Attorney for Sexual Abuse Victims in the Diocese of Brooklyn
The Diocese of Brooklyn – and the Catholic Church throughout the United States – has seen multiple accusations of sexual assault and sexual abuse. M of these alleged events took place decades ago with victims who are now adults. If you or a loved one was abused at the hands of a priest, clergyman, or one of the lay clergy at a church in the Diocese of Brooklyn, the sexual abuse victim attorneys at Sullivan and Galleshaw may be able to help you seek justice for the harm you suffered.
Victims are empowered to file lawsuits against the individuals that abused them as well as the organizations that contributed to their harm. For a free, confidential legal consultation and help understanding how you can file your case and get financial compensation for your abuse, contact Sullivan and Galleshaw today. Our attorneys for sexual abuse in the Diocese of Brooklyn are available to take your call. Our number is (718) 843-0300.
Suing for Sex Abuse in the Church under New York Law
Many places in the country have strict deadlines to file sexual abuse cases. These laws hurt victims because they fail to give them the time to deal with their trauma and work up the courage to bring their abusers to light. It is only in recent years that many of these victims have come forward, inspiring leaders and legislators to extend filing deadlines and give victims more time to file their claims.
Under the Child Victims Act, newly signed in 2019, victims of sexual abuse in New York have until their 55th birthday to file a lawsuit against their abusers. This extends the deadline not only for lawsuits against the individual, but also against institutions that allowed the abuse to happen through negligent security or negligent hiring, or whose attempts to hide the abuse put others at risk.
These lawsuits are civil claims against the individuals and the churches, not criminal charges. This means that the results of the case include civil damages and compensation for the victim rather than jail time for the abuser. In many cases where the abuse occurred decades ago, the abuser may no longer be eligible for criminal charges, and the Church itself cannot be put in jail. However, a civil lawsuit can have real, tangible benefits for a victim who can walk away from the case with substantial compensation for the harm they suffered.
In many cases, these abuse claims will settle, allowing the victim to get the compensation they deserve without having to testify about their abuse in open court. This is also a bonus to the victim, who may feel re-traumatized if they have to talk about the details of their claim in a criminal case.
What Qualifies as “Sexual Abuse” for a Lawsuit Against the Church?
Victims of sexual abuse often wonder if what happened to them is “bad enough” to bring to light. This is often the result of grooming or minimizing on the part of abusers, who may seek to protect themselves from being caught by convincing the victim that what happened is perfectly normal or is a secret they should never share. This kind of thinking prevents many victims from coming forward and makes many of them doubt whether the abuse they suffered qualifies as “abuse.”
Victims in New York can sue for many types and degrees of abuse. There are many different causes of action that justify lawsuits for a variety of conduct, and there is no one definition that your case must meet to give you the power to take your abuser to court. Whether you suffered unwanted touching, sexual touching, rape, or coerced sex acts of any kind, or a pattern of grooming and repeat abuse, you can sue your abuser. As a minor, you could not legally consent, and anything that happened to you is likely severe enough that you can take your abuser to court and seek justice.
Your attorney can guide you through the legal definitions and guide you on how to progress your case and what definitions and claims should be used.
Damages for Sexual Abuse in Brooklyn
If you were sexually abused recently or as a minor, there are inevitable harms you faced in your life. While some cases require medical care and treatment, many damages that you face relate to the psychological trauma you endured.
Victims of sexual abuse can sue for the emotional distress and mental anguish they faced, as well as the therapy and psychological treatment related to the harm they faced. Mental health issues often result from past trauma, such as sexual abuse. This could result in PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other disorders that may have kept you in therapy and treatment for a long time, especially if the trauma occurred far in your past. In addition to damages for this care, you can also seek damages for the anguish, isolation, and fear you faced from the abuse, even though these effects may not be visible or proven through therapy bills or financial records.
Talk to a lawyer about what your case might be worth for more details.
Call Our Brooklyn Attorneys for Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Church
If you or a loved one was the victim of abuse in the Catholic Church in Brooklyn, call our attorneys for sexual abuse victims in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Our lawyers work to get victims of sexual abuse the compensation they deserve for the harm they faced in their past, and we will work tirelessly to hold abusers accountable and get our clients justice. For a free legal consultation on your case, call Sullivan and Galleshaw at (718) 843-0300.