Clergy Abuse

Lawyers for Victims of Sexual Misconduct in the Chicago Area

If you were sexually abused by a clergy member, or if you suspect that a clergy member is abusing a minor, you should consult a Chicago clergy abuse lawyer. In the Catholic Church, many people in authority were notified about abusive priests, yet they failed to act appropriately in response. Many abusive clergy were able to exploit their positions for decades. In 2019, Pope Francis issued a new decree requiring Vatican City officials and diplomats around the world to promptly report any allegations of clergy abuse, or face potential jail time. The decree includes a new statute of limitations for people victimized as children. While this statute of limitations does not affect parishes or congregations in the United States, many states throughout the country have changed their statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims, allowing for many victims of clergy abuse to pursue justice and compensation in the courts. In Illinois, courts have permitted victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits under various circumstances, regardless of when the abuse occurred, where there was repressed memory or fraudulent concealment on the part of the Church regarding their knowledge of the priest’s predatory conduct.

Signs of Clergy Sexual Abuse

There are many signs of potential clergy abuse. Conduct that might indicate child sexual abuse includes failing to abide by social cues related to others’ personal boundaries, maintaining a special child friend, spending substantial spare time with children, showing little interest in spending time with peers, connecting sexuality and aggression in language or behavior, encouraging silence and secrets in children, describing children with sexual words, watching child pornography, defending poor choices or harmful acts, making bad decisions while misusing drugs or alcohol, and minimizing the harmfulness of actions or words in spite of a clear negative impact.

Liability for Clergy Abuse

A clergy abuse attorney can help Chicago residents hold religious organizations and orders liable in tort for clergy sexual abuse under various causes of action. For example, it may be possible to hold a Diocese liable for harm caused by clergy abuse based on fraudulent concealment. A court may find a special relationship of trust and confidence between a child parishioner and the Church or a priest. If there is a special relationship, a Diocese owes an affirmative duty to reveal to the plaintiff facts that would allow the plaintiff to discover a cause of action for sexual abuse. Failing to reveal a history of abusing minors can be treated as fraudulent concealment.

Victims of priest abuse have filed negligence lawsuits against the Archdiocese or Diocese for their failure to warn parishioners, parents, children, and the public about the predatory conduct of priests, which they all too often were aware of. Clergy abuse attorneys have also filed claims against the Diocese for its failure to protect children.

It may be possible to hold a church directly liable for negligent hiring and supervision. To establish negligent hiring, a plaintiff and their attorney will need to prove that an employer knew or should have known that an employee had a specific unfitness for the position, the specific unfitness was known or should have been known at the time of the employee’s hiring or retention, and the specific unfitness was the legal cause of the plaintiff’s harm. To show negligent supervision, your Chicago clergy abuse attorney will need to show that the Church, as an employer, knew or should have known that its employee was acting dangerously, but it still failed to adequately supervise the employee.

Clergymen Accused in Illinois

The following are some of the clergymen from the Archdiocese of Illinois who have been accused of abuse: Alexander Sylvester Baranowski, Richard Barry Bartz, Robert C. Becker, Joseph R. Bennett, Leonard Adolph Bogdan, Robert Peter Bowman, David Francis Braun, Kenneth Brigham, Daniel Peter Buck, Eugene Patrick Burns, John Walter Calicott, William J. Cloutier, Robert D. Craig, John Curran, Norman J. Czajka, Walter George DeRoeck, Francis Emil Dilla, Richard Wayne Fassbinder, Joseph L. Fitzharris, James Vincent Flosi, Robert Friese, Jesus P. Garza, James C. Hagan, John Edward Hefferan, James Hoder, Michael J. Hogan, Daniel M. Holihan, Walter Edward Huppenbauer, Thomas J. Job, Robert Louis Kealy, John James Keehan, Thomas F. Kelly, John Joseph Keough, Joseph P. Kissane, Leonard Paul Kmak, William L. Lupo, Norbet J. Maday, Robert E. Mayer, Vincent E. McCaffrey, Robert Joseph McDonald, Peter John McNamara, Gary M. Miller, Donald John Mulsoff, William J. O’Brien, Joseph Owens, Emmanuel Pallakunnen, James M. Ray, John Allen Robinson, John F. Rohrich, Russell L. Romano, Kenneth C. Ruge, Joseph E. Savage, Raymond Skriba, Marion J. Snieg, James R. Steel, Victor Stewart, Ralph S. Strand, Thomas J. Swade, Henry P. Swider, Albert Tanghal, Richard Gregory Theisen, Joseph S. Thomas, Walter J. Turlo, Donald Francis Ulatowski, Anthony Joseph Vader, and Michael Weston.

Hire a Dedicated Clergy Abuse Lawyer in Chicago

If you were a victim of clergy sexual abuse, or you are a parent of a child who has been abused by a clergy member, you should consult Joel Gould Law Offices. We represent people throughout Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, and Kane Counties. Mówimy Po Polsku. Contact us at 773-281-8744 or through our online form for a free consultation.

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