In the one year period ending on June 30, 2013, there were 936 reports of sexual abuse involving 857 people in 191 Catholic dioceses. At Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A., our Phoenix clergy sexual abuse attorneys can help you and your family on your healing journey if someone you love has been the victim of this kind of sexual abuse.
Accountability for Religious Organizations
All sexual abuse must be stopped. When priests and religious leaders engage in rape and sexual abuse, they, and any religious organizations that permit abuse to happen, need to be held fully accountable to the maximum extent possible.
While the Catholic Church may have had an overwhelming share of the rape and sexual abuse stories over the past several decades, it is not the only religious organization in which rape and sexual abuse occurs. The unfortunate fact is that sexual abusers can become leaders in any organization.
Statute of Limitations in Arizona for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors
There is an important statute – called the statute of limitations – which governs the deadlines for filing civil suits. In the past, cases of abuse by priests or others had to be brought within two years of the date that the abuse happened, or within two years after a victim became aware of the abuse (such as in the case of a repressed memory).
On May 27, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey signed H.B. 2466, which changed the statute of limitations for child sex abuse survivors. H.B. 2466 allows adults who were sexually abused as minors to bring a civil lawsuit against their abusers and possibly the organizations that contributed or hid the abuse. Highlights of the bill include:
- From now until December 30, 2020, adults of any age who were injured as minors by sexual conduct or contact have a window to bring suits against the perpetrator who had sexual contact. Survivors can also bring claims against a person who had a mandatory duty to report the abuse but did not do so.
- After December 30, 2020, the statute of limitations is extended from 2 years to 12 years. This shift allows survivors of child abuse to pursue justice up to age 30.
Clergy and Religious Abuse in the News
Sadly, allegations of priest abuse continue, notwithstanding the tremendous publicity that priest abuse has received. Abuse by Catholic priests and other religious leaders has been staggering. A recent investigation found that there were over 11,000 allegations of abuse against approximately 4,450 different Catholic priests between 1950 and 2002. In a report by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2014, the Catholic Church spent over $2.7 billion for abuse claims in the preceding 11 years, or an average of more than $245 million per year during that period.
The Catholic Church sexual abuse tragedy is horrific for many reasons. First, for the innocent young victims of brutal sexual assault and rape. Second, for the lack of responsibility taken by the church. In many cases, it was determined that the church knew about the abuse allegations, but instead of removing the abusing priests, they moved priests to a new parish where they could again sexually abuse minors.
Understanding the Minds of Child Molesters
It is difficult to understand why anyone would ever become a child molester. What is clear is that child molesters and predators, and they often use positions of authority over the children who trust them. In cases of sexual abuse by religious leaders, a heightened element of trust is involved, as these leaders are often seen to be directly representing God, and thus can do no wrong.
Compounding this trust, victims were usually too young to know about the right and wrong aspects of sexual relations, and may have even believed that they did something wrong.
Contact Our Phoenix Religious Abuse Lawyers Today
If you or a family member has been the victim of sexual abuse by a priest or other religious leader, call us immediately. Our clergy abuse lawyers in Phoenix offer a no-risk, free consultation so that you can learn about the options available for seeking compensation from all those responsible. In the case of priests and other religious leaders, this can often include the church or religious organization.
We accept cases of priest and religious leader sexual abuse cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we are only entitled to a fee if we are successful in obtaining compensation for our client.