Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed the “Child Victims Act” into law, eliminating the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse who had previously been barred from suing their abusers.
In April, the Maryland Attorney General released the results of his four-year investigation into sexual abuse perpetrated on more than 600 children and teens by members of the Roman Catholic clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The attorney general believes the actual number of victims of the sexual predators in the Archdiocese was far more.
The report identifies the clergy who abused children and teens and details their actions and the evidence against many of them. While noting that the leadership of the Archdiocese did nothing to stem the sexual abuse and torture carried out by its clergy, the report does not identify the names of those in the hierarchy that staunchly supported its clergy. At the time, church leaders defended the accused and sometimes assigned the priest predators to a different parish without warning parishioners.
The depth and breadth of the sexually predatory behavior carried out by at least 158 priests in the Archdiocese over approximately 60 years has deeply shocked contemporary minds. For those who have carried their abuse in their hearts, minds, and flesh for decades, the report offers a societal revelation of what they were made to bear as children so long ago.
Riding on the heels of the release of the report, the Child Victims Act is a law that offