Am I a victim of clergy sexual abuse?
You may be a victim of clergy sexual abuse if a priest or employee of a church or religious organization engaged in offensive or unwanted sexual contact with you. Victims of clergy sexual abuse are not always children, but may be adults as well.
Can I sue someone for clergy sexual abuse?
Yes. While clergy sexual abuse is a crime that may result in the criminal prosecution of a clergy member, a victim of clergy sexual abuse also may seek monetary compensation in civil court.
Could a Church or religious organization that employs or contracts with the clergy member also be held liable for sexual abuse?
Yes. A victim of clergy sexual abuse may be entitled to monetary compensation from a Church or religious organization if the entity knew or should have known of the propensity for their clergy member to engage in inappropriate and/or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. Additionally, even if a Church or religious organization was unaware of the propensity for their clergy member to commit sexual abuse, such religious entities can still be held legally responsible if they ratified the sexual abuse of their clergy member after the fact. For example, evidence of ratification is typically seen when a Church or religious organization continues to pay or employ a clergy member after receiving information that could in any way substantiate allegations of sexual abuse against the clergy member. In addition to having to pay monetary compensation to the victim of clergy sexual abuse in such cases, a Church or religious organization may also be required to pay a substantial monetary penalty to the victim as a means to deter this type of conduct in the future.
What kind of damages could I recover from a clergy sexual abuse case?
Clergy Sexual Abuse cases may result in monetary damages to you that include: compensation for emotional distress, past and future medical expenses including psychological treatment, past and future lost earnings and lost earning capacity, as well as punitive damages (ie. a monetary penalty to deter such conduct from taking place in the future).
How can I protect my Privacy throughout this process?
In order to maintain the privacy of a victim of clergy sexual abuse, the victim is typically identified as “Jane Doe” or “John Doe” in order to keep the victim’s legal name confidential throughout the process. Other measures to protect the privacy of the victim include all parties entering into a protective order so that any information relating to the victim’s claims of sexual abuse is kept confidential and not disseminated to the public.
Who should I contact?
Sandra Ribera Speed, Esq.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 576-1600.
All information will remain confidential.