Were You Abused?

Call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 for a Free, Confidential Consultation.  No Legal Fees Unless You Receive Settlement. 

New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer - New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Settlements NY

If you were sexually abused as a child by a priest, deacon or any other member of the Catholic Church, you are not aloneWe are here to help you.  Please fill out our confidential online contact form or call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 and a New York Sexual Abuse Lawyer will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your possible case.   Help is available nationwide.  There is no cost to investigate and there are no legal fees unless you receive financial compensation.  Making the call is sometimes the hardest step, but it is often a necessary step on the road to healing.  Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer NY

Reasons to call

  • Hold the church and priests accountable
  • Prevent this from happening to someone else
  • Help with the road to recovery – settlement money can provide financial security for you.  It can also help pay for therapy, rehabilitation, and medical treatment

Please call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 or fill out our confidential contact form and a lawyer will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your case.  New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer

  • Mount Pleasant
  • Cicero
  • Carmel
  • Bethlehem
  • De Witt
  • Saugerties
  • Port Chester
  • East Greenbush
  • Montgomery
  • Fishkill
  • Huntington
  • Peekskill
  • Ossining
  • Geddes
  • Cohoes
  • Lysander
  • Vestal
  • Ossining village
  • East Hampton
  • Binghamton
  • New Rochelle
  • Poughkeepsie town
  • Glenville
  • Wallkill
  • Scarsdale
  • Stony Point
  • New York
  • Watertown
  • Pittsford
  • Utica
  • Greenburgh
  • Haverstraw
  • Le Ray
  • Amsterdam
  • Eastchester
  • Syracuse
  • Mount Vernon
  • Wappinger
  • Clarkstown
  • Guilderland
  • Blooming Grove
  • Mamaroneck
  • Newburgh
  • Clay
  • Perinton
  • Elmira
  • Onondaga
  • New Windsor
  • Hempstead village
  • Lynbrook

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer New York

N.Y. Archdiocese Vows To Cooperate With Church Sex Abuse Investigations

For some Catholic dioceses, years of secrecy and concealment of clergy sexual abuse may be coming to an end. Many have voluntarily released lists of clergy credibly accused of molesting children, or even initiated independent investigations into their records. More commonly, diocesan leaders have agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in investigations into their records. A flurry of such probes were launched in late 2018, inspired by the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing the rape and molestation of over 1000 victims.

New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer

The report made use of internal documents to show just how many such cases had been known about but concealed by church officials. It opened the eyes of law enforcement for the need to conduct such investigations in their own areas.

In New York, the attorney general’s office issued subpoenas to all 8 dioceses in the state asking for documents, including information about victim payoffs and findings for internal investigations. This means that even victims who were paid to remain silent now have a chance to attain justice. Law enforcement has also set up a tip line for sex abuse survivors to come forward.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer New York

Attorney General Barbara Underwood stated that “"The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover ups in the dioceses…Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well—and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve."

A spokesperson for the archdiocese said they would cooperate fully, both with the civil investigation and with any criminal investigations that result from it.  CBS News reported that “Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger proactively asked Albany County District Attorney David Soares to review his diocese's records on Thursday, before the subpoena from Underwood was received.” Scharfenberger stated that “Survivors need to know that we are truly here to accompany them. Inaction has had devastating consequences, as we have witnessed recently. We have to do what is right, even if it is not easy.”

New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer

A similar announcement was made in neighboring New Jersey, following announcements of investigations in Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri.  New York state has the second-largest Catholic population in the country, and the results of the probe could be explosive. In Pennsylvania, the investigation covered 70 years; in New York, an offender can only be criminally charged within five years of the offense, meaning it is likely many sex crimes will come to light that cannot be prosecuted. And most victims cannot sue after they turn 23. Unless New York’s laws are changed, for many victims, seeing their abuser exposed will be the only form of justice they receive.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer New York

New York Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse

Every state has its own statute of limitations that govern the time frame that sexual abuse victims can come forward to prosecute their abusers, and New York historically has some of the strictest laws in the country. As of 2018, if a child is sexually abused, they only have five years from the date they turn 18 to pursue justice. These restrictions apply to both criminal prosecution and the filing of a civil law suit, and abused children have to begin the process by 23 years of age.  There are efforts currently to change the statute of limitations, which is why it is important to consult with an attorney to determine what the exact time limits on your case are.

