Nearly every parent teaches their child to use caution around people they do not know. We tell them to not accept candy or gifts, not accept a ride, and if they see someone approaching them who they are unfamiliar with, to make every attempt to get someplace safe. However, we seldom think about warning our children about the danger potentially posed to them by the people we entrust with their care.
If a Catholic priest or other official abused you or your child, please call the trusted Archdiocese of Baltimore sexual abuse lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Our compassionate team is ready to hear you, stand up for you, and fight for the justice you want and deserve.
Trusted Adults and Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
Children should enjoy their childhoods and that means being able to trust the adults around them. This includes family members, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, and priests. Unfortunately, there are adults in all of these groups who commit abuse against the children in their care. Numerous studies have shown us that we may be warning our children about the wrong people when it comes to the danger of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of children is significantly more common at the hands of people the victim knows—90 percent of all sexual abuse victims knew their abuser.
As ugly as it is to talk about, clergy members and their child victims of sexual abuse have been in the news for nearly two decades since the Boston Globe published their findings of investigative journalism on the topic beginning in 2001. This scandal has rocked the church, and Archdioceses across the world have been forced to publicly reckon with a history of not only abuse but decades of covering up that abuse.
Priest Sexual Abuse Scandal Rocks a Nation
Massachusetts, Arizona, Louisiana, Delaware, Guam, Minnesota, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Iowa were among the first states to expose the depth of the problem of sexual abuse by priests as well as the lengths to which the Catholic Church went to cover up instances of abuse. However, this merely seems to have been the tip of the iceberg, and Maryland was not spared. In fact, well before other states were reporting cases, the Maryland courts had already exposed a problem in Baltimore.
Catholic Church Scandal Erupts in Baltimore Archdiocese
In 1995, a teacher at the Catholic Community Middle School of Baltimore was convicted and subsequently sentenced to four consecutive life terms for a history of abusing children in his care. What was so chilling about this incident is that there was more than ample evidence presented in the case to demonstrate that the Catholic Church went out of its way to protect this teacher. While not a priest, it was one of the first cases that tied the Baltimore Archdiocese to the sexual abuse scandal.
In 2002, Cardinal William H. Keeler released the names of dozens of priests and brothers in the Baltimore area who had been accused of sexually abusing children in their care or tutelage. This list showed a pattern, dating back five decades, of the Archdiocese transferring priests and brothers who had been accused of sexual assault to other areas of the country. It also described the payouts to the families of victims.
Furthermore, dozens of names were withheld from Cardinal Keeler's document. These names were withheld specifically because the accused perpetrators were no longer alive. However, the document did state that some abuse accusations dated back more than seven decades.
Baltimore Archdiocese Pays a Steep Costs for Sexual Abuse
The cost of the sexual abuse scandal in the Baltimore Archdiocese, and across the nation, has been enormous.
Some costs as reported by Bishop Accountability include:
- Treatment and care for suspended priests $387,019.
- Living expenses for suspended priests $616,201.
- Legal representation for accused priests $112,520.
These expenses were incurred beginning in 1987. Settlements made beginning in 1982 included:
- Sexual Abuse Victim Counseling Costs $419,186.
- Settlements to Victims $4,100,000.
This may be a mere drop in the bucket since there are still victims who have not found their voice. This is where the team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA comes in.
Archdiocese of Baltimore Churches Block Abusers From Seeking Justice
In 2017 Maryland, along with many states, made moves to ensure that adult survivors of sexual abuse could seek compensation from those who were responsible for their abuse. Unfortunately, the original details of the bill may have provided some shield for the Catholic Church.
While accusers can take steps to sue their accuser personally, the bill only allows such suits to be filed until the victims are 38 years old. This effectively provides immunity for decades-old charges, and this age limit was lobbied for by the church. For Maryland child sexual abuse attorneys, this has presented some legal hurdles, but we can still help victims hold priests accountable for their abuse.
Holding Archdiocese of Baltimore Priests Accountable Takes Courageous Survivors
Priest sexual abuse was unchecked and covered up for decades in the Baltimore Archdiocese. Victims are still facing challenges coming forward since many of them have spent years denying they were victims of a priest or other member of the Archdiocese. The courage of sexual abuse victims is amazing. Each survivor deserves justice and our team of empathetic attorneys is here to help survivors. While we cannot undo the wrong that was done to you, we can help you get the justice you deserve and help ensure other children are not victims of the Catholic Church.
