Ohio personal injury lawyer reviews Cincinnati church abuse lawsuits and recent settlements reached with the Catholic Church
Church Abuse Lawsuits filed on behalf of abused victims have soared in recent years as the nationwide scandal has highlighted the terrible actions of individual priests and dioceses and religious orders covering up abuse cases to save their own image and public standing.
Some church institutions have filed for bankruptcy protection, however, being so inundated with church abuse lawsuits. Settlements have already totaled more than $3 billion, with hundreds of more sexual abuse cases still pending.
The Catholic Church has been at the center of the church abuse scandal, and there are over 8,500 recorded settlements with assault survivors abused by a member of the clergy.
In 2007, the church settled a case for $600 million on behalf of 221 priests and other church staff accused of abusing over 500 people. Attorneys have said still only a fraction of the total number of sexual abuse victims have come forward, and even fewer have filed lawsuits.
Even though not all cases are able to compensate victims due to statute of limitation laws, attorneys and safety advocates argue it’s important to still file lawsuits and hold church leaders accountable for their negligence in sexual abuse cases.
Church Abuse Lawsuits Filed in New York
The New York Diocese of Brooklyn reached a $27.5 million settlement with four sexual assault victims—men abused as boys by a church educator. Each victim received $6.875 million from the diocese and will remain anonymous.
Sexual Abuse Allegations in Pennsylvania
In August, a grand jury stated more than 300 Catholic priests sexually abused children in the state of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania sexual abuse report detailed accounts of priests accused of abusing over 1,000 children over the last 70 years.
The image of the Catholic Church has suffered with the church abuse crisis. Church abuse lawsuits have targeted dioceses and religious orders, and valuable diocesan assets are vulnerable in ongoing cases. The church institutions in question have substantial cash, stocks, and real estate, in addition to insurance coverage.
In addition to church abuse cases, attorneys are reviewing Boy Scout sexual abuse cases for victims and plaintiffs nationwide.
Can I File a Lawsuit?
Due to Ohio statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases, victims may or may not be able to file claims in courts. Ohio’s statute of limitations for rape is 20-25 years, depending on circumstances.
The time limit on prosecuting other felony sex crimes is as little as six years. Charges for misdemeanor sex crimes such as groping and fondling must be filed within two years, and civil lawsuits must be filed within one to two years.
The huge wave of church sexual allegations has lawmakers considering changing the sex abuse statute of limitations in Ohio. Ohio has old laws, like many states, however, Ohio’s statute of limitations are tighter than other states.
Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations
Of church abuse survivors who report their abuse, their average age is over 50. Filing lawsuits can bring some relief and closure for sexual abuse victims. Pennsylvania passed a bill in 2017 that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations and raise the cutoff age to file a civil lawsuit, but the bill eventually stalled. Ohio victims would benefit with a similar measure.
Other bills suggested would eliminate criminal and civil statutes of limitations as well as provide a two-year window from the day the law goes into effect for victims to sue for past sexual abuse.
Delaware has been a model for these change in sexual assault laws. The state eliminated the criminal statute of limitations for all child sex abuse in 2003.
When it comes to allowing victims of sexual abuse and rape to seek justice, Ohio’s laws have their limitations. The Ohio governor has advocated changing the sex abuse statute of limitations laws to be more in favor of victims.
If you or a loved has been a victim of Cincinnati church sexual abuse, and have questions about the legal remedies available in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding Cincinnati sexual abuse lawsuits.