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US Bishops: Reports of Sexual Abuse by Priests Tripled in 2019

US Bishops: Reports of Sexual Abuse by Priests Tripled in 2019

As the Roman Catholic Church struggles to improve its public image in the wake of the ongoing scandals involving sexual abuse by priests, a report released by the US Council of Bishops suggests that the Church’s problems are far from over.

According to a story published by Associated Press, the Council of Bishops’ report states that there were 4,434 new sexual abuse allegations against clergy in the 2019, three the number reported in 2018. The Council also reported that, during the past year, the Church and its dioceses had paid $281.6 million to settle sexual abuse claims and related administrative expenses. Other highlights of the report include:

  • New sexual abuse allegations were made against 2,982 priests or church personnel. 1,034 of these allegations were substantiated, with the remainder either still under investigation or deemed to be unproved.

  • Of the new sexual abuse allegations, only 37 were made by people who were minors in 2019. Of those, 8 were substantiated, with the other 29 either remaining under investigation or deemed unproven.

  • In 2019, the Church commissioned more than 2.6 million background checks on its clergy, employees and volunteers.

  • More than 2.6 million adults and 3.6 million youths were trained to identify warning signs of sexual abuse.

Although the Roman Catholic Church is working to prevent sexual abuse by members of its ordained clergy, these efforts come too late to protect the thousands of victims of clergy sexual abuse who have suffered in silence for decades. Although it may be too late to prosecute many of these sexually-abusive priests as the criminals they are, the law does allow victims of sexual abuse to seek justice by filing a civil lawsuit against their abuser and the abuser’s employer, the diocese where the priest was assigned.

Unlike a criminal case, where charges must be filed within 3 to 5 years of the date the crime occurred, the statutes of limitations in most states provide that a victim can file a sexual abuse personal injury lawsuit many years after their abuse occurred. In fact, some states have completely lifted their statutes of limitations if the victim was a child when the abuse occurred and allow such lawsuits to be filed at any point in the victim’s lifetime!

If you were a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, or by a member of the Protestant clergy, we invite you to contact the clergy sexual abuse Lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a confidential, no cost and no obligation review of your clergy sexual abuse case and a review of the legal options that may be available to you.

When you contact The Doan Law Firm, there is never a charge for us to review the facts in your case or to speak with our clergy sexual abuse to discuss the legal avenues that may be open to you. Should you decide that a lawsuit is in your best interests, and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full financial responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.

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