired have until January 14, 2021, to take legal action. In other words, even a survivor whose claim long ago expired—decades ago, even—currently have a small window of opportunity to take legal action against their abuser and the Church institution that enabled or covered up that abuse.
The Child Victims Act is a powerful law. It has already spurred numerous claims against Roman Catholic dioceses throughout New York State seeking compensation for the trauma inflicted on survivors that they have lived with nearly their entire lives. However, the window of opportunity for taking legal action stays open for many survivors only until January 14, 2021 (unless further extended because of the coronavirus pandemic), so we encourage all survivors who think they may want to explore their legal options to act now before the window closes.
After January 14, 2021, many New York priest sexual abuse survivors who endured abuse as children will permanently lose their legal rights under New York law to hold perpetrators and the Church legally and financially accountable
Ways Survivors May Hold Priest Abusers and the Church Accountable
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our lawyers appreciate the variation and diversity of motivations survivors have for revealing an allegation of abuse against a New York priest and Church institution. A desire for justice motivates some. A need to close a chapter in their lives drives others. In our experience, most also hope that by taking legal action they will do their part to protect other innocent parishioners from enduring sexual abuse.
We firmly believe there is no right or wrong reason for revealing a history of having suffered sexual abuse by a New York priest. As such, we commit our talents and resources to crafting legal strategies for our sexual abuse survivor clients tailored to meet their individual needs, hopes, and goals. We may present our clients with a range of options for how they could proceed. We always ensure our clients understand that they control when, how, and under what conditions we will act on their behalf. We serve our clients, and only our clients.
Common legal options we may present to our New York priest sexual abuse clients often include:
Pursuing a Legal Claim for Money Damages
In New York and throughout the United States, financial compensation is the primary means by which the legal system tries to repair the harm someone has suffered because of someone else's misconduct. Of course, money cannot completely fix the extreme physical, emotional, and spiritual pain survivors have often endured for most of their lives. Money may, however, help them find the support they need to overcome the challenges they face, and it can give them a tangible sense that the Church has acknowledged their suffering.
For now, in New York, there is no standard amount of money a survivor can expect to receive in connection with a priest's sexual abuse claim. Every survivor has lived with the trauma of priest sexual abuse differently, and as lawyers for survivors, we work tirelessly to ensure we understand how acts of abuse affected their lives. For Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA lawyers, there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter priest sexual abuse case. We tailor our approach to the individual experiences and challenges of each of our clients, to ensure that in taking legal action, we seek the amount of compensation they truly deserve.
Pursuing Change Through Injunctive Relief
We also recognize, however, that even a large financial award has limits in the justice it delivers. Sometimes true change within a Church institution requires more direct action on the part of a survivor and the courts. In filing a lawsuit, survivors often have the right to seek injunctive relief, which is the legal term for asking the court to order a Church institution to take specific steps to prevent future priest sexual abuse.
Clients of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA who aim to contribute to lasting change within the Church by taking legal action will find they have a lawyer willing to work with them to explore options for seeking that kind of court order. Our mission, always, is to deliver legal services that meet each individual client's needs, hopes, and goals. It is the least we can do to honor their courage and strength.
Serving as a Witness in a Criminal Case
Priest sexual abusers commit horrific crimes, often against children. They deserve to face criminal sanctions. In New York, prosecutors who receive credible allegations of sexual abuse against a living priest may choose to pursue criminal charges. Survivors of abuse perpetrated by that priest likewise often have a choice to make about whether to testify as witnesses in that prosecution. This choice does not affect their right to seek financial compensation in a civil lawsuit; however, it may affect the timing and strategy that we recommend to a client.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we believe there is no right or wrong choice to make when it comes to testifying against an abuser priest in a New York court. Some survivors look forward to having that opportunity; others would rather avoid it completely. We provide careful and caring guidance to our clients in making that decision, and then work to protect their legal interests and to develop appropriate legal strategies no matter what they choose to do.
We Advocate For Our Clients, and Only Our Clients
Our clients make an enormously brave decision in stepping forward with their claims involving New York priest sexual abuse. For most of our clients, that decision does not come without an emotional cost. Taking legal action often requires our clients to talk about the profoundly traumatic memories of the abuse they suffered. That is why we often counsel our clients to build a strong and resilient emotional support network to sustain them through the legal process they decide to follow, with our help.
Clients can also always rest assured that whatever they tell us will always remain totally confidential unless and until clients give us their permission to that information in the course of representing them. Our sole and singular mission is to serve our clients' best interests, and that means earning and maintaining their trust, always.
Attorneys for New York Priest Sexual Abuse Survivors
Clergy sexual abuse survivors throughout New York have varied reasons and motivations for deciding to pursue legal strategies for holding their abusers and the Church accountable. As attorneys for survivors who have made that courageous choice, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA work without fail to develop and execute legal strategies to meet each client's individual needs, hopes, and goals.
If you would like to explore the legal options for pursuing justice and accountability against a New York sexual abuser priest or a Church institution that enabled or covered up abuse, then the compassionate, experienced, resourceful sexual abuse injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA invite you to contact them today. Reach out to us online or by phone at 833-552-7274 for a free, strictly confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.
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