Los Angeles Priest Abuse Lawyer

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Los Angeles Priest Abuse Lawyer

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On May 14, 2019, a new, independently-run compensation program was established to provide monetary recovery to any survivor of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in several dioceses in Southern California.

If you or a loved one is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse as a minor in Los Angeles, please contact us immediately to discuss your case with a priest abuse attorney. You may be eligible for significant compensation under this program. Our priest abuse lawyers in Los Angeles can advise you on the best course of action to obtain the full and fair recovery you deserve.

What is the Independent Compensation Program?

The Independent Compensation Program for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests was independently formed by nationally known mediators and private compensation program administrators, with the cooperation of the Catholic church. Intended to be an alternative to filing claims in Court, this program helps facilitate monetary awards for those who have been abused by priests in the:

Why is the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Involved?

With many dioceses in the country under intense scrutiny, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has specifically been accused not only of rampant clergy sex abuse over the years but also a gross mishandling of accusations against priests who allegedly conducted that abuse.

  • The archdiocese recently paid a record $740 million in settlements to victims.
  • After increased pressure, they recently updated its list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse, disclosing 54 additional priests and church members.
  • Of these 54 clergy members, the majority were accused of wrongdoing before 2008.
  • The archdiocese had been aware of a bishop’s sexual abuse allegations at a parish for 13 years before disclosing it to the public.

Who is Eligible to File a Claim Under the Independent Compensation Program?

Survivors who have encountered clergy abuse in the aforementioned dioceses are eligible to file a claim. Additionally, you may be able to file a claim even if:

  • You have not already reported instances of abuse to the church.
  • The civil statute of limitations has passed for your case.
  • You are an undocumented immigrant with no proof of citizenship.

There are no fees for participating, and participation is entirely voluntary.

Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Will Now Have More Time To File Lawsuits (Effective January 1, 2020)

For too long, adult victims who suffered sexual abuse from Los Angeles priests have had limited options when it comes to reporting what happened to them and filing a lawsuit to recover damages. The law limited them to filing lawsuits only until the age of 26 or within three years of the victim’s discovery of the abuse.

Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) changes that and greatly extends these time frames. Our Los Angeles priest abuse lawyers want to explain this new law and discuss how it could affect you.

Understanding Assembly Bill 218

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 218 on October 13, 2019. The bill is set to take effect on January 1, 2020, and will implement several changes to the existing state law.

  • Those who experienced childhood sexual abuse will now have until they turn 40 years of age or five years from the time they discover they were abused to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and those who protected their abusers.
  • Victims of all ages will now have three years to file civil lawsuits against their abusers, regardless of whether their claims would otherwise have been banned due to existing laws.
  • Any claims that were previously not litigated to finality because of the three-year time frame will be revived.

Other Significant Changes of AB 218

This new law changes the terminology in California statutes from “childhood sexual abuse” to “childhood sexual assault.” This change greatly expands the types of behavior that adult victims of childhood sexual misconduct are able to file lawsuits for. There was more of a burden of proof to prove “abuse” as opposed to “assault.”

AB 218 will allow for “treble damages” against defendants who have covered up the sexual abuse of a minor. This means that the court will be allowed to triple the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiffs in these cases against any institutions that knew about and covered up the sexual assault. This change sends a strong message to institutions that they can no longer cover up allegations of sexual assault by burying the information are moving abusive priests around.

The Catholic Church is certainly not the only institution that has actively covered up abuses that take place under their watch. Over the last few years, we have learned of significant cover-ups from groups such as USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, Boy Scouts of America, and more.

AB 218 Changes Usher in a New Era

This new law will likely result in many lawsuits being filed that would previously have been barred under the old statutes of limitation. It is time for adult victims of childhood sexual assault to gain some closure. By extending the statute of limitations for these victims, the state of California is recognizing that not all victims discover and/or cope with abuse in the same way. Childhood sexual assault of this nature is traumatic, and the state of California is finally giving the situation an understanding it previously did not have.

We recognize that there may be confusion as to who is now eligible to file lawsuits for their sexual assault or abuse cases. Do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles priest abuse lawyer for guidance on this issue. We are ready for these cases. We are ready to help you.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer Before Filing a Claim?

Before filing a claim for compensation, we highly recommend consulting an experienced Los Angeles priest abuse lawyer who has your needs in mind. Much of the preliminary information released may come with several questions that must be answered.

  • This program only covers those who have experienced sexual abuse as a minor from the aforementioned dioceses. If you have been a survivor of abuse in another diocese, there are no guarantees of compensation.
  • There is a substantial amount of documentation that is required to prove your claim. In cases where extended time has passed, acquiring this evidence may be considerably more difficult.
  • The amount of compensation received is determined by the mediators, which means it may not necessarily match your expectations.
  • By filing a claim and accepting compensation, you waive to right to any further legal action against the responsible parties. If you want to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions, you may want to consider alternate options for compensation.

At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we can help answer questions you may have regarding the claims process. If you decide to submit the process, our clergy abuse attorneys can help you file a comprehensive claim to ensure you receive compensation.

Contact Our Los Angeles Clergy Abuse Lawyers Today

Although the Independent Compensation Program is still in its early phases, it is best to consult an experienced priest abuse lawyer in Los Angeles to ensure you are ready to submit a claim. Contact our Catholic abuse attorneys today at (714) 783-2205 to schedule a free, 100% confidential consultation regarding your case. Our personal injury attorneys want to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.