Diocese of Brooklyn Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

September 11, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Brooklyn is home to more than one-and-a-half-million Roman Catholics, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn. Across the borough's 186 parishes, from Bensonhurst to Bushwick, generations of Catholics have trusted the Church to provide spiritual and practical guidance, to educate their children, and to serve their communities. Sadly, the Church betrayed that trust when it failed to protect children and teens in its congregations from predatory priests and clergy members. Recently, the Diocese of Brooklyn released a long list naming the priests and clergy members who served in churches, schools, and other institutions throughout the Diocese since the mid-20th Century and have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. That list serves as a tragic testament to the thousands of young lives traumatized by sexual predation, and to the complicity of Church leaders and institutions who turned a blind eye to or, in some cases, actively covered-up the sexual abuse of child and teen parishioners. Victims of sexual abuse by Diocese of Brooklyn priests and clergy deserve justice and compensation. The compassionate, dedicated sexual abuse injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have the resources and experience to help victims seek justice. If you endured sexual abuse by a priest or clergy member within the Diocese of Brooklyn at any time in your life, no matter how long ago, and you would like to explore your legal rights to hold your abuser and/or the Church accountable, then we invite you to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free, totally confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.

Our Law Practice Representing Survivors of Priest Sexual Abuse

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are affiliated law firms that represent clients throughout the country. The sole focus of our practice is to represent people who have suffered harm because of someone else's wrongful actions. With decades of combined experience under our belts and a storied track record of success on behalf of our clients, we have the know-how and resources necessary to advocate for clients in the most challenging cases and against the most powerful interests. Representing survivors of sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests constitutes a significant and growing part of our legal practice. These are extraordinarily difficult, personal legal matters. Not many law firms have the unique combination of size, compassion, tenacity, and commitment to serving clients' needs required to handle such cases successfully, but we do. We recognize that every survivor of priest sexual abuse who seeks our help has a unique and difficult story to tell about an unspeakable trauma. Our priority is to hear our clients' voices and to internalize their motivations and purposes for stepping forward. Only after we understand our clients, their histories, and their goals, can we get to work developing and pursuing individualized legal strategies that serve our clients' interests, and that keep them in control of when and how their stories get told. We take pride in having recovered millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. Still, we cannot guarantee that any action we take on a client's behalf will have a favorable financial outcome. Every client we serve has a unique story to tell with its own potential legal outcomes. We can, however, make this promise: that survivors of Brooklyn priest sexual abuse will find in Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA a team of compassionate, committed advocates, who work day-in, day-out to achieve the best possible outcome for every client.

A Window of Opportunity for Diocese of Brooklyn Priest Sexual Abuse Survivors

This is an important legal moment for survivors of sexual abuse committed by priests and clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn, especially those who suffered abuse long ago. A window of opportunity is currently open that gives all survivors the ability to take legal action seeking compensation for the abuse they've suffered, no matter how long ago that abuse occurred. However, time is running out. Many survivors will need to take legal action before January 14, 2021, to preserve their rights. This window of opportunity exists thanks to a recent change in New York law that sought to correct a longstanding injustice against survivors of sexual abuse, especially by priests. For generations, the statute of limitations (or time limit after an injury for taking legal action) in New York failed to account for the challenges and obstacles that many survivors of Brooklyn Diocese priest sexual abuse encountered in stepping forward to reveal what had happened to them. By the time these brave survivors were ready to take that difficult step, the legal time limit for filing a lawsuit in New York civil court had, in many cases, long-since expired. Passage of the New York Child Victims Act in 2019 corrected that wrong, for now. Designed to give survivors of priest sexual abuse throughout New York State the opportunity to hold their abusers and the Church accountable, the law:
  • Expanded the statute of limitations for survivors whose rights had not yet expired, by giving survivors until they turn 55 years old to take civil legal action in a New York court; and
  • Opened a special window of opportunity for survivors whose claims had already expired as of the date of the Act to take legal action in New York courts, so long as survivors do so no later than January 14, 2021. Once that window of opportunity closes, those survivors will, for the most part, no longer qualify to file lawsuits seeking damages for the trauma they suffered.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we strongly encourage any survivor of priest sexual abuse that occurred within the Diocese of Brooklyn, no matter how long ago, to act now to protect your legal rights by contacting our team of experienced, compassionate sexual abuse injury lawyers. In a free, confidential conversation, we can evaluate the nature and extent of your legal rights, before you risk losing them.