Unfortunately, these strict laws do more to protect the abusers than the victims. Research and statistics nationwide have shown that sexually abused children generally do not disclose the abuse until well into adulthood. In fact, a 2010 study showed that between 60-80% of adults who were sexually abused in their childhood did not disclose the crime until they were adults. Even more alarmingly, data also shows that only 10-18% of child sexual abuse survivors recall the authorities being informed of the abuse that occurred.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer NYC

Efforts to Change the New York Statute of Limitations

There are several reasons that sexual abuse victims wait until well into adulthood before disclosing that the abuse occurred, and fear, guilt, blame, and financial dependence on their abusers all can play a role. With New York law limiting these victims to pursuing criminal and civil suits to before their 23rd birthday, it fails to provide justice to victims who are not yet ready to come forward due to circumstances out of their control.

In an effort to change outdated laws governing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, several states have introduced, or passed, legislation to support victims. Known as the Child Victims Act, this law was also introduced twice to the New York government in an attempt to dramatically extend the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse. Unfortunately, the bill failed in the Senate in both 2008 and 2017 - leaving adult victims with no recourse to find justice against their abusers.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer NY

The Child Victims Act of New York failed for many reasons, most significantly due to the public and legal outcry of the Catholic Church and groups such as Boy Scouts of America. This law would have created a one-year window in which child sexual abuse victims could file a suit regardless of the time that had passed since the crime. The organizations that opposed this bill feared the intense scrutiny and financial burden that would be placed on them by decades of covered-up sexual abuse of children, and this outcry eventually contributed to the failing of the legislation. 

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer NY

The Downside of Compensation through the IRCP

After the second failure of the Child Victims Act in the New York Senate, two Roman Catholic Dioceses within the state implemented the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP). This came after the Church’s strong opposition to the passing of the Child Victims Act, which would have allowed survivors of sexual abuse to file claims against their abuser during a one-year window, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place. The Church vehemently opposed this legislation, drawing criticism from many victims, advocacy groups, and government representatives.

In response to the failure of the bill, the archbishop of New York led the way in establishing the IRCP.  Both the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre have implemented this program in 2017. Under the IRCP, victims that have previously filed a claim with the individual diocese regarding sexual abuse will be able to seek compensation, and there will be a “phase two” window where new claims can be reviewed and submitted.
While the Church has presented this program as being an act of accountability and mercy towards victims of sexual abuse within the religious organization, there has been significant criticism of the program. There are two major downfalls identified for victims going through this program for a settlement, including: 

NY Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer

• Waiving of Rights: If a victim receives financial compensation through the IRCP, they will be required to sign a waiver of their right to further legal action. This means that even if legislation passes in the future, such as the Child Victims Act, they will have no recourse to seek any further damages or prosecution against their abusers.

• Limitations in Claims: The IRCP will only consider claims of sexual abuse against archdiocesan priests or deacons—not other priests or members of religious orders within the archdiocese. This eliminates many individuals that may be identified as abusers by past victims, and severely limits the number of survivors that can be helped with the program.
Those that have come forward in criticizing the implementation of the IRCP claim that this program is designed as a strategic approach to avoid future litigation for the Church, not as a way to assist victims of sexual abuse within the organization.

In fact, many victims that are eligible for compensation are denying their right to a settlement with the IRCP due to the fact that they have to sign away their right to future legal action. While the positive impact that the IRCP could make for victims remains to be seen, it is evident that state-wide reform of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse is still necessary to provide justice to survivors. 

