Our Advocacy for Survivors of Sexual AbuseThe experienced priest sexual abuse attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have extensive experience advocating for clients who have suffered injuries as a result of accidents or intentional harm. Our firm's dedication to professional excellence, case preparation, and client service has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in damages for clients. We diligently pursue justice for priest sexual abuse survivors and understand that sexual abuse cases are not ordinary personal injury claims. We make your needs our top priority, and we work to fiercely protect your privacy. Additionally, our legal team understands that you might feel awkward about seeking financial justice from your current or former religious community, so we want to counsel you to help you find the path to justice that fits your needs. It takes immense courage to step forward with your story, and we are here to passionately help you seek justice. Your choice to come forward is important for your own mental health and dealing with the lasting effects of the trauma, but you will also help prevent future parishioners from suffering the same abuse. The legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is here to give you the counsel you need and guide you through each step of the legal process. We understand that sexual abuse accounts vary among clients, and your path toward justice might look different from that of another priest sexual abuse survivor. We want to explain your rights and options for taking legal action and offer helpful advice on the best course of action toward ensuring accountability for the priest who abused you.
Sexual Abuse in the Manchester DioceseThe Manchester Diocese has published vast amounts of information for those who survived sexual abuse from the Diocese's priests, including concluded cases, cases in progress, cases involving former priests, and cases involving priests who have died. If you currently live or once lived in the Manchester area and suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, contact an attorney for a confidential consultation as soon as possible.
Concluded CasesThese cases include priests who the Catholic Church or federal or state government found guilty of sexually abusing a minor. The following priests admitted to the abuse, were dismissed from their duties, sought laicization (also known as defrocking, wherein they remain priests but lose all of their churchly rights and responsibilities) instead of dismissal, or were assigned to a life of prayer and penance. The following priests also pled guilty in a criminal trial, or a court convicted them despite a plea of not guilty.
- Paul Aube
- Aimé Boisselle
- Gerald Chalifour
- Ronald Corriveau
- Joseph Cote
- Robert Densmore
- Mark Fleming
- Roger Fortier
- James Haller
- Alfred Jannetta
- Raymond Laferriere
- Gordon MacRae
- Joseph Maguire
- Andrew Meehan
- John Nolin
- Donald Osgood
- Eugene Pelletier
- Philip Petit
- John Poirier
- Edward Richard
- George Robichaud
- Stephon Scruton
- Leo Shea
- Francis Talbot
- Roland Tancrede
- Romeo Valliere
Cases in ProgressAs of this writing, the case against Paul Stevens is the only ongoing case from the Manchester Diocese. The church has not resolved any canonical proceedings against Stevens, nor has he stood trial in criminal court. In 2003, Stevens was accused of groping and fondling a teenager in 1969 or 1970. He left the Diocese in 1987 and has no known address beyond 1996. The Diocese is not certain that Stevens is still alive and has not yet reported the incident to law enforcement.
Cases After LaicizationSome Manchester priests accused of sexual abuse voluntarily separated from the Catholic Church, and others separated for different reasons before the Manchester Diocese receiving a report of alleged sexual. The Church did not process these cases, but they did report them to the New Hampshire Department of Justice. According to the Manchester Diocese, the following individuals are included in this group:
- Patrick Dubreuil
- Paul Groleau
- Alfred LaPointe
- David Morley
Cases Against Deceased Priests of the Manchester DioceseMore than 30 Manchester priests that have been accused of sexual abuse have died before their accusers ever stepped forward, or shortly after. The list on the Diocese's website includes allegations that were investigated and the Church deemed credible. If your abuser is not listed above, you might find him here.
