Sex Abuse Cases

If you or a family member are the victim of sexual abuse, you may have still time to bring a lawsuit.

Even if your time to bring a lawsuit has expired, Pennsylvania may soon pass legislation creating a “civil window” to the statute of limitations extending your time to file a lawsuit as the victim of childhood sexual abuse.

Please email or call 855-770-0902 for a complete, no cost, evaluation of your case.

You pay nothing unless you recover. All cases taken solely on a contingency fee basis.

Rosary beads

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Attorney General initiated the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the purpose of investigating decades of allegations involving child sexual abuse perpetrated within the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. The Investigating Grand Jury spent two years documenting the allegations of sexual abuse and the subsequent reactions of numerous dioceses across the state.

Upon the conclusion of its investigation, the Grand Jury composed a comprehensive report spanning more than 800 pages. A redacted version of the report was ultimately released to the public in August of 2018 and can be seen here. The stunning report named over 300 Catholic priests who had committed sexual abuse while serving in Pennsylvania, as well as exposing numerous senior church officials who actively concealed credible allegations. These concealment efforts often included transferring accused priests to other parishes without warning parishioners.

As a result of the prolonged cover-up orchestrated by church officials, the current statute of limitations in Pennsylvania prevents most abuse victims from obtaining justice in either criminal or civil courts of law. The statute of limitations is defined as the “[t]ime frame set by legislation where affected parties need to take action to enforce rights or seek redress after injury or damage.”1 In practice, the statute of limitations defines a period of time during which a law suit or criminal case can legally be pursued.

For sexual abuse victims whose abuse took place before 2002, the statute of limitations provides only two years to file a civil suit. For a victim whose abuse occurred after 2002, the law provides the right to sue until they are 30 years old. The claims of almost all victims of the sexual abuse detailed in the Grand Jury Report are governed by the two-year statute of limitations. Therefore, at this time many victims are foreclosed from pursuing any legal recourse against their abusers.

Four priests

The Grand Jury Report also set forth recommendations for legal reform which would give all victims of childhood sexual abuse a better chance to attain justice in Pennsylvania. The recommendations included the abolishment of a criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse charges, and the creation of a “civil window” to allow victims of sexual abuse to bring civil claims that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.

Following the Grand Jury’s recommendations, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives amended House Bill 612 to include a two-year window to allow civil suits by victims whose claims were previously precluded by the statute of limitations. Notably, the legislation seeks to allow victims to hold organizations, such as the Catholic Church, civilly responsible in addition to the individual abusers. Many supporters of the bill cite the vast efforts by powerful organizations to silence sexual abuse allegations as a driving reason to allow victims to now pursue lawsuits through a “civil window.”

In September of 2018, the amendment to House Bill 612 passed with overwhelming support in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and can be viewed here. However, progress was halted when the Pennsylvania State Senate chose not to vote on the bill. It stopped there. As a result, many victims are unable to pursue financial compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured.

If you or a family member have been the victim of sexual abuse, please email or call 855.770.0902 for a full, no cost, evaluation of your case.

You pay nothing unless you recover. All cases taken solely on a contingency fee basis.

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