How We Can Help Sexual Abuse Survivors

As advocates for survivors of sexual violence committed by priests, our attorneys have deep and detailed knowledge about the various options for holding abusers and Church institutions legally and financially accountable. In tailoring the services that we provide to survivors to meet their unique needs and goals, we may recommend a range of strategies. We always begin by listening. Our teams understand that every survivor has reasons for taking the brave and difficult step of revealing a history of abuse. Some, we find, simply believe it is the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences. Some want an apology from the Church. Others need financial support to build a foundation for a new beginning in their lives. Virtually all of our past priest sexual abuse clients, in our experience, want to take legal action to help protect young parishioners from future sexual predation by priests and clergy. Having heard our past clients' reasons for seeking our counsel, we set to work developing legal strategies that serve their interests. Every case is different, so no strategy is completely identical to another. However, our team will frequently present survivors with legal options that include:

Suing for Monetary Damages

Most Diocese of Brooklyn priest sexual abuse cases seek money damages as compensation for the harm a victim suffered. This is because money is, for better or worse, how the American legal system settles scores between injured parties and the parties who injured them. Of course, money cannot cure the trauma and scars of sexual abuse by a priest against a child or teenager. It can, however, provide meaningful financial support to help a survivor pay for schooling, therapy, living accommodations, and life comforts that may make living with a history of abuse a bit more manageable. Receiving money from a Church institution can also serve as an acknowledgment, of sorts, of the harm a priest inflicted, and of the Church's role in enabling that harm to occur. We cannot guarantee that any client we represent will recover money through the legal actions we take. We can promise, however, that we will give survivors smart, effective, and compassionate legal advice, designed to give them the best shot possible at a favorable financial outcome.

Suing for an Injunction

For some of our clients, simply suing for money is not enough. These clients want any legal action they take to result in a direct, meaningful change in how Church institutions conduct themselves in connection with preventing sexual abuse by priests and clergy. The lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA invite our survivors of Diocese of Brooklyn priest sexual abuse to communicate their priorities to us. New York courts have wide-ranging powers to issue injunctions, which direct a party in a lawsuit to perform a specific act. Survivors nationwide have asked courts to issue injunctions aimed at forcing Church institutions to handle allegations of sexual abuse by priests and clergy more transparently and methodically. Our team has the know-how and sophistication to explore legally-creative ways for survivors of priest sexual abuse in Brooklyn to achieve similar ends in their lawsuits.

Helping the Brooklyn D.A. Prosecute a Sexually Abusive Priest

Sexual abuse is a crime, no matter who commits it. Catholic priests do not get a free pass from the New York criminal laws just because they wear a collar and robe. Typically, prosecutors in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, working with law enforcement, make the decisions about whether they can prosecute a priest who commits sexual abuse against a child or teen, and if so, what crimes they think they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In making those decisions, prosecutors will often want to work with the survivor abused by the priest, and they may ask the survivor to testify as a witness for the prosecution in a criminal trial. As attorneys for brave survivors of sexual violence, we believe in the principle that survivors should get to decide if and how to assist in the criminal prosecution of their abusers. We advise our clients about their legal rights in connection with a prosecution, and we advocate for them with the D.A.'s office and others no matter what our clients decide they want their role to be in a criminal case. We fight to keep survivors in control of how they tell their stories.

We Serve Our Clients' Interests Only

When we became lawyers, we took an oath to serve as zealous, fearless advocates for our clients and their legal interests. We have committed our careers to serving that goal by making sure that people harmed by someone else's wrongful conduct receive justice and compensation. Survivors of priest sexual abuse entrust us with deeply personal and painful information. Our duty is to keep that information strictly, totally confidential unless and until our client, the survivor, decides to allow us to reveal it in the course of our legal representation. If a client gives us the go-ahead to take action on his or her behalf, then we measure every decision we make by a single yardstick: does this serve our client's best interests? Survivors of priest sexual abuse in the Brooklyn Diocese can always trust us to honor our sacred duty to serve their interests above all others.

Attorneys for Survivors of Priest Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Brooklyn

Survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and clergy in the Diocese of Brooklyn have significant legal rights to hold their abusers and Church institutions accountable. However, to preserve those rights, many survivors must act soon. Valuable legal rights under New York law may soon expire. To learn more about your options for seeking justice and compensation for trauma you suffered as a result of sexual abuse by a Diocese of Brooklyn priest, contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online or toll-free at 833-552-7274 for a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation. Members of our experienced legal team are waiting to speak with you.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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