Priests from Other Orders Who Served in ManchesterOver the years, a handful of priests from other orders, eparchies, or dioceses, served in Manchester. Survivors accused some of them of sexual abuse, but those priests no longer serve the Manchester Diocese. These individuals include:
- Philip Breton
- Leo Landry
- Edmond J. Lemire
- Marcel Genereaux
- Michael Ledoux
- George Roulier
- Peter Walsh
Seeking Justice After Surviving Manchester Priest Sexual AbuseThose who have survived childhood or adolescent sexual abuse choose to come forward for many reasons. Some have spent time working through their trauma with mental health professionals and want to confront their abusers and/or hold them accountable to aid in recovery. Others have worked through the guilt and shame often associated with childhood sexual abuse and now feel safe to tell their stories and seek justice. Finally, most survivors want to ensure that no one else suffers the same fate. Your reasoning for choosing to come forward with your story and pursue justice is personal and does not matter. You can choose the path toward justice that best suits your needs. The empathetic lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will listen to your case, work to understand all of the surrounding facts, and present you with all of your legal options.
Seeking Compensation Through Civil CourtDepending on your situation, you might qualify to seek compensation for damages incurred as a result of your sexual abuse, whether from your abuser, from the Catholic Church for enabling the abuse, or from both. If you settle or if a court rules in your favor, you may receive compensation for the following costs related to sexual abuse by a Manchester priest:
- Expenses for mental health services to help you cope with the trauma of sexual abuse, including therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another counselor, mental health support services, and other expenses, such as costs for prescription medication, including anti-depressants or anti-anxiety information
- Physical pain and suffering incurred as a result of sexual abuse
- Emotional distress and mental trauma as a result of sexual abuse
- Damage to personal relationships, including loss of consortium with a spouse
- Punitive damages if the Catholic Church knowingly and intentionally covered up the abuse
Criminal Prosecution of Your AbuserIf your abuser is not deceased, you can tell your story to law enforcement officers and insist that they file charges for sexual abuse. Ultimately, the prosecutor decides whether to pursue criminal charges for sexual abuse, but you do have a choice whether you want to testify or participate in the criminal process. When civil and criminal trials occur concurrently, you might struggle with knowing what to say. An experienced and compassionate priest sexual abuse lawyer from the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can advise you on what you should say. Protecting your rights is of the utmost importance, whether testifying as a survivor in criminal court or as a plaintiff in a civil trial.
The Impact of Childhood Sexual AbuseIf you have contemplated stepping forward with your priest sexual abuse story, you know how difficult the decision is. Even after waiting and wondering, you still might question your choice. If you choose to come forward with your allegation, you need a support system in place, which may include family, friends, and/or support groups. It's also in your best interest to undergo therapy with a psychologist or another type of mental health professional who can help you through the difficult process of coming forward. Priest sexual abuse survivors who choose not to cope with the emotional trauma of childhood sexual abuse face long-term physical and behavioral challenges. If you suspect your child has suffered priest sexual abuse, watch for the following signs and symptoms:
- Depression or anxiety, which is sometimes a response to the shame, humiliation, fear, guilt, and self-blame for sexual abuse
- Nightmares, flashbacks, and thoughts of the sexual abuse that indicate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Evidence of self-harm or self-sabotage as a result of the belief that the survivor caused the sexual abuse or deserved it
- The long-term physical impact of priest sexual abuse may include self-harm, self-neglect, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Adults who suffered abuse as children have a higher likelihood of abusing drugs and alcohol, of smoking cigarettes, of being sedentary, and of suffering from extreme obesity.
- The long-term sexual effects from priest sexual abuse include struggles with sex drive, getting aroused, staying aroused, and climaxing. This is often a result of the association between sexual contact, the violation of the body, and pain from the abuse. Sexual abuse survivors typically have more sex partners, are more likely to contract an STD, and engage in high-risk behavior that can lead to HIV.
- The interpersonal effects of priest sexual abuse vary widely. Some struggle with trusting others, especially those in positions of power, and others struggle with boundaries and protecting themselves. Adult survivors are often more vulnerable and prone to further victimization, and struggles with interpersonal effects make it difficult to have healthy relationships and friendships.