Archdiocese of Louisville Priest Abuse Lawyer

October 26, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Unfortunately, statistics demonstrate that before the age of eighteen, one in every six men and one in every four women will experience some form of sexual abuse. It is natural to expect that community members who assist families in nurturing their children will strive to maintain their safety and well being.

Community members may promote physical development through coaching, intellectual development through teaching, or religious development through worship. When a respected member of society abuses a child, or causes them harm, community members are commonly outraged, and rightfully so. While anger is a reasonable reaction, plans must be in place to help survivors cope in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are proud of what we have accomplished for survivors of priest abuse. We regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation and accountability they are entitled to. We are dedicated to serving clients who face some of the most challenging cases involving deliberate actions that have caused immense harm to innocent victims.

Although past results are not indicative of future outcomes, our track record can help ease prospective clients into trusting our team through this difficult process. While our past successes do not guarantee a positive outcome for every client, they do reflect our commitment to doing everything in our power to see that justice is served for our clients.

Every person who has survived instances of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Louisville, or elsewhere, deserves an attorney who is fully committed to serving their best interests. They deserve representation that is worthy of their trust, treats them kindly and compassionately, and protects their privacy. When you choose Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA you are guaranteed representation with each of these qualities.

Survivors Point to Members of the Clergy

While we often remember to warn our children about predatory individuals who may frequent local playgrounds and school grounds, we seldom think to warn them to be wary of trusted members of our community. Yet, for decades, children in Louisville were subjected to abuse by members of the Archdiocese.

When information and evidence of abuse were disseminated to the public, we quickly, and unfortunately, discovered a pattern of abuse that had taken place in the Diocese across the United States over decades. While many people were shocked by the expose' posted in The Boston Globe in 2002, it quickly became clear this abuse within the Diocese was more than just a problem for large cities, the problem was worldwide.

In one recent year, the Archdiocese of Louisville released the names of clergy members who had been accused of abusive behavior. At that time, the report identified forty-eight priests, showing that a majority of the alleged abuse occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. The same report showed reports of abuse dating as far back as the 1930s, and concluded the total number of victims was unknown.

Reassignment to New Parishes Followed Reports of Abuse

The Bishop Accountability website documents and provides information on more than eighty accused members of the Archdiocese of Louisville facing credible accusations of abuse. More than one-half of those who were accused had a history of being reassigned to new parishes following the allegations, regardless of the outcome.

Many of the accused were reassigned out of state, and in some cases, out of the country, after community members alleged instances of abuse. Transferring accused clergy members was a way to eliminate the source of contention and prevent the accusations from being public knowledge. In many cases, victims were offered a cash settlement, in exchange for which they were required to sign nondisclosure agreements to assure the allegations were not discussed further.

Unfortunately, this practice, aimed at concealing allegations of abuse, created opportunities for accused clergy members to engage in additional harm in the parishes they were reassigned to.

Survivors of Archdiocese of Louisville Priest Abuse Deserve Justice

One of the many challenges for victims of Louisville priest abuse is figuring out how to pursue justice for the wrongs committed against them. A great number of abusers are no longer living, making the imposition of criminal charges against them impossible. Kentucky's statute of limitations provides timelines within which victims are eligible to seek justice, and if the deadline expires, victims cannot file an abuse claim.

Victims of childhood sexual assault have a specific deadline to file for relief—however, the deadline for filing charges may change because of the:

  • Date of the last abuse - If the perpetrator engaged in a continued pattern of abuse, the last of such events occurring within the last ten years, victims may pursue criminal or civil actions, regardless of the age of the survivor.
  • Reinstatement of memory - While the science behind the repression of memories is controversial, a victim of abuse may not fully recall every instance of abuse. Therefore, victims who remember or learn of such abuse later have ten years from the date they knew, or should have known, about the abuse.
  • New conviction of perpetrator - Should a survivor learn their abuser has been convicted of any crime which is associated with childhood sexual abuse or assault, they may file a civil lawsuit within ten years of the date of conviction.

Regardless of the circumstances, survivors may still have the option to file a suit against the Archdiocese of Louisville, even if more than ten years have passed. Survivors are encouraged to reach out to a personal injury attorney with experience in Diocese abuse cases at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Our dedicated team can discuss the specifics of your situation, advise you of your options, and work with you to determine which option best suits your needs.

Archdiocese of Louisville Liability

Archdiocese of Louisville Priest Abuse

Despite the Archdiocese of Louisville taking responsibility for decades of abuse, and offering apologies to victims, they still bear the burden of their reputation for concealment of abuse across decades. For example, many victims who were ignored, demands were made for non-disclosure agreements, and abusers were reassigned to other parishes without consequence. The Archdiocese of Louisville must cope with public knowledge of the institution's deceitful behaviors in handling allegations of child abuse.

