San Bernardino Priest Abuse Lawyer

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San Bernardino Priest Abuse Lawyer

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On May 14, 2019, a group of independent mediators and administrators established a new compensation program for survivors of child sexual abuse by the Catholic church.

If you or a loved one is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in San Bernardino, you may be eligible for significant compensation under this program. The San Bernardino priest abuse attorneys of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can assist you through the claims process, answering any questions you may have along the way. Contact us today to find out more.

What is the Independent Compensation Program?

The Independent Compensation Program for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests was formed by independent mediators who had previously established similar programs in other states. Formed in cooperation with the Catholic church, the program allocates funds for those who have been abused in the:

Why is the Diocese of San Bernardino Involved?

The Diocese of San Bernardino is one of many in the Southern California region that have come under fire for allegedly engaging in sexual abuse of minors and covering up the cases for decades.

  • In October 2018, the diocese released a list of 34 priests who were accused of abusing minors since 1978 – when the diocese was formed.
  • Only six of the above priests were actually convicted for their crimes.
  • In January 2019, a 70-page report was released that detailed more than 80 clergy members accused of sexual abuse and misconduct across both San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Who is Eligible for Compensation?

If you were a survivor of priest abuse in one of the aforementioned dioceses, you may be eligible to pursue compensation through this program. Additionally, you may be eligible to file a claim even if:

  • The statute of limitations has passed on your case.
  • You have not yet reported your abuse to the Catholic church.
  • You are an undocumented immigrant who has no proof of citizenship.

New Law Extends the Time Frame to File Lawsuits For Adult Victims of Childhood Clergy Sexual Abuse (Effective January 1, 2020)

Victims who have suffered from San Bernardino priest sexual abuse deserve to have their day in court. For far too long, adult survivors of childhood sexual assault and abuse in California have been silenced. They have been silenced due to significant limitations written into the state law. The law previously barred civil lawsuits from adult victims of childhood sexual abuse after they turned 26 years old or if the lawsuit was not filed within three years from the time they discovered the abuse.

Assembly Bill 218 changes the landscape for these victims.

How Does AB 218 Change the Landscape?

On October 13, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) into law. This bill will take effect on January 1, 2020. They will implement several changes to existing state statutes:

  • Adult victims of childhood sexual assault and abuse will have until they turn 40 years of age or five years from the date they discover they were abused to file civil lawsuits against those who abused them and those who protected their abusers.
  • The law also establishes a “look back” period, which will allow for victims of any age to have three years to file civil lawsuits against their abusers. Lawsuits that were previously barred due to existing statutes of limitation will now be allowed for three years.
  • Due to this change, any lawsuits that were not litigated to finality because of the statutes of limitation will now be revived.

AB 218 Makes Additional Changes to the Law

AB 218 expands the definition of childhood sexual abuse to include “childhood sexual assault,” which will include crimes not previously recognized as sexual abuse. This broadens the number of types of actions and behaviors committed against minors that are eligible for a lawsuit.

This law will also allow for “treble” damages against those who are found to have covered up sexual abuse and assault of a minor. Essentially, treble damages are a tripling of the compensatory damages awarded to victims in these cases. This move sends a strong message to institutions who have actively sought to cover up abuse is that they discover under their watch.

Over the last few years, we have seen time and time again instances of major institutions and organizations covering up abuses. This includes not only the Catholic Church, but other organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, school districts, and more.

AB 218 Exempts childhood sexual assault survivors from the Government Tort Claims presentation requirements, meaning any government agencies that covered up abuse can face lawsuits.

Not All Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Experience the Effects the Same Way

Adult victims of childhood sexual abuse experience what happened to them in varying ways. These traumatic experiences should not be taken lightly, and authorities must understand that not all victims come forward immediately after discovering the abuse. They may feel shame for what has happened to them. They may try to forget it. It is for these victims that the state of California has enacted AB 218, and we are ready to help these victims move forward. Our San Bernardino priests abuse lawyers or standing by to answer your questions about this new law.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Claim?

A Catholic clergy abuse lawyer who is experienced in cases of abuse can be an invaluable resource through the claims process. He or she may be able to answer any questions that may come up, such as:

  • Does this program cover compensation if I was abused in a different diocese?
  • What documentation do I need in order to prove my claim?
  • How much will I receive for my claim?
  • Can I pursue further legal action against the responsible parties after I agree to compensation through this program?

At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we can help you understand the terms and conditions of the program so that you can make an informed decision about your case. If you decide to file a claim through this program, our Catholic clergy abuse attorneys in San Bernardino can assist in the filing process, ensuring your claim has all the information necessary to successfully get compensation.

Contact Our San Bernardino Priest Abuse Attorneys Today

The Independent Compensation Program can seem like an intimidating process to go through in order to receive compensation for experiencing such heinous acts – but we’re here to help. Contact our priest abuse lawyers in San Bernardino today at (714) 783-2205 to schedule a free, 100% confidential consultation to discuss your options. We are committed to securing you the compensation you truly deserve.

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