Survivor Privacy and Individual Needs Are Our Priority in Archdiocese of Baltimore Sex Abuse Claims
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand that there are different reasons why individuals seek justice after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. In some cases, survivors merely need someone to believe their story. After years, and in some cases decades, of living with the after-effects of priest sexual abuse, they want someone who will be kind, compassionate, and explain their options to them without the worry of telling their story to the press.
For some survivors, having lived their entire lives with feelings of guilt, self-blame, and humiliation, they need a compassionate ear to listen without judgment. They want to tell their stories, sometimes to stop abuse by the same clergy member in the future. In some cases, survivors want to ensure their abuser faces criminal charges.
Others need access to costly mental health treatment and feel the Archdiocese should be made to foot the bill for such treatment. Other victims need to have the cathartic experience of facing their abusers and hold them accountable for their actions. Whatever your reason is for coming forward, we are here to help.
Baltimore Survivors of Priest Sexual Abuse Seeking Justice
Some survivors of priest sexual abuse can file a lawsuit against the Baltimore Archdiocese for allowing the abuse of specific clergy members to continue despite reports indicating this abuse had gone on for years, and in some cases, for decades.
Civil Damages in Archdiocese of Baltimore Priest Sexual Abuse Cases
The long-term fallout of childhood sexual abuse continues to emerge as more studies confirm the physical and emotional consequences that child sexual abuse victims suffer into adulthood. Often, children who have been sexually abused act out. But the bigger challenge is what occurs both physically and emotionally in older children—often well into adulthood.
For victims to get the help they need requires access to the best health care available. Survivors of priest sexual abuse often wrestle with the emotional trauma, which frequently manifests via negative impacts on their physical health. Survivors often suffer years of pain without ever understanding that their symptoms are tied to the trauma they endured as children. For such victims, compensation may help them get the care they need.
If you work with our team, we will aggressively pursue all available civil remedies and may help you recover compensation for:
- Physical health costs - According to some studies, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and a host of other complications can wreak havoc on the health of adults who suffered sexual abuse as children. These conditions are devastating to both a survivor's physical health and their social lives as that person often feels isolated and alone because they must limit their interactions with others due to their physical condition.
- Mental health costs - The emotional costs of recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual assault are real. Mental health treatment may involve working with a variety of professionals including therapists, psychiatrists, or psychologists. Survivors are often plagued with feelings of guilt. Guilt can give way to depression, mental anguish, and a host of other mental health challenges. You should not have to pay out of your own pocket for these costs resulting from someone else's behavior.
- Additional compensation - Some victims may experience ongoing pain and suffering as a result of being sexually abused by a priest during their childhood. Physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional trauma are often compensable when you file a civil lawsuit. We can help you get the compensation you deserve within the limits of the law. Often, victims suffer long-term problems such as sexual dysfunction and other issues that can damage their personal relationships well into adulthood.
- Punitive damages - The one thing we have learned about Baltimore priest abuse cases is that the church often went to extraordinary lengths to protect pedophile priests. Because of these coverups, the Archdiocese may be liable for punitive damages.
Civil Cases Versus Criminal Cases
Survivors of Baltimore priest sexual abuse often wonder about the difference between civil and criminal cases against their abuser. For those survivors who wish to see their abusers held criminally liable for their actions, the case must be referred to a prosecutor.
Unfortunately, for some survivors, this road leads nowhere because their abusers are no longer living. However, for those survivors who know their abuser is still alive, criminal prosecution may be a way for them to heal and close the book on a devastating chapter in their lives.
Survivors have options: Even if a prosecutor elects to file a criminal charge against your abuser, you are not bound by law to testify in open court. For those who are considering a civil case against their abuser, you should be aware that there are different standards of proof and you need not be concerned that one case hinges on the other—the cases are not connected in any manner. Both can occur simultaneously, or one can be complete while the other continues.
Exposing Sexual Abuse in Children
Parents and survivors should know they are not alone. Statistics show as many as 33 percent of women, and up to 18 percent of men have been victims of childhood or adolescent sexual abuse. The one thing survivors tend to believe is that they are alone. This is not the case. In fact, you may be close to someone who is also a survivor without knowing it.
Often when survivors speak out, they learn about others who have suffered the same type of abuse. As they share their experiences, victims often establish a strong support network. For those families and survivors who need help holding their abusers accountable, you want a compassionate, caring legal team on your side.
We Hold Archdiocese of Baltimore Priests Accountable for Sexual Abuse
If you are a victim of one of the many Baltimore priests and other clergy members who were accused of sexual abuse, you can find out more about your options for holding them accountable.
Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 833-552-7274 or online. We will schedule a free, confidential, no-strings-attached consultation to discuss the facts of your case. At that consultation, we can explain your options and you can decide the best way to move forward.
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