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Can I File a Sexual Abuse Claim Without Telling My Family?

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Archive: Jun 2019

Can I File a Sexual Abuse Claim Without Telling My Family?

Survivors of sexual crimes have different needs for privacy. Some survivors want the counsel and support of their families, while others may not want their families informed or involved. At DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Santa Ana, we provide compassionate, experienced representation and work with our clients to protect their privacy. Contact us today if you are a survivor of sexual abuse or assault and are interested in filing a personal injury claim.

Are You Entitled to Privacy as a Survivor of Sexual Abuse or Assault?

If you are a survivor of sexual assault or abuse, you have some rights to privacy. If you are eligible to file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program, your information will be used and disclosed only for purposes of the program and destroyed one year after the program is concluded, except as prohibited by law.

This program is for people who were abused as minors by a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles or in the Dioceses of Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Fresno, or Sacramento. If you file a civil lawsuit for damages against the perpetrator of a sex crime, the court may allow you to use “John Doe,” “Jane Doe,” or another pseudonym in your claim to protect your identity and privacy.

How Common Is Sexual Abuse or Assault?

If you have experienced sexual assault or abuse, you are not alone. As reported by RAINN:

  • Child protective services agencies found strong evidence to indicate or substantiated that 57,329 children in the U.S. were survivors of sexual abuse in a single recent year.
  • 66% of all survivors under the age of 18 are ages 12 to 17.
  • One in nine girls and one in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault perpetrated by an adult.
  • Among child sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement, 93% of the perpetrators are known by the survivor.

How To Tell Your Family You Are a Survivor of Sexual Assault or Abuse

If you are a sex crime survivor and choose to share with your family, the following guidelines can help:

  • Tell your family right away: The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to collect evidence. In the case of rape, your family can take you to the hospital immediately to be checked out by a doctor and have a rape kit done. It is important to go to the hospital and speak to the police as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the less likely it is that the perpetrator will be held accountable.
  • Tell them anyway if it has been days, weeks, months, or years since the incident occurred: You are a survivor, not a victim. Telling your family lets them in and allows them to help you.
  • Go over the story in your mind: Write down what you experienced as best you can, even if you can only recall minor details and fragments of the incident. No detail is unimportant, and the more you can remember, the better.
  • Tell your family altogether if possible: This eliminates the need to tell the traumatic story more than once.
  • If you don’t feel that you can tell your family, tell someone. Keeping sexual assault to yourself and trying to deal with it on your own can have lasting psychological effects.

Get In Touch with Our Firm

At DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Santa Ana, we are known for the results we obtain and the high level of service we provide to our clients. Call our Orange County personal injury attorneys as soon as possible if you are a survivor of sexual abuse or assault and are interested in filing a personal injury claim.

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If I File a Sex Abuse Claim, Will My Name Be Public or Kept Private?

In addition to criminal prosecution, perpetrators of sexual crimes may be sued by their survivors in civil court for damages. However, embarrassment and exposure to public scrutiny can sometimes prevent survivors from filing claims against perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Is it possible to keep your name private in a sexual abuse claim? Contact DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Santa Ana today for a free consultation. We can assist you in filing a lawsuit while protecting your privacy rights.

What Is the Presumption of Openness?

The Freedom of Information Act is a federal law that keeps U.S. citizens in the know about their government. The act provides that agencies should withhold information when processing requests only if they reasonably foresee that disclosure of that information would harm an interest protected by exemption, or if it is prohibited by law. Agencies should consider partial disclosure of information whenever possible if full disclosure is not possible. This is the presumption of openness. There is a presumption in favor of naming parties to a lawsuit from the common law doctrine of open courtrooms; however, this presumption is not absolute. Courts often rule that pseudonyms can be used in sex abuse cases.

Why Use Pseudonyms In a Civil Lawsuit?

A sex crime survivor may need to bring a civil lawsuit to seek justice, recover damages, and reveal facts that were not allowed into evidence in a criminal trial. Requiring survivors of sex crimes to sacrifice their privacy in bringing a lawsuit (by not using a pseudonym) can subject them to additional emotional and psychological harm. Public revelation of sexual abuse can make the person a survivor for a second time. Requiring survivors of sex crimes to file under their own names, as opposed to a pseudonym, such as “John Doe” or “Jane Doe” can also dissuade them from filing civil claim and impinge on their fundamental rights of access to the courts.

When Will Courts Allow the Use of Pseudonyms?

Courts will allow the use of a pseudonym when the survivor’s privacy considerations outweigh the presumption of openness. As disclosing the name of a sexual assault survivor can slow the healing process, courts will typically rule that privacy considerations for the survivor outweigh the presumption of openness, and a pseudonym can be used for the lawsuit in lieu of the survivor’s name. The right to privacy is protected under the U.S. Constitution and under many state constitutions. This right encompasses the survivor’s interest in non-disclosure of personal information relating to a crime of a sexual nature. When disclosure of private facts is necessary, such as in a civil sexual abuse claim, the corollary right of non-disclosure of identifying information applies.

Connect with DiMarco Araujo Montevideo

If you are a survivor of a sex crime and are worried about public exposure in filing a civil lawsuit for damages, call DiMarco Araujo Montevideo. We can assist you in petitioning the court to keep your name private. Our Orange County injury lawyers can also aid in pursuing the maximum compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

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What if my Independent Compensation Claim Is Against Clergy of Another Diocese or Religious Order?

Compensation is available under the Independent Compensation Program for survivors who were sexually abused as minors by a priest of certain Dioceses in Southern California. But what recourse do survivors have if the sexual abuse was committed by clergy of another Diocese or religious order? If you or your child is a survivor, contact DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Santa Ana today. We can advise you of your options under the law.

Who Is Eligible for Compensation Under the Independent Compensation Program?

The Independent Compensation Program was established to acknowledge wrongs endured by survivors of clerical sexual child abuse committed by priests of the:

No other survivors of sexual abuse of minors committed by Catholic priests, or by clergy of any other religious order, are eligible for compensation under this program.

What Happens If the Abuse Was Committed by Clergy of Another Diocese or Religious Order?

If you file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program involving sexual abuse of a minor by a priest of another Diocese or clergy of another religious order, the program will forward your claim to the appropriate diocese or religious order for handling according to their own policies and procedures for responding to allegations of abuse. If such is the case, the program will inform you as to where your claim has been forwarded. You are also encouraged to report the abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

How Can an Attorney Help If You Are Not Eligible Under the Independent Compensation Program?

If you are eligible for compensation under a program established by another Diocese or religious order, our experienced personal injury attorneys can guide you through the claims process, ensure all the paperwork is in order and documentation is provided, and advise you as to whether the compensation offered is just and fair. If litigation is your best option, we can represent you in a civil lawsuit for damages against the responsible party.

What Damages Are Available In a Civil Claim for Clerical Sexual Abuse?

Thousands of people nationwide have reported being abused by a priest or church official. In a civil personal injury claim for sexual abuse of a minor, you may be entitled to damages that may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical treatment and therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Disability
  • Lost earnings
  • Lost time with family

Contact Us Today

Being sexually abused as a child by a priest or member of the clergy can have an impact on your entire future. If you have suffered clerical sexual abuse as a minor, you deserve to recover full and fair compensation for your injuries. Call DiMarco Araujo Montevideo as soon as possible. Our Orange County personal injury lawyers are tough advocates for clerical sexual abuse survivors.

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Receiving Compensation from the Independent Compensation Program

A number of instances have come to light of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests throughout the nation. If you or your child is a survivor of clerical sexual abuse in certain Southern California Dioceses, you may be entitled to file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program.

Call DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo in Santa Ana today for skilled legal representation. Our Orange County clergy abuse attorneys can help you pursue the full compensation you are entitled to receive from the Independent Compensation Program.

How Will Compensation Amounts Be Determined?

Victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles or the Dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, or San Diego may be eligible for compensation through the Independent Compensation Program. After registering on the program’s website and reporting the sexual abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agency, you may file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program. Your claim will be reviewed by the program administrators, who have final authority to determine whether you are eligible and how much compensation your claim deserves.

What Happens after a Claim Is Filed with the Independent Compensation Program?

The administrators of the Independent Compensation Program will process your claim promptly, once it is received with all necessary supporting documentation.

  • You will receive written notice by mail that your claim has been received by the program.
  • Claims are reviewed by the administrators on a rolling basis.
  • When review of your claim is complete, you will be notified of the determination of your claim, or of any deficiencies in documentation or requests for additional documentation, if needed.

When Will Claimants Receive Payment?

Claims are handled by the program administrators on a rolling basis, in the order in which they are received. If your claim is lacking documentation, you will be notified and the claim will be reviewed again when the missing documentation is received by the administrators. Payment will be made to eligible claimants as their claims are processed on a rolling basis.

How Are Payments Made?

If you are determined to be eligible for compensation, payment will be issued by the Independent Compensation Program after:

  • Final processing of your claim form
  • Your acceptance of the amount of compensation and
  • The program’s receipt of your signed release (by which you are barred from filing a lawsuit against any party related to the sexual abuse in the future).

The Independent Compensation Program administrators will authorize payment according to your preference, by check or electronic funds transfer. If your payment is in check form, it will be sent by overnight courier service.

Get In Touch with Our Firm

If you are filing a claim with the Independent Compensation Program, it is in your best interests to have an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orange County by your side to guide you through the process and protect your rights and interests. Contact DiMarco Araujo Montevideo as soon as possible for the experienced legal representation you need.

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Filing a Claim with the Independent Compensation Program

Victims of sexual abuse by priests in certain Southern California Dioceses have the option to file a claim for compensation with the Independent Compensation Program, an independent program run by two nationally-recognized claims administrators.

At DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Santa Ana, we can help you explore your legal options. Speak with an experienced Orange County clergy abuse attorney before accepting compensation from the program, as in doing so, you forfeit your rights to file a lawsuit against any party related to the sexual abuse. Contact us today for sound legal guidance and experienced representation in an Independent Compensation Program claim.

How to File a Claim with the Independent Compensation Program

To be eligible to file a claim under the Independent Compensation Program, your claim of sexual abuse must be directed against a priest of any of the following Dioceses:

If you are filing a new claim (not previously reported to law enforcement or the Dioceses) you must first register on the Independent Compensation Program’s website. After you register, you must then report your claim of sexual abuse in writing to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and submit a copy of the police report to the administrators of the program. You will fill out a claim form for the program and provide the appropriate supporting documentation.

Will Filing a Claim Cost Money?

There is no fee for filing a claim with the Independent Compensation Program. The program will not reimburse you for you attorney fees or other professional fees associated with your claim. However, our firm operates on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay us no fees unless we maximize your compensation.

What Proof Will I Need to Submit to Receive Compensation from the Program?

If you are filing a new claim, the program invites you to provide any documentation identified in the claim form, along with any other corroborating information to substantiate your claim, satisfy eligibility requirements, or allow administrators of the Independent Compensation Program to review, process, and make a fair and accurate determination in evaluating your claim. For claims that were reported to the Dioceses before the initiation of this program, the administrators will be provided with any documentation that was previously submitted by victims and their healthcare providers.

What Types of Supporting Documentation Will Be Required for My Claim?

You will need supporting documentation as evidence of the nature, frequency, location, and time of the sexual abuse that occurred. This will assist the administrators in determining your eligibility and evaluating your claim. Examples of such documentation include:

  • Police reports or other law enforcement records
  • Medical or counseling records for treatment relevant to the clerical sexual abuse
  • Copies of contemporaneous notifications regarding the abuse made by the victim to friends, family members, church officials, law enforcement, or others. These notifications could be in the form of email, letter, or another type of communication.

Connect with DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo

If you are filing a claim with the Independent Compensation Program, having experienced legal representation is in your best interests. Contact DiMarco Araujo Montevideo in Santa Ana today to get our Orange County injury lawyers on your side. We can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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What Is the Independent Compensation Program?

Clerical child sexual abuse has led to numerous civil lawsuits filed by survivors against the Catholic Church in California. The Independent Compensation Program is a program independent of the Dioceses, administered by two nationally recognized administrators, who have complete autonomy to determine eligibility of individual claims and the amount of compensation for victims.

It is in your best interests to have legal representation if you have been a victim of abuse. Contact DiMarco Araujo Montevideo today for sound legal guidance in an Independent Compensation Program claim. Our Orange County clergy abuse lawyers can help explore your legal options and help you file for compensation.

What Is the Purpose of the Independent Compensation Program?

The Independent Compensation Program was created with the goal of acknowledging the wrongs endured by clerical sexual abuse victims and the failure of the church to prevent harm. The Independent Compensation program aims to provide support for survivors abused as minors in Southern California, regardless of when the abuse occurred. Below are the participating Dioceses:

  • Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • Diocese of Fresno
  • Diocese of Orange
  • Diocese of Sacramento
  • Diocese of San Diego
  • Diocese of San Bernardino

This program is independent of the Dioceses. It was established to supplement initiatives, including compensation programs, already undertaken by the individual Dioceses to address sexual abuse of minors by priests.

Who May File for Compensation?

To be eligible for this program, your claim of sexual abuse must be directed against a priest of any of the Dioceses listed above.

  • You may be eligible to file a claim with the Independent Compensation Program if you were sexually abused as a minor by any such priest.
  • If you are a victim represented by a lawyer, your attorney many file on your behalf.
  • In the case of a victim who is currently a minor, a parent or legal guardian of the victim may file a claim.
  • In the case of a legally incapacitated or incompetent victim, a claim may be filed by the victim’s duly appointed legal representative.

When Will the Program Begin?

The administrators of the Independent Compensation Program and the Dioceses are working together to determine a feasible start date for the program. It is anticipated that the program will begin in September of 2019.

What About New Claims Not Previously Submitted to the Dioceses?

If you have a new claim that has not been previously reported to the Dioceses or to law enforcement, you must register on the Independent Compensation Program’s website to be eligible for participation. Once you have registered with the program, you must file a claim of abuse in writing with the appropriate law enforcement agency and submit a copy of the report to the administrators of the Independent Compensation Program. A finding of criminal liability is not a requirement for participation in the program.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Accepting compensation from the Independent Compensation Program means surrendering your rights to file a lawsuit against any party relating to the sexual abuse. We advise against forfeiting this right without first speaking with an experienced attorney. Our Santa Anta lawyers can help ensure all your filing deadlines are met, all the paperwork is in order, and the compensation you receive is just and fair.

Contact Us Today

Our experienced Orange County personal injury lawyers have a history of success for our clients. Call us as soon as possible for sound legal guidance and dedicated representation in an Independent Compensation Program claim.

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