Diocese of Syracuse Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

September 11, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Like many Roman Catholic Dioceses worldwide, the Diocese of Syracuse was forced to confront the tragic, painful history of sexual abuse of minors by priests serving in its 114 parishes over many decades. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics living and attending church in the Diocese trusted priests to provide their children and teens spiritual guidance and a sound education, only to have that trust catastrophically betrayed through acts of sexual violence. If you or a loved one has been abused by a priest or clergy member in the past, you should contact the Diocese of Syracuse Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to discuss your situation and determine your eligibility to seek justice and compensation.

We Represent Victims of Priest Sexual Abuse

Many of the priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors within the Diocese of Syracuse are deceased. Those still alive no longer minister in the Diocese. Still, all the priests named by the Diocese as having been credibly accused of perpetrating abuse, living and dead, left behind survivors who carry the scars of sexual trauma. These survivors deserve justice and compensation for the harm inflicted on them by Diocese of Syracuse priests and the Church institutions who shelter and enabled them. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA represent survivors in pursuing that justice and compensation. If you suffered sexual abuse perpetrated by a priest or clergy member within the Diocese of Syracuse when you were a child or teenager, then no matter how long ago that abuse occurred, you may have rights under New York law to hold the Church accountable. To learn about those rights, contact a compassionate, knowledgeable sexual abuse injury attorney at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA as soon as possible for a free, confidential case consultation. Survivors of priest sexual abuse in Syracuse need lawyers who have the know-how, reputation, and financial resources to advocate for their interests against one of the most powerful and well-funded institutions in the world, the Catholic Church. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have the resources and knowledge to succeed in these cases. Based in Florida, our affiliated firms represent clients in complex sexual abuse matters. Our skilled, seasoned trial lawyers spend their careers seeking justice and compensation for people who have suffered harm because of someone else's wrongdoing. In recent years, we have committed a growing part of our law practice to representing survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and clergy. Clients come to us seeking legal advice and representation in connection with acts of abuse that, in some cases, took place decades ago We understand how difficult it is for survivors to step forward to tell their stories, and our team of compassionate, skilled litigators knows that the priority is always to listen to what our clients have to tell us about their histories and their motivations for coming to us. Survivors who hire Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA receive smart, straightforward legal guidance tailored to their individual needs and goals. Over our many combined years of law practice, we have secured tens of millions of dollars for our injured and grieving clients. Of course, we can never promise a client a favorable outcome in any kind of representation. What we can promise, however, is to prioritize our clients' interests over all others, and to work day-in, day-out to achieve the best possible outcome for each client's circumstances.

Time-Sensitive Legal Rights of Diocese of Syracuse Priest Abuse Survivors

Survivors of priest sexual abuse that happened within the Diocese of Syracuse have, for now, potentially valuable legal rights to hold their abusers and/or Church institutions accountable. A New York State law currently allows virtually all survivors of priest sexual abuse to take legal action for damages, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred, and even if they have been told in the past that they had run out of time to file a lawsuit. However, this right will soon expire. Many survivors with the Diocese of Syracuse may lose their legal rights if they do not take legal action by January 14, 2021. Survivors have these rights under a 2019 law that expanded the time limits for filing civil lawsuits seeking damages for childhood sexual abuse. Called the New York Child Victims Act (NYCVA), the law aims to fix a flaw in the state statute of limitations that often closed the doors to justice to survivors long before they were capable of telling their stories. Stepping forward to reveal a history of sexual abuse by a priest takes unfathomable courage. It can take survivors many years to come to terms with the abuse they have suffered, far longer in many cases than the previous time limit for suing for damages. To give survivors the time they need to come forward, the NYCVA:
  • Amended state law to give survivors until their 55th birthday to file a lawsuit related to sexual abuse they suffered as children or teenagers; and
  • Created a so-called “look-back” period that runs until January 14, 2021, during which survivors whose legal rights expired under the old statute of limitations can still file a lawsuit seeking damages from their abusers and/or Church institutions.
In other words, virtually all Dioceses of Syracuse priest sexual abuse survivors of any age, who suffered abuse as children or teens and have never before taken legal action seeking damages for their trauma, currently have the chance to hold their abuser and/or the Church accountable. After January 14, 2021, however, some of those survivors may lose that right. That is we are urging survivors of priest or clergy sexual abuse that occurred in the Diocese of Syracuse to contact our team as soon as possible. We offer a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation with a caring, knowledgeable legal professional, during which survivors can learn about their rights and potential legal options.

