The repeated sexual abuse of young boys by the Catholic priests and ministers has made headlines worldwide. In general, these allegations claim that the Church was negligent in allowing these instances of sexual abuse to occur. Other claims allege the Church took active steps to cover up the incidents and to protect their clergy members.
While the Church may decline to act, the court system provides victims of abuse a path to justice. Civil lawsuits for damages can be filed against the Church for allowing this abuse to occur. These cases demand compensation for the permanent harm caused by the negligence of the institution and its leaders.
If you are looking to pursue a Michigan clergy sexual abuse claim, call a lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. for help. Our attorneys have experience handling these types of claims and will work to investigate your case, discover the role of the Church, and demand appropriate compensation in a settlement or in court.
Suing the Catholic Church for Priest Sex Abuse
The Catholic Church occupies an interesting position in the legal world. On one hand, they are a religious group that offers services in the community. On the other hand, they are an employer of priests and other clergy members, such as ministers.
When the Church offers positions to members of the congregation, such as altar boys, they assume a duty of care for the wellbeing of these children. It follows that the Church also has a duty to oversee the actions of its employees—the clergy.
Since employers are liable for the actions of their employees, the Catholic Church can be liable for any sexual abuse that their clergy members commit against children. Several recent investigations proved that the Church concealed incidents of known sex abuse, but also relocated known priest offenders to other churches where new children become abused by the same offender.
In fact, the Church has admitted as such on many occasions, by paying out settlements to children who were the victims of abuse. This is why it is essential for anyone looking to pursue a sexual abuse claim against a clergy member in Michigan to contact a lawyer.
Compensation & Settlements in Church Lawsuits
While no amount of money can ever pay for the harm caused by sex abuse, it is a way compensation a victim for life altering experiences. Settlement amounts vary on a case by case basis, but many have resulted in multi-million dollar payouts.
Many victims suffer severe psychological damages, including anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder that last into adulthood. These affect their relationships with others and their inability to lead a normal life. This includes the ability to work at a steady job and to enjoy everyday things like other people.
Many victims also suffer physical injuries caused by the psychological harm endured over many years. These are all compensable under the law. Settlements include payment for medical care, past, present, and future as well.
How Much Time Do I Have to File A Clergy Abuse Lawsuit?
The misdeeds of the Catholic Church in relation to sexual abuse have come to light in the past twenty years. However, this does not mean that instances of abuse did not occur before this. This has created an interesting legal dilemma, since the traditional statutes of limitations controlled how long a person had to demand compensation after an injury or abuse.
Because these abusive acts affected children, the true nature of the abuse may not become apparent for many years after the fact. Additional attempts by the Church to cover up the abuses would have left victims unable to demand compensation under the traditional statute of limitations, as a result.
Thankfully, Michigan laws have now rectified this problem regarding clergy sexual abuse claims. According to Michigan Compiled Law 600.5851b, instances of sexual abuse that violate the criminal code have their own special statute of limitations.
Under this statute, a plaintiff may bring a claim for any actions that occurred while they were a child, at any time before their 28th birthday. In other cases, they may file a claim within three years of discovering the abuse, or making a connection between an injury and criminal sexual conduct. In this way, many potential plaintiffs can now demand compensation as an adult for abuse that occurred while they were a child.
Retain an Attorney to File a Michigan Clergy Sexual Abuse Claim
The Catholic Church has known about the sexual predations of their priests, ministers, and other clergy for decades, but that they took active steps to hide the truth. Finally, people are feeling comfortable about coming forward concerning their experiences and demanding justice and fair compensation.
If you are looking to pursue a Michigan clergy sexual abuse claim, a lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. can help. We will guide you through each step of this process and work to determine if you have a case. We do not charge any legal fees until you receive your settlement check. To get started, contact us today.
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