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Date Modified: June 29, 2023
Many of us know someone who was abused by a predator in the Boy Scouts or a perverted public school teacher. The shame and embarrassment of clergy sexual abuse is perhaps the most challenging and shameful experience a survivor can endure in life. What is supposed to be a healing spiritual and moral experience by a parish with respected clergy members can sometimes become a nightmare for many parents and families.
Some lawyers may not even agree to sue the Catholic Church. They may think you are lying or mentally unstable or that the time frames to sue for these atrocities expired long ago. That is the power of religion and cults in general. The fact that this matter is a crime does not mean a criminal conviction is all that remains regarding justice. The statute of limitations for civil lawsuits may not be barred for sexual abuse, but only a committed sex abuse lawyer with inside knowledge knows.
With the state of California reducing penalties for child rape and refusing to pursue Minor Attracted Persons (MAP), sometimes the civil court is our only resort when pursuing child groomers, especially those embedded in the public school system and private religious schools. Your search for a pro-child, pro-parent clergy sexual abuse lawyer in Los Angeles is over.
We are ready to investigate your sex abuse complaints in a non-judgmental fashion, being cognizant of your anxiety and trauma with compassion and attentiveness. We have been fighting abuse since 2005. We offer a free legal consultation in a confidential setting. We will commit to listening, no matter how long it takes to learn about your circumstances and resulting claim thoroughly.
Why Choose Our Law Firm?
At Ehline Law, we understand survivors of sexual abuse are not only seeking justice. We want to stop the abuse. We already know you hope no one else will live the horrific experience you endured in the past. Therefore, we offer a confidential consultation for all victims of sexual abuse and other survivors.
We help you to know all your legal options and time limits to file a suit. We have the resources to protect your interests from any devastating psychological injury or illness. We will gather evidence, hold the perpetrators (priest, clergy, nun) liable, and face punishment for their crimes.
An abuse attorney from our firm will act to do whatever it takes to help you obtain maximum compensation. If the cases reach California courts, we fight for a fair financial resolution for all victims, protecting their bottom line.
What Can a Clergy Abuse Lawyer from Ehline Law Do for You?
Most perpetrators take advantage of their authority position to abuse children or vulnerable people in churches and other religious organizations. Ehline Law Firm holds the clergy accountable for sexual harassment against minors and does everything possible to help parents, children, and survivors. Our team includes experts in sexual abuse justice, including a retired and distinguished Los Angeles Police Department detective and former recovering priests. This expertise can be valuable in navigating the legal complexities of clergy abuse cases and ensuring survivors receive the support and justice they deserve. Michael Ehline has aided child and adult victims of sexual abuse and rape in building solid cases against churches, facing negligent clergy members in court if necessary.
Our Awards and Accolades Include
The Superlawyers Rising Star Award to Michael Ehline from 2006 to 2015.
Newsweek magazine’s “Premier Personal Injury Lawyers” to Ehline Law Firm’s attorneys in 2015.
Interviews with Michael Ehline on CNN and Nancy Grace on CBS about his experiences in law.
The Long-Term Effects of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Survivors of clergy abuse can experience long-lasting consequences, and the breach of trust can profoundly impact their lives. Survivors must seek legal support and justice to address their endured harm. Ehline Law Group, as mentioned, offers legal services to sexual abuse survivors and emphasizes its commitment to providing high-quality representation.
Suppose you or someone you know is a survivor of clergy abuse. In that case, it is essential to seek the help of experienced professionals who can guide you through the legal process and advocate for your rights till we win maximum compensation.
Why do Priests abuse Boys More than Girls?
Although fringe groups argue that many Catholic priests are secretly gay pedophiles, Google, Bing, and AI have assured us this is a coincidence.
“…U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, concluded that the childhood and adolescent sexual abuse committed by clergy was totally unrelated to homosexuality.” (Source – NIH.)
However, it is true in cases of sexual abuse involving Catholic priests, a higher percentage of victims are boys compared to girls.
“…27 percent of women and 16 percent of men reported childhood sexual abuse. In contrast, the John Jay report found that 81 percent of the alleged victims of clergy abuse were male.” (Source – NIH.)
Pro-gay groups argue the exact percentages may vary depending on different studies, jurisdictions, and time periods analyzed.
“…the question about the number or percentage of heterosexual ephebophiles as set against homosexual and bisexual ephebophiles is unresolved.” (Source – NIH.)
Several factors have been suggested to contribute to the higher proportion of male victims in Catholic priest abuse cases:
Access and Opportunity
Allegedly, catholic priests often have greater access to boys through roles such as serving as altar servers or working in boys’ schools, which can create opportunities for the abuser.
