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Top Clergy Abuse Attorney Questions

  1. What can I do if my child was abused by a priest?

If your son or daughter has suffered physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse from a member of your church’s clergy, you must first get help from a trust therapist or psychologist who specializes in this type of abuse. The mental anguish can last for decades, even a lifetime. The next step is to find a qualified attorney who can walk you through the process of pursuing justice against the abuser, the church and anyone else involved.

  1. Why should I fight for justice if my son or daughter has been abused by clergy?

For longer than we can imagine, the Catholic Church and other religious institutions covered up this type of child abuse. Due to this cover-up, millions were once forced to suffer in silence and few victims understood their right to seek justice. Now, people throughout California and the rest of the country can come forward and hold their abusers accountable both for themselves and to help protect future church members from abuse.

  1. What can I do if I was the victim of clergy abuse?

If you are a survivor of any type of childhood sex abuse, including clergy sex abuse, we offer our deepest sympathies. We are sorry that you had to suffer this way through no fault of your own. You should first seek out a trusted mental health professional to help you cope with this trauma. You should also find a trusted clergy abuse attorney who understands these issues and can provide you with the options you have to pursue justice. It will also be helpful to your attorney and your therapist for you to document a record of the abuse. For example, you may want to write out a full history of the abuse with important details, such as who abused you, noting relevant dates or years, the location of the abuse, and anything else that may be relevant. This will be a difficult process so it may be helpful to do this in conjunction with a mental health professional, family member, or trusted friend.

  1. What do political figures say about clergy abuse?

Vice-President hopeful Kamala Harris (currently a Senator from California, as well as former California State Attorney General) along with many of California’s political figures such as Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and others were in office when the legislation was passed to hold priests, nuns, lay ministers and others responsible for their behavior. In fact, California recently passed a new law (AB 218) which extended the statute of limitations for child sex abuse survivors to be able pursue legal action against their abusers and others responsible, if they so choose. The law was sponsored jointly by Asm. Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher [D], Asm. David Chiu [D], Sen. Cathleen Galgiani [D], Asm. Tom Lackey [R], Asm. Mark Stone [D], Asm. Kevin McCarty [D], Asm. Robert Rivas [D], and Sen. Scott Wilk [R].

  1. What type of clergy abuse attorney should I hire for my case?

You need a lawyer who understands these types of cases, who will treat you and/or your child with compassion, and who will fight until the end to get you the results you need. If your case continues to trial, you will benefit from an attorney who is both willing and able to try a case, and most importantly, one who has experience doing so. If your case can be settled out of court, you will benefit from hiring an attorney who is able to get you the best result possible in this scenario. Named a clergy abuse Best Lawyer, Mary Alexander settled a sex abuse claim against a school district for $2.5 million, settled a clergy sex abuse case for $1.1 million, settled a minor sex abuse case for $1.25 million among many other child sex abuse settlements. In the end, you need an attorney who will hold the abusers responsible and get you the justice you deserve.

  1. How many people have filed abuse claims against the Catholic Church in California?

Roughly 800 priests, nuns, and other ministers statewide have been accused of sex abuse. That means there are likely tens of thousands of children who were sexually abused by these deviant people.

  1. Is the Catholic Church the only institution guilty of child sex abuse?

Clergy abuse happens in various institutions. Among these are countless different types of religious institutions including Catholic Churches, Mormon/Latter Day Saints (LDS), Protestant denominations, and many others. It is unfortunately not limited to any one religion.

  1. Why are churches – and denominations – so willing to cover up alleged sexual misconduct?

There is no easy answer to this question. In the many childhood sex abuse cases Mary Alexander & Associates has worked on, fear of criminal prosecution, fear of financial ruin, and lack of oversight are just some of the numerous reasons for the cover-ups.

  1. What if my abuse happened at a religious school instead of a church?

The fact that abuse may have happened at a school instead of church does not prevent you from pursuing a claim. Clergy abuse can happen at school, at church, or even at someone’s private residence. If a trusted clergy member took advantage of his position to sexually exploit a minor, this falls under the umbrella of clergy abuse. There are hundreds of private schools that are affiliated with the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church (LDS), the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, Jewish Temples, and other religious institutions. Priest sex abuse and other forms of clergy sex abuse can happen at any school affiliated with a religious institution.