Where Can I Find the Best Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyers in NYC?

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Best Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyers in NYC

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Like many cities in the United States, New York City has experienced a substantial increase in the number of clergy sex abuse cases. Clergy in positions of power can, unfortunately, leverage their authority in ways that damage children mentally, physically, and emotionally—for as long as the rest of their lives. In response to the explosion in the number of clergy abuse cases in the State of New York, lawmakers passed the Child Victims Act (CVA) of 2019. The groundbreaking law significantly expanded the rights of the victims of child abuse, including the survivors of clergy sex abuse. The New York dioceses have paid millions of dollars in settlements, and many dioceses operating in the state have declared bankruptcy.

Enacting the CVA gives the victims of clergy child abuse more time to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, among other forms of justice. The CVA opened a one-year, look-back window, which allowed victims of clergy sex abuse to file civil lawsuits regardless if the statute of limitations had expired for their cases. As of August 2021, plaintiffs have filed more than 9,000 civil lawsuits against the New York dioceses. The look-back window closed on August 14, 2021, which means the survivors of clergy sex abuse must follow the deadlines imposed by the State of New York.

If you survived the horror of clergy sex abuse, you should speak with one of the best NYC clergy sex abuse lawyers. At Morgan & Morgan, we have helped victims of clergy sex abuse receive the compensation they deserve for suffering from years of torment at the hands of someone in a position of authority. We understand the devastating mental, physical, and emotional toll sex abuse of any kind takes, but especially when it is caused by a member of the clergy. Recent settlements indicate that judges and juries take a very dim view of a member of the clergy taking advantage of a vulnerable victim.

Schedule a free case evaluation to determine how to proceed with your clergy sex abuse case.
 

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  • How Much Has the New York Dioceses Paid Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse?

    Working with one of the best NYC clergy sex abuse lawyers helps you build a strong enough case to win a legal judgment. Recent court decisions have gone in the favor of plaintiffs, as the New York dioceses has paid more than $9 million to settle the sex abuse claims of nearly 100 victims. In 2018, the Brooklyn dioceses agreed to a settlement worth $27.5 million in which four survivors received $7 million each for enduring clergy sex abuse.

    With the rash of civil lawsuits bankrupting many dioceses in the State of New York, the Catholic dioceses of New York has established a fund used to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse. In two years, the fund has settled more than 1,200 claims of sex abuse cases, with payments exceeding $228 million awarded to the victims. Although the fund no longer processes claims, you have the legal right to pursue legal action against a member of the clergy by filing an individual civil lawsuit against the dioceses where the member of the clergy belongs.

  • What Does Clergy Sex Abuse Mean?

    The title clergy covers any member of the Catholic Church that performs religious ceremonies, as well as provides instruction for a congregation. This covers positions of religious power such as nuns, priests, bishops, and monsignors. The most common types of sex abuse committed by members of the clergy include fondling, exposure, intercourse, and making obscene statements. Although a majority of civil lawsuits end in a settlement, this does not mean a clergy sex abuse case has reached its conclusion. When you sit down with one of our NYC clergy sex abuse lawyers for a free case evaluation, one of the most important decisions to make involves whether to file criminal charges against a member of the clergy.

    Although the Catholic Church has received most of the highly negative publicity surrounding clergy sex abuse cases, other denominations also have received scrutiny for sexual misconduct cases. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention released a report in 2019 related to the allegations made by children of rampant sexual misconduct. The three largest insurance companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in the United States released a report in 2018 describing how the companies receive more than 260 notices each year of sex abuse committed by an adult member of a church.

  • What Are the Negative Health Consequences of Clergy Sex Abuse?

    To receive an award for monetary damages, the attorney representing you from Morgan & Morgan must prove the acts of sexual abuse that you endured caused you harm. The physical pain that is the result of sex abuse of any kind includes genital injuries and sexually transmitted diseases. Physical harm typically produces medical evidence such as the result of diagnostic tests. You also have to account for the cost of treatments and physical therapy sessions.

    Mental and emotional pain is more difficult to quantify mostly because many victims refuse to seek treatment for non-physical injuries. However, the mental and emotional scars left behind by clergy sex abuse can last a lifetime. Fear, anxiety, and shame can morph into life-threatening mental health conditions such as depression and thoughts of suicide. Many victims of sex abuse suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which requires an aggressive and long-term approach to alleviate the dangerous symptoms. If you survived clergy sex abuse, you must discuss the mental and emotional symptoms that have developed.

  • How Do I Get Justice for Being a Victim of Clergy Sex Abuse?

    The primary goal of the team of NYC clergy sex abuse lawyers you work with from Morgan & Morgan is to get you the compensation that you deserve for enduring months, if not years of sexual misconduct. However, you also have two other options that can help you gain some form of closure for your immense pain and suffering.

    Seek Monetary Damages

    You deserve compensation for all the physical injuries that you suffered, as well as for the pain and suffering from being a victim of clergy sex abuse.

    Economic damages cover the costs associated with diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and rehabilitation sessions. You also have the right to request compensation to recover prescription medication expenses. Non-economic damages cover the cost associated with mental and emotional distress. Your attorney calculates a value for non-economic damages by using a formula that includes the value of economic damages.

    Judges and juries often award punitive damages because clergy sex abuse is considered an especially nefarious act. Punitive damages can run into millions of dollars as evident by the recent payouts from the New York dioceses victims compensation fund. Judges and juries also award punitive damages to deter members of the clergy from committing future acts of sex abuse.

    Testify During a Criminal Trial

    Filing criminal charges in addition to a civil lawsuit can prevent a member of the clergy from remaining a part of the church. Providing testimony during a criminal trial represents a vital piece of evidence that can persuade a jury to find a member of the clergy guilty of committing one or more acts of sexual abuse. Before you take the stand to testify, one of the NYC clergy sex abuse lawyers from Morgan & Morgan prepares you to handle the intense pressure, as well as communicates the type of questions you can expect to answer while under oath.

    Obtain Injunctive Relief

    Although part of the reason to award punitive damages is to prevent future acts of clergy sex abuse, obtaining injunctive relief can have the same effect on the defendant. You can ask the judge or jury hearing your case to force the Catholic Church to implement enhanced screening methods that include exhaustive background checks. For many cases of clergy sex abuse, members of the clergy get kicked out of one diocese only to join another. You also can ask a judge or jury to require a diocese to conduct frequent training sessions that educate members of the clergy about the differences between appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

  • What Is the New York Statute of Limitations?

    The deadline for filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for most types of cases ranges between one and six years, depending on the state where you live. Because of the seriousness of a clergy sex abuse case, the State of New York gives victims until the age of 23 to file a civil lawsuit. For a criminal case, you have until you reach 53 years old to file charges.

    Despite the lengthy amount of time to take legal action for a clergy sex abuse case, you should act with a sense of urgency and file a civil lawsuit and criminal charges as quickly as possible after the incidents that caused you harm. You want to take legal action quickly to ensure your attorney receives the most accurate account of what happened from you, as well as any witnesses to the acts of clergy sex abuse. Another reason to take swift legal action involves compensation. Getting treated for physical injuries, as well as mental and emotional issues, can rapidly increase your medical expenses. You also want to receive mental and emotional support as soon as you can to prevent the development of long-term negative symptoms.

  • What Should I Look for in NYC Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyers?

    The first criterion in your search for one of the best NYC clergy sex abuse lawyers is to find an attorney who is licensed to practice law in New York. Experience handling clergy sex abuse cases is another important criterion. Litigating a civil lawsuit against any church requires a balance between aggressively pursuing the truth and subtly getting information out of witnesses that take the stand to testify.

    You have to be comfortable discussing the traumatic events that have harmed you. Not every lawyer is mentally equipped to listen to the stories of horror as told by the victims of clergy sex abuse. The litigator you hire should provide you with professional recommendations concerning the mental and emotional support you need to move forward with your life. You can win a substantial legal judgment, but still feel like you lost your case because of the constant pain caused by mental and emotional distress.

  • Let Morgan & Morgan Fight for You

    The Catholic Church, or any church for that matter, answers the filing of a civil lawsuit with a war chest of money that overwhelms plaintiffs that do not have the proper legal representation. If you survived clergy sex abuse, you need to partner with a team of attorneys that combine the rare traits of empathy and compassion, with superior litigation skills. For more than three decades, Morgan & Morgan has recovered nearly $14 billion in compensation for our clients.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today to discover how we can help you fight back against clergy sex abuse.

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