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Attorney NY

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Education

The statistics surrounding child sexual abuse in the United States are alarming, and with an estimated 25% of girls and 16% of boys across the country experiencing this type of abuse, public awareness is essential. In the majority of instances, sexual abuse of children goes unreported. This is due to many factors, but lack of understanding, low awareness of signs, and limited knowledge of available resources for reporting abuse all play a role in children being unprotected from continued sexual abuse.

In an effort to provide outreach and education to the public, there are several organizations across the country and in the state of New York that have made it their mission to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of child sexual abuse, including the following New York organizations:

• Prevent Child Abuse New York
• Adirondack Health Institute
• Lauren’s Kids
• The New York Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

These programs, along with many others, reach out to a broad spectrum of the general population and professionals, including school children, educators, law enforcement, mental health professions, and child protection agencies.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyers New York

Types of Programs for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
Child sexual abuse often goes undetected, whether that is due to the parents being a perpetrator or due to the intense control that a perpetrator has over preventing the victim from disclosing the abuse. Education into the signs, risk factors, and “grooming” process of sexual abuse can go a long way in helping the public reduce the likelihood of a child being victimized.

Common public educational programs focusing on child sexual abuse prevention in the state of New York include:

• Community & Parent Education: In these programs, professionals provide parents, caregivers, and the general public with information regarding statistics on child sexual abuse and how to identify, react to, and report abuse that has occurred.

• Elementary-Age Education: Children in grades K-6 are mandated by the New York State Education Department to receive child abuse prevention education. This age-appropriate program is designed to teach children body autonomy, the difference between good and bad secrets, and how to tell someone if they have been abused.

• High School Education: Adolescents are at a high risk of experiencing sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual abuse, and education is essential for this age group. These programs create an understanding of empathy for victims, teach recognition of harassment or abuse, and offer tools for reporting sexual violence.

Child sexual abuse prevention education is not just limited to school-age children, and programs exist that are specialized to unique organizations, college campuses, and professionals. Through continuing education, these organizations hope to develop a change in the societal awareness of child sexual abuse.    

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Settlements New York

Sentencing of Child Sex Offenders in New York

Sexual crimes of any nature are taken very seriously within the justice system. Although the laws governing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in New York may be strict, those who are charged and convicted of the crime face stiff penalties that have life-long effects.

Depending on the specific crime committed and charges filed by the prosecutor, offenders have varying levels of severity with their sentencing. All charges will fall under a specific category of New York law that each has its own set of sentencing requirements.

Misdemeanor Sexual Offenses

A misdemeanor conviction is less serious than a felony conviction, but there are still serious consequences to being found guilty of these crimes. New York law breaks down misdemeanor sexual crimes and sexual abuse against children into four different charges, including: 

• Sexual Misconduct
• Forcible Touching
• Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree
• Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree

The sentencings for misdemeanor sexual crimes all have a maximum of three months to one year in jail. In some cases, offenders can be released due to good conduct once they have served one-third of their sentence.

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuit NY

Felony Sexual Offenses

There are five separate categories that felony sexual offences (including sexual abuse of children) can fall under, and these crimes carry much harsher sentences than a misdemeanor conviction. Felony categories and their sentencing under New York law include: 

• Class E Felony: Minimum of two years in prison with a maximum of four years.

• Class D Felony: Lowest felony classified as a violent felony offense—minimum three years in prison with maximum of seven years.

• Class C Felony: The only class C sexual felony offense is aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree. This carries a minimum of 3.5 years in prison with a maximum of 15 years.

• Class B Felony: Mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison with a maximum sentence of 25 years.

• Class A-II Felony: Predatory sexual assault against a child falls into this category.

Offenders face a minimum sentence of 10 to 25 years, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

In addition to the jail or prison time sentenced in a sexual offense against a child, the perpetrator may also be order to probation, psychological and/or drug testing, following a curfew, and other stipulations for their release. Sexual offenders must also register with the New York Sex Offender Registry and inform law enforcement regularly of their location and other pertinent identifying information. 

New York Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer New York - Free Confidential Consultation - 1-866-777-2557

Priest Sex Abuse Lawyer 

Call Today: 1-866-777-2557