Individualized Legal Strategies for Survivors of Priest Sexual Abuse in Syracuse

The Church's horrific history of sexual abuse and cover-ups encompasses too many tragedies to count. One tragic consequence of those unspeakable actions that hits us particularly hard as lawyers for survivors is the fact that so many survivors suffered in silence for years, even decades, doubting that any lawyer or court could help them hold an institution as large, powerful, and respected as the Catholic Church accountable. Sadly, for too long, they were right. However, with the passage of laws like the NYCVA, the tide has begun to turn in favor of priest sexual abuse survivors. Law firms like Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can, and do, advocate on behalf of victims to secure meaningful victories against abusers and the Church entities who enabled and protected them. The specific actions lawyers take for their clients vary widely, depending upon each survivor's unique personal story. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we prioritize listening to our clients to understand their trauma and their motivation for seeking our help. Only after we develop that base of knowledge and empathy can we begin to craft and propose legal solutions that meet our clients' needs. The solutions we offer our clients often include:

Lawsuits for Financial Damages

In the U.S. legal system, filing a civil lawsuit for money damages is the most common way to seek justice for a personal injury, including for the harm inflicted by a priest's sexual abuse of a child or teen parishioner. Money does not fix everything. It certainly does not erase the past. What it can do, however, is give survivors a financial foundation for opening a new chapter of their lives, and it often serves in some small way as an acknowledgment from the Church of the trauma those survivors suffered under the Church's watch. As seasoned lawyers, the legal professionals at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can never promise a survivor—or any client, for that matter—that a lawsuit will yield favorable results. Every case is different and has its unique strengths and weaknesses that affect the probability and amount of a financial settlement or jury award. We do, however, guarantee to all our clients that they will receive compassionate, intelligent legal guidance, that they will always have the final say in when and how we tell their stories, and that we will not rest until we have done everything in our power to see justice done for them.

Lawsuits for Non-Financial Relief

Beyond seeking money, lawsuits also often have the potential to make lasting change. Some survivors come to our firms wanting to know what a lawsuit can accomplish beyond obtaining financial compensation for them. In many cases, our answer is: “a lot.” Courts have significant powers. Across the country, lawsuits involving claims of priest sexual abuse of minors have resulted in courts ordering Church institutions to take real, meaningful steps to prevent future occurrences of abuse. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we have the know-how and experience necessary to explore taking similar steps in a lawsuit on behalf of a Diocese of Syracuse survivor of priest sexual abuse. We encourage all survivors to talk to us candidly about any goals they have for legal action beyond seeking financial compensation.

Helping Prosecutors Do Criminal Justice

In Syracuse, the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office prosecutes most sexual abuse crimes. Catholic priests and clergy who sexually abuse children and teens are not immune from prosecution. They will often face criminal justice if the D.A. believes that he or she can prove a case against defendant priests beyond a reasonable doubt. In deciding whether to press charges against a sexual predator priest who committed abuse within the Syracuse Diocese, the Onondaga D.A. may seek the input from a survivor of that priest's actions. The D.A. may want to interview the survivor and may ask the survivor to testify against the priest at a trial. Some survivors want that opportunity. Others do not. As lawyers for survivors of priest sexual abuse, the legal professionals at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA hold the firm belief that survivors have the right to choose if, when, and how their stories of abuse get told. In that respect, our team supports survivor clients in whatever decisions they make about participating in the criminal prosecution of their abusers. We advise our clients about their legal rights, and we advocate for them with prosecutors and others to ensure that they retain their dignity, their privacy, and control over their own stories.

Clients Come First, Always

The lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA consider it a privilege to stand up in court and advocate on behalf of clients. When we became lawyers, we took an oath, promising that we would zealously represent our clients and their interests. We take that oath very seriously. It lies at the heart of our role as legal counselors to survivors of priest sexual abuse. Among the many duties that we owe to our clients, perhaps none is more significant for survivors than our duty of confidentiality. What our clients tell us in the context of our attorney-client relationship stays strictly confidential unless and until our client permits us to use that information in the course of taking legal action on the client's behalf. We know how difficult it is for Diocese of Syracuse priest sexual abuse survivors to tell anyone, much less a lawyer they have only recently met, about the trauma they suffered as children and teens. Our clients always have our solemn commitment to honor their courage by maintaining their confidence and by advocating for them in and out of court in the manner they choose.

Skilled Lawyers for Survivors of Syracuse Priest Sexual Abuse

For a short while longer, virtually all priest sexual abuse survivors within the Diocese of Syracuse have the legal right to hold their abusers and/or the Church accountable in New York courts. However, victims must act soon to protect those rights. If you suffered sexual abuse by a Diocese of Syracuse priest or clergy member, and you want to know how a compassionate, experienced lawyer can help you seek justice, accountability, and compensation, then act now. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online or toll-free at 833-552-7274 for a free, 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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