Los Angeles Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

July 15, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Roman Catholic priests who committed acts of sexual abuse deserve to be held accountable for the profound physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma their evil acts inflicted on young and vulnerable survivors. So do the Church leaders and institutions whose negligence and cover-ups allowed the abuse to happen. In some cases, priests may face criminal charges. However, survivors of sexual abuse by Los Angeles Archdiocese priests may also have the option of taking legal action seeking financial compensation and other kinds of remedies against their abusers and others. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are affiliated law firms that pursue a common mission: obtaining justice and compensation for people who suffered harm because of someone else's wrongful actions. Our firms represent survivors of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests throughout the United States. We welcome any person who has questions about the legal options for seeking accountability from priest abusers and Church institutions in Los Angeles and throughout California to contact us for a free, totally confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced Los Angeles sexual abuse injury attorneys.

Lawyers for Survivors of Los Angeles Priest Sexual Abuse

The attorneys of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA commit their considerable talents to advocate for people harmed by someone else's negligent or intentionally harmful conduct. Their hard work and dedication to protecting the interests of vulnerable survivors of wrongdoing have earned them a well-deserved, nationwide reputation as go-to lawyers in the most challenging and complicated legal matters. Survivors of sexual abuse who choose Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to represent them get lawyers committed to delivering individualized, intelligent, and empathetic legal services. That is the least our team can do for brave survivors of clergy sexual abuse in L.A., many of whom have lived for decades with the trauma of sexual violence that impacted every aspect of their lives long into adulthood. Our affiliated firms have an impressive track record of success, obtaining millions of dollars of financial compensation for our clients throughout the United States, including in priest and clergy sexual abuse matters. Unlike smaller firms, we have the resources, reputation, and resolve to pursue our clients' interests even when the party on the other side is an institution as large and powerful as the Roman Catholic Church. We cannot promise our clients that they will receive compensation, but we can commit that we will work tirelessly on their behalf in seeking the justice and accountability they deserve from priest abuse perpetrators and Church leadership and institutions who turned a blind eye or, worse, actively covered-up the abuse. Stepping forward with a claim of priest sexual abuse takes enormous courage and strength under even the most favorable conditions. If you suffered sexual abuse from a Los Angeles priest, we want to help you fight for the justice you deserve.

Expanded Time Limits for Los Angeles Priest Sexual Abuse Claims

Although allegations against Los Angeles area priests have received attention for years now, they are by no means old news. Bishop Accountability advocates for survivors of Catholic clergy abuse. On its website, the public can find detailed records of allegations against priests and other clergy in dioceses throughout California, including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (which oversees parishes in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties). Sadly, advocates for abuse survivors have reported reluctance on the part of survivors to explore legal options because of a distrust that the laws or courts would help them. In the past, that distrust has been understandable. In many states, the doors to the courthouse have historically slammed shut for survivors long before they were ready to take the brave step of seeking accountability. In California, fortunately, those days have passed. Survivors of priest sexual abuse throughout L.A. now benefit from recently-expanded time limits to pursue legal remedies against perpetrators of abuse and individuals or institutions that facilitated the abuse by ignoring it or covering it up. California law now keeps the doors to the courthouse open for long enough to allow many survivors of priest sexual abuse to take legal action seeking accountability for abuse that happened decades ago, when they were children. In fact, as reported in the L.A. Times, the Church recently reported record numbers of sexual abuse allegations against priests, due in large measure to changes in laws that expanded the time limits for survivors in California to step forward and seek accountability for abuse. Specifically, survivors can take legal action against the priest perpetrator or a Church institution at any time before their 40th birthday or within five years of when they discover or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness they suffered was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period last longer. Survivors of child sexual abuse by a priest also have a special window of opportunity, which will stay open only until December 31, 2022, to take legal action against a priest or the Church for any act of sexual abuse no matter how long ago it happened. In other words, even if the time limits described above would have already passed on a legal claim for a survivor, that does not matter so long as the survivor takes legal action before the end of 2022. These changes to California law create a significant opportunity for priest sexual abuse survivors of all ages to obtain the financial compensation and other benefits they deserve for the harm done to them, regardless of how long ago it happened. The skilled and compassionate lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help them pursue those legal rights in or out of California courts.

Options for Seeking Accountability for Los Angeles Priest Sexual Abuse

As advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA attorneys understand that survivors step forward to reveal their histories of abuse for widely varying reasons. Some feel a drive to see justice done. Others want to close this chapter of their lives. The vast majority, in our experience, hope their legal actions will help innocent parishioners from future sexual abuse by a priest. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA attorneys work closely with clients to develop strong, sophisticated legal strategies tailored to serving their personal reasons and goals in stepping forward with an allegation against a priest or an Archdiocese of Los Angeles institution. We won't employ two identical strategies, because no two survivors have identical stories. One aspect of having a Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA lawyer that does not waver, however, is our total commitment to making sure our clients understand their options and that they know they remain in control of the final decisions about when, how, and in what manner to proceed. Our team will frequently propose a range of options to a priest sexual abuse survivor for how to move forward with legal action. Those options often include:

Pursuing Perpetrators and Church Institutions for Financial Compensation

The harm inflicted by sexual abuser priests and culpable Church institutions in L.A. against innocent parishioners takes a heavy physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial toll. Many survivors endure those harms for decades. Legal actions seeking financial compensation cannot remove that trauma from a survivor's life. However, as imperfect as it is as a means of correcting horrific abuses, money can help survivors obtain essential support, and its payment can represent an important degree of acknowledgment by the Church of the pain and difficulty the survivor endured. The type and size of a payment a sexual abuse survivor may obtain through taking legal action vary widely, just as do the life experiences of survivors themselves. The attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA attorneys know their first, and most important, job is to listen to the survivor's story and to appreciate the degree to which priest sexual abuse affected the survivor's life. Only then can our team truly begin to evaluate the survivor's legal claim and to develop personalized legal strategies that take the full measure of the harm the survivor suffered into account.

Using Legal Action to Create Meaningful Change

The American legal system principally uses money as the means of addressing a past wrong. However, the courts' powers do not end at ordering a priest abuser or Church institution to pay money to a survivor. California courts also often have the power to direct the Church to make changes in its procedures and operations that will prevent future instances of priest sexual abuse. Survivors sometimes have the option to seek those sorts of changes (in addition to seeking money damages) by taking legal action in California courts. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we often evaluate our clients' options for achieving meaningful change through legal action as part of our task of developing and presenting our clients with personalized legal strategies that serve their needs and goals.

Managing the Survivor's Role in the Prosecution of an Abuser

Priest sexual abuse constitutes a serious crime that deserves punishment. Los Angeles prosecutors who learn of credible allegations of sexual abuse against a priest who is still alive will typically evaluate whether to seek criminal charges. In making that decision, prosecutors should always (and usually do) consider the wishes of the survivor, particularly whether the survivor will willingly act as a witness against the abuser priest. In most cases, the decision whether to testify against the abuser priest belongs to the survivor alone. For some survivors of priest sexual abuse, bearing witness against the priest who abused them represents an important goal of stepping forward with an allegation. They want to testify, and we help guide them through that process while protecting their legal rights to also pursue financial compensation (survivors virtually always can do both, if they so choose). For other survivors, the idea of testifying against an abuser priest does not sit well. They would prefer to avoid the publicity of a public trial, or a least want to protect their own privacy. We help those survivors manage that decision, too, again while protecting their legal rights to seek compensation in a civil lawsuit, if that is what they want to do. No matter what decision our clients make about their role in the prosecution of their abuser, they can rest assured we will fiercely protect their interests and advocate on their behalf. We are—literally—their sworn ally in whatever legal path they choose.

Our Clients Remain in Control

Survivors of priest sexual abuse undertake a bold and often-difficult mission when they step forward to reveal the harm they suffered. As their advocates and allies, we also work to ensure our clients have a strong emotional support system in place that can help give them strength during the process of pursuing their legal options. Taking legal action often means talking about the most painful of traumas in detail, a potentially (re)traumatizing experience for many. To build the trust essential for that process, we always make sure that our clients know that everything they talk about with us always stays completely confidential unless and until the clients give us permission to reveal it in the course of pursuing their legal options. Our Los Angeles priest sexual abuse clients always remain in control of how their story gets told. Our sole mission is to advocate on their behalf, in the manner that they choose.

Lawyers for Survivors of Los Angeles Priest Sexual Abuse

It takes immense courage to come forward with an allegation against a Los Angeles priest and the Church that employed (and often protected) him. The lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA honor that courage by dedicating the full measure of their commitment and effort to serving their clients' needs and interests. If you would like to learn about the options for seeking justice and accountability against an abuser and the Church institutions that enabled and possibly covered-up these crimes, then we welcome you to contact the compassionate, skilled sexual abuse injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today. Contact us online or by phone at 833-552-7274 for a free, 100 percent confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.


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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