There may be a reporting bias in which cases involving male victims are more likely to be disclosed or reported than cases involving female victims. Societal factors, cultural perceptions, and the specific dynamics within the Catholic Church could influence other forms of bias.
Underreporting of Female Victims?
Cases involving female victims may be underreported or not as widely recognized due to various reasons, including cultural and societal factors, stigma, and barriers to disclosure.
Sexual Orientation and Priests
Sexual orientation is a complex and personal aspect of human identity. Being gay or having a same-sex attraction does not inherently lead someone to become a Catholic priest, nor does being a Catholic priest imply a specific sexual orientation. The Catholic Church teaches that individuals with same-sex attractions should live a life of celibacy, regardless of whether they are priests or laypersons.
The Church’s stance on homosexuality is based on its interpretation of religious teachings and moral principles. It is worth noting that the Catholic Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and engaging in same-sex sexual activity, considering these to be morally wrong abuses of their faith.
Based on its own teachings, priests are not supposed to have sex at all, in particular same-sex sex. Hence, it remains inappropriate to assume or generalize the sexual orientation of Catholic priests or any group of individuals based solely on their profession, religious affiliation, or lack of attraction to women.
Covert Grooming Allegations
Accused predators in Catholic churches are not as overt in child grooming as many Los Angeles public schools have become since 2019. (Many parents argue that California state senators and LAUSD support drag queen-simulated sex shows and gay porn in school libraries.) In most Los Angeles clergy abuse cases we are filing, we learn that predator priests earned parents’ trust to get their alone time instead of using the state’s power to appear normal and unassuming to their victims.
Our Los Angeles childhood sexual abuse attorneys seek justice for families and childhood sexual abuse survivors involving the Roman Catholic Church. Our record of success is among the best in the world. We have won clients over $150 million since 2005 and are ready to punish abusers on your behalf and expose any cover-up behavior in the process.
We are ready to discuss these civil claims 24/7 at (213) 596-9642 to hold the Church accountable and make corrupt religious leaders pay for any non-consensual sexual contact victims and survivors suffer. We have served thousands of families and are here to help you heal too! So schedule a call and free consult today and get the justice you are entitled to as an eligible, represented victim.
Raped by a Catholic Priest?
Allegations of clergy sexual abuse by many churches have resonated worldwide, prompting more and more brave survivors to find ways to seek justice in the face of Los Angeles clergy sexual abuse. In some cases, the Church was aware of the abuse. Still, it failed to disclose this conduct to unsuspecting parishioners or take any action to prevent these abusers from sexually abusing additional children. This has caused many victims to resort to vigilante justice to avenge their injuries.
However, parishioners taking legal action by taking the law into their own hands or pursuing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles or another responsible religious organization without proper legal experience can ruin their chances of financial recovery. Moving forward, Ehline Law’s experienced clergy sexual abuse attorneys care about you and know how to hold at-fault parties accountable to pay the plaintiff monetary compensation under California law.
Los Angeles Clergy Abuse and Sexual Assault Cases
In recent years, clergy members from several religious institutions have faced lawsuits or been involved in sexual abuse scandals in California, such as:
According to Bishop Accountability, which advocates for child and adult survivors of clergy abuse, there are detailed records of accusations against priests and other members of the dioceses throughout California where the abuse occurred.
Religious institutions involved in sexual abuse scandals include the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which oversees the Los Angeles clergy and parishes in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in Orange County.
What to Do If I Am a Victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse?
If a clergy member has sexually abused you or a child, you should seek professional advice from a clergy abuse lawyer. Each case is different, and there is always a new law to deal with as these cases evolve over the decades. Therefore, determining the steps to take legal action against a religious institution will depend on its unique facts, illness results, and the extent of the cover-up. However, Ehline Law’s tenacious lawyers offer a free consultation to speak with and help as many survivors as we can with their injuries.
We offer legal assistance to abuse survivors and all victims of abuse, including:
Parents of children who have been affected by a priest’s sexual misconduct
Adult survivors of sexual abuse or assault
Adult survivors or people who were sexually abused as minors.
When Can I File Legal Claims for Clergy Sexual Abuse?
Most clergy abuse survivors wonder how long they must act to take legal action against a perpetrator.
New Clergy Abuse Statute Allows Child Sexual Abuse Survivors to Seek Justice
California legislation (AB 218) expands the statute of limitations on the rights to sue children who have been victimized as a result. Effective January 1, 2020, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit related to sexual assault has been extended in California. Under the new law, victims have an extended timeframe to pursue legal action.
The two main provisions of the law are as follows:
22-Year Limit: Victims now have 22 years from the time they reach the legal age of majority, which is typically 18 years old, to file a lawsuit in a clergy sexual abuse case. This means they have until the age of 40 to bring a claim.
Five-Year Discovery Rule: Victims also have five years from the time they discover, or reasonably should have discovered, that their psychological harm or illness resulted from the sexual assault that occurred after reaching the age of majority. This provision allows victims to file a civil lawsuit within five years of making this discovery and recover treble damages.
The parent of a child who seeks to file on the child’s behalf has two years from the date of injury or three years from the date of discovery to file lawsuits. (See also, Ca. Civ. Proc. Code § 335.1.) It’s important to note that whichever deadline is later—the 22-year limit or the five-year discovery rule—will apply to the individual case. These extensions aim to provide victims with additional time to come forward and seek legal recourse to prove the civil harm they have suffered.
Who Can Be Held Accountable for Childhood Sexual Abuse?
Some survivors think they can only take legal action against the direct perpetrator. However, California law establishes that every person involved in a Los Angeles clergy abuse case may be held liable, even the Archbishop.
Those who were negligent and covered up the abuse cases or the organizations that were supposed to prevent the sexual assault can be held accountable, too. Who can you trust without accountability for negligence and intentional abuse?
Some examples of clergy members and other organizations that may face penalties for childhood abuse are:
Archbishops, including those of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Damages and Other Legal Remedies for Clergy Abuse in California
Are you a survivor of sexual assault, or has a loved one been the victim of a clergy member’s sexual misconduct or cover-ups? Clients can file claims to obtain financial restitution and compensation for all the damages suffered at the hands of the abuser.
At Ehline Law, you can find a sexual abuse lawyer who goes to great lengths to get you the financial compensation you deserve. We fight for fair compensation that includes the following:
Pain and suffering
Current and future medical and mental health expenses
Current and future medical and mental health treatment
Illness resulting from the abuse
Other economic and non-economic damages (court may award punitive damages.)
Can Catholic Priests be Prosecuted?
Catholic priests can be prosecuted for crimes committed, including cases of sexual abuse. The ability to prosecute priests depends on various factors, such as jurisdiction, the strength of the evidence, and applicable laws. It is essential to recognize that the Catholic Church has urged victims not to try and jail offending priests.
How Many Catholic Priests Have Been Found Guilty of Abuse Criminally?
The state seeks jail for sex offenders, whereas personal injury lawyers like Ehline Law pursue financial compensation for survivors.
The obtained media reports show:
“In 2019, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that 7,002 clerics had been “credibly” accused of sexually abusing minors between 1950 and 2018, according to BishopAccountability.org. But how many of those priests have been convicted?” (Source.)
The exact number of priests found guilty of abuse is not readily available or easily quantifiable. Some studies suggest 6% of accused priests were convicted, and about 2% received prison sentences. Hence, only a small percentage of accused priests faced legal consequences resulting in convictions and prison sentences. The Catholic Church has faced numerous allegations of abuse, and investigations and legal actions have taken place in various jurisdictions. Not all cases result in guilty verdicts, as some allegations may be unsubstantiated or have not gone through legal proceedings.
“These priests, deacons, monks and laypeople now teach middle-school math,” the AP’s Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer wrote. “They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and daycare centers. They foster and care for children. And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes.” (Source.)
What is the average settlement for clergy abuse in California?
The California dioceses have paid over $1 billion in settlements related to clergy abuse allegations since 2005. According to BishopAccountability.org, an organization that tracks clergy abuse cases, the reported average settlement for clergy sex abuse victims is approximately $268,000. These settlements result from legal actions taken by survivors of clergy abuse who have come forward with their allegations against the Catholic Church.
The average settlement amount for California clergy abuse cases can vary significantly based on several factors. These factors include the unique circumstances of each case, the severity of the harm experienced by the survivor, the strength of the evidence, and the negotiations between the parties involved. Confidentiality is a common practice in settlement agreements for clergy abuse cases. The purpose of maintaining confidentiality is to safeguard the privacy and well-being of the survivors. Consequently, limited public information regarding specific settlement amounts for these cases is available.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of clergy abuse in California, contact the child abuse lawyers at Ehline Law. We will provide personalized guidance based on specific circumstances and help survivors navigate the legal process. If you want to pursue appropriate compensation and justice, call (213) 596-9642 TODAY.
Call Us Today and Get a Free Consultation from Superior Archdiocese of Los Angeles Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Speaking with us means a pro will listen and help you focus on your bottom line. We help you seek justice and courageously file suit against the pastor or flock if necessary! At Ehline Law, we build a respectful attorney-client relationship because we care about victims! Thus, for that reason, we offer a no-obligation consultation to anyone seeking legal guidance from a compassionate advocate and committed clergy abuse attorney to file a sexual harassment claim against your abusers.
Obtaining justice during this challenging time is much easier with our advice and legal services. Call us today in confidence at (833) LETS-SUE! You can also use our online website contact form over email to discuss your important rights with a swift response.
Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.