At the personal injury firms of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we believe the fact the Archdiocese often went to great lengths to cover up these scandals only perpetuated the abuse of children across Kentucky, and the United States. Just like the abusers, you can and should hold their enablers in the Archdiocese accountable.

Keep in mind that while the Catholic Church may be the most visible sign of clergy abuse, victims and abusers can be found across all faiths and denominations. Abuse has been uncovered in all religious orders and positions, including pastors, priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, and deacons.

Criminal Liability and Civil Liability

Of the eighty-one accused persons who had a connection to the Archdiocese of Louisville, eleven are deceased. Victims of deceased abusers can't press criminal charges to hold them accountable. However, these victims may still be entitled to seek recourse by initiating a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese. It is important to understand the differences between these cases, as well as what a victim may be required to show in each case.

For a criminal case to proceed, victims must first advise law enforcement officers of the alleged abuse. Once an allegation is made, an investigation is conducted and the prosecutor in the jurisdiction where the abuse is alleged to have occurred will determine whether to pursue criminal charges.

If criminal proceedings are brought by the state, victims may address the court and the accused in open court, either by providing a victim impact statement or testifying as to their experience. However, individual survivors ultimately decide whether they desire to speak in open court—victims are never required to speak against their will. While some survivors find giving testimony would be a traumatic experience, others find the opportunity to speak is assistive in their healing process.

Civil lawsuits differ significantly from criminal proceedings. The most apparent difference is that there are no prosecutors involved, and it is not up to the state to determine whether a civil claim should be filed. Oftentimes, survivors believe to hold someone accountable in a civil suit, the accused must have been convicted in a criminal suit.

However, there is no requirement that criminal charges must be pursued before a survivor is permitted to initiate a civil action. When criminal charges are pursued, the outcome of the proceedings will not determine the outcome of any civil claims for relief—even if the defendant is ultimately acquitted of the charges, a civil case may still proceed.

Financial Compensation for Survivors in Civil Suits

Survivors of abuse oftentimes suffer long-term impacts from the trauma they have endured. From physical ailments to emotional issues, the damage can be extensive. Although it is difficult to assign a dollar amount to damages related to an individual's loss of trust, loss of innocence, or loss of enjoyment of life, these damages may be compensated.

More tangible damages, such as medical expenses and treatment costs are also compensable, and they are much easier to calculate. Additionally, in many cases, the Archdiocese can be held liable for concealing instances of abuse, which undoubtedly led to a greater number of victims.

For survivors, speaking with an attorney to gain an understanding of the option available to them is the first step. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand the amount of courage it takes to address issues associated with the abuse you suffered. The decision to pursue action to hold the responsible parties accountable is seldom easy.

Our dedicated team promises to keep client discussions confidential because your privacy is paramount as you navigate this difficult process. We are committed to protecting the legal rights of survivors, ensuring they understand all options for moving forward, and standing by our client-survivor's decisions.

We Work Hard to Provide a Voice for Survivors

We understand the unparalleled courage involved in coming forward about abuse victims have suffered at the hands of a trusted member of the community. Victims of abuse are vulnerable, and they deserve to have their voices heard. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we provide victims with the voice they need to make their story known and hold responsible parties accountable.

Our compassionate and experienced legal team is committed to client advocacy and seeking justice for victims. We know the path towards justice is different for each survivor, and we aim to guide you on the path that best suits your specific needs. Our clients always remain in control of how we pursue justice on their behalf.

Our Team Will Help You Get Justice for Priest Abuse in Louisville

To allow victims to gain an understanding of their legal rights and explore their potential options, our firm offers free consultations for survivors of abuse. At a consultation, victims can explain the individual circumstances of their abuse allowing us to examine the specific legal options available to them.

In our experience, for many survivors moving forward, seeking closure, and beginning the healing process starts with sharing their story. We have developed an understanding of the trauma this process may impose on survivors. Accusing a trusted member of your community is never easy—however, holding someone accountable so you can heal the wounds you have lived with for many years is important. Many survivors believe that by making the difficult decision to come forward themselves, they may encourage others to relieve themselves of their own pain.

Victims are entitled to unbiased, open, honest advice, and that is what we provide at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Moreover, we have identified resources to assist our clients in navigating the trauma and grief they have suffered. We work to connect our clients with the resources they need to help them reclaim their lives.

If you are a survivor of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Louisville, or at 833-552-7274, for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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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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