When a clergy member violates their boundaries and commits abuse, they can face both criminal and civil penalties. Persons of all religious denominations have a right to practice their faith in a safe environment. While it can be difficult to hold community figures responsible for their abusive behavior, you do not have to do so alone.
An Aventura clergy abuse lawyer from Dolman Law Group can stand up to religious institutions and leaders on behalf of you and other potential victims, seeking compensation for the damages you suffered. We have the time, resources, and knowledge to handle your entire case for you while you focus on healing. You'll receive a free, confidential consultation when you reach out to our firm.
Legal Options Available for Victims of Clergy Abuse
Abuse of any kind is considered a criminal act in Florida and can be punishable by jail time and fines. When a clergy member faces such charges, the State is responsible for building and pursuing a case against them.
While the outcome of a criminal case can punish the perpetrator, it generally does not provide any kind of reparation for victims. For this reason, Florida law allows abuse victims to file lawsuits in civil court. In doing so, they can seek compensation from the liable parties—in this case, the clergy member and the religious institution they belong to—for the harm they suffered.
These lawsuits remain independent from the criminal case, so you could still recover damages even if the liable party is not convicted. Since you are responsible for bringing a civil lawsuit if you so choose, you can hire a clergy abuse lawyer from our firm to handle the case for you.
New Laws Regarding Clergy Abuse Cases
Although many clergy abuse cases have happened over the last century, many more have likely gone unreported due to fear of backlash and other factors. Some years back, clergy abuse wasn't such an open topic of discussion. However, in 2002, the Boston Globe released a monumental investigative report regarding clergy abuse in the Catholic Church that made the world take notice of the issue.
The report revealed how the existing statutes of limitations among most states made it difficult for clergy abuse survivors to come forward and share their stories. Fortunately, some states have revised these laws, and now the victims can take legal action for abuse that happened decades ago. Reaching out to a lawyer who understands the laws regarding clergy abuse can help you navigate these laws in regard to your case.
Note that these cases are not limited to the Catholic Church by any means. Our team could help you bring an abuse case against any religious organization or leader.
How Can an Aventura Clergy Abuse Lawyer Help?
Our clergy abuse lawyers will perform the following tasks to guide your case against the liable parties:
- Provide you a safe, confidential space to discuss your experience and the damages you've suffered
- Advise you on the most suitable legal path to take
- Determine which state laws apply to your case and how to use them to your advantage
- Inform you about the updated laws that make it easier to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions
- Gather enough evidence to build a strong case against the perpetrators
- Calculate all damages incurred and come up with the compensation amount you deserve
- File a clergy abuse lawsuit on your behalf
- Negotiate a settlement with the parties involved
- Represent you in court if necessary
These are just some of the steps we can take on your behalf. We can tailor our services to your unique legal needs.
Our Team Takes Care of Each Client We Represent
- “From the beginning I enjoyed the initial conversation I had with Julia Dolman. She was very professional, you could tell she knew what she was talking about and made me feel comfortable in what was an awkward situation.” — Kerry Zakowski
- “Becky Dolman worked with me and she was an absolute doll. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes to have a lawyer who actually cares about you as their client and not just as another dollar sign for them. I am grateful and thankful my friend introduced me to her.” — Barbara Cohen
- “Professional, hard working, and treats their clients with respect. I think they did a great job representing me and am happy I made the decision to go with them.” — Cynthia Walters
Effects Clergy Abuse Victims Could Experience
Clergy abuse usually results in both physical and psychological effects for the victims. Even though some of these effects are short-term, others can last for months or even years after the abuse.
The following are the most common effects of clergy abuse on victims:
- Chronic pain
- Gastrointestinal health issues
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Criminal tendencies
- Difficulty keeping a job
Suffering these and other physical and emotional injuries can qualify you for various types of damages.
Recoverable Damages in an Aventura Clergy Abuse Case
Victims of clergy abuse may recover economic and non-economic damages through a civil lawsuit. Examples of damages our attorneys could help you recover include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Counseling and therapy expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Lost wages
Other damages may also be available. We will take our time when reviewing your case to ensure we identify all the ways this abuse has affected you.
What Qualifies as Clergy Abuse?
Many different inappropriate behaviors can constitute abuse, including:
- Indecent exposure
- Unwanted touching
- Statutory rape
- Child pornography
- Sexual assault
- Lewd conduct
- Sexual threats and harassment
When you hire us to represent you, our attorneys will look for evidence of acts like these to support your case. For example, we could rely on witness testimony—including your own—photographs of any injuries you sustained, and other forms of evidence.
Who Can Commit Clergy Abuse?
Clergy abuse can occur in religious institutions by various religious leaders, including:
- Church ministers
- Church staff
- Workers in religious institutions
During our investigation, we will identify all potentially liable parties and collect evidence to build your case against them.
Contact the Dolman Law Group for Legal Help
If you're a victim of clergy abuse, there is no need to carry this burden alone. You can always reach out to our team at the Dolman Law Group for legal assistance. We're ready to help you navigate the entire legal process, seeking justice and compensation for you in Aventura. Call for a free consultation so we can get started with your case today.
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