Members of the clergy are supposed to provide spiritual motivation, guidance, and safety but when members who engage in sexual abuse violate trust and their duties, it often causes lifelong harm. Maryland clergy sexual abuse victims live every day with the weight of this trauma. In Maryland, clergy sexual assault victims can now pursue compensation by taking legal action against the church responsible for the abuse. While this cannot undo the trauma abuse victims live with every day, it provides an opportunity to seek justice. If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse by the clergy in Maryland, you may be entitled to compensation.
What Is Happening In The Archdiocese of Baltimore?
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office is finalizing a four-year investigation on allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore committed by priests, teachers, and other employees. The Archdiocese of Baltimore consists of 153 parishes, 40 elementary schools, and 18 high schools. For over 80 years, more than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore abused over 600 children, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. The report mentions that the archdiocese failed to report allegations of sexual abuse, conduct investigations or remove the abusers. Instead, the Archdiocese of Baltimore went to great lengths to hide these attacks. The report defines a choice of language for these claims and chooses to use the term “victims” instead of “survivors” to emphasize the criminal acts of those that hurt them.
It wasn’t until 1985 that a case of a sexually abusive priest made national attention. Throughout the years, more clergy sexual abuse victims came forward. In addition, the Archdiocese of Baltimore published names of clergy members accused of sexual abuse. The first list was released in 2002 with 57 clergy names after two people came forward about the abuse of the same priest. Another list was published in 2016 updating the number to 71. In 2018, it was publicly announced that the Attorney General’s Office was investigating the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Unfortunately, there have been many victims recently announcing sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church and specifically the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Catholic Church has paid more than $3 billion in settlements for victims of sexual abuse.
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Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023
Maryland Governor Wes Moore made it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit. This law enables victims to file retroactive lawsuits even if their claims have already expired under an existing statute of limitations. It also removes the statute of limitations on all future childhood sexual abuse claims. Previously, victims of child sexual abuse were able to file a civil suit until they were 38 years old but if it occurred prior to 2017, then they could file a civil suit until they were 21 years old. The Child Victims Act of 2023 eliminates the statutes of limitations completely, allowing victims to file a civil lawsuit at any time. This creates an unlimited lookback period and Maryland is the first state to pass an unlimited time frame. Maryland clergy sexual abuse attorneys can assist with civil cases under the Child Victims Act of 2023.
This means anyone who was an Archdiocese of Baltimore victim but has not filed a claim now has the opportunity to file a Baltimore clergy abuse case without any time restrictions.
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Why Choose Ashcraft & Gerel to Fight for Maryland Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases?
Ashcraft & Gerel believes every victim of Maryland clergy abuse should seek justice. Our experience with sexual abuse cases allows us to fight for every client by:
- Understanding the latest laws related to clergy sexual abuse
- What types of damages a victim may be entitled to for compensation
- How abuse affects the lives of victims for their lifetime
Maryland clergy abuse cases are about more than financial recovery. However, we understand the importance of getting justice for the pain and trauma and holding the abusers accountable.
How We Help with Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases in Maryland
Clergy sexual abuse cases can be complex, but our team will handle every step of the legal process, including:
- Documenting the damages: We will work with mental health professionals, doctors, and expert witnesses to help document the damages caused by abuse.
- Determining liability for the Maryland clergy sexual abuse: Priests and other clergy members who committed sexual abuse may be personally liable for the damages. In many cases, a religious institution may also be held liable for being aware of the abuse.
- Fighting for compensation: By outlining the damages, evaluating the extent of loss from the abuse, and determining liability, our Maryland Catholic Church abuse lawyers can fight for compensation. We will take the case to court if necessary.
Ashcraft & Gerel will handle the legal process so you can continue to focus on your daily responsibilities and healing.
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Recoverable Damages for Victims of Maryland Clergy Sexual Abuse
The effects of sexual abuse can be medical, psychological, and emotional. Victims of clergy sexual abuse have every right to hold their abusers accountable. There are several different legal options available to victims.
- Past and future medical expenses: Any past or future health care costs related to your abuse such as mental health counseling, therapy, medication, and other doctors’ appointments can be used as damages against the clergy member.
- Pain and suffering: Your emotional and physical pain and suffering are compensable in these cases.
- Punitive damages: In Maryland, punitive damages can be awarded if the abuser acted in a negligent way causing injuries, both physical and mental to the victim of the Catholic Church sexual abuse.
Ashcraft & Gerel will examine all the damages to take all the losses into consideration. Our Maryland clergy sexual abuse lawyers are prepared to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation About Your Maryland Clergy Abuse Case
Clergy sexual abuse victims deserve justice. Hiring a Maryland clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help increase the chance of a successful outcome of compensation. Victims of sexual abuse have already endured so much and should not have to face the legal process alone. Ashcraft & Gerel can take on the legal process to hold all liable parties accountable for their actions in a Maryland clergy abuse lawsuit. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.