Frequently Asked Questions for Clergy Abuse Lawyers
Deciding to fight for justice is one of the hardest and bravest decisions a survivor of sexual abuse will make in his or her lifetime. Many survivors worry they won’t be believed or that too much time has passed. We believe you. You are not alone.
Hiring the right clergy abuse lawyer is an important first step in obtaining the justice you deserve. At Williams Cedar, our experienced attorneys handle numerous clergy abuse matters on behalf of survivors and their families in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial stress with which survivors of abuse must deal. Our dedicated attorneys are ready to fight on your behalf during this difficult time.
Many individuals often have questions about the process of filing a clergy abuse claim. The following questions are among the most common ones we receive from clergy abuse survivors and their families.
I was abused many years ago. It is too late to bring a claim?
Each state has its own statute of limitations, which provides a time limit for individuals to bring certain claims. In Pennsylvania, individuals who were abused essentially have until the age 30 to file a civil claim in court. There are some exceptions to the Commonwealth’s statute of limitations. An experienced attorney will be able to explain these to a survivor seeking a remedy in Pennsylvania, as well as some alternative remedies.
Survivors in New Jersey now have a two-year “window” to file a claim, regardless of when the abuse occurred. After November 2021, victims will have seven years after discovery of harm to file a claim or up to the age of 55. Our attorneys aggressively fight for justice for all survivors regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.
The name of my abuser has been released by my New Jersey diocese. What next?
The Roman Catholic dioceses of New Jersey have begun to release names of diocesan priests and deacons against whom a “credible allegation” of sexual abuse of a minor has been made. Publication of the name of an abuser can help in your case to prove there was an ongoing pattern of abuse. Survivors still have the right to bring their own individual claims against the abusive priest, their superiors, and the Catholic Church to receive compensation for the lifelong effects of the abuse including physical injuries, emotional distress, and lost wages.
Will my abuser face jail time for the abuse?
Criminal Justice Divisions in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania continue to investigate and prosecute the crimes associated with clergy sexual abuse. Penalties for these crimes can include incarceration. It is typically the state, and not individual survivors, who can file criminal complaints against the abusers. By filing a civil lawsuit against abusive priests and those who covered up their crimes, survivors and their families can obtain monetary compensation to help cover the costs of medical treatment, psychological treatment, counseling, lost wages and for the emotional distress suffered as a result of the abuse.
Should I accept the settlement offered by diocese?
Most Catholic dioceses have set up victim assistance funds which offer settlements to survivors who can meet certain proof requirements. These settlements may include non-disclosure agreements, which a survivor must sign before receiving any payment. It is important never to sign a legal document or accept a settlement before consulting with an experienced clergy abuse lawyer. The dioceses wish to resolve these matters as quickly and quietly as possible. The Catholic Church has lawyers fighting on its behalf and so should you. At Williams Cedar, we work aggressively to protect the rights of clergy abuse survivors and always work with the best interest of our clients in mind.
Clergy Abuse Lawyers at Williams Cedar Protect the Rights of Survivors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nationwide
If you or a loved one has survived clergy abuse, the dedicated New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you obtain the justice you deserve. Our attorneys will not stop fighting until all survivors receive the compensation to which they are entitled. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, to serve clergy abuse survivors and their families throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. To schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced clergy abuse lawyer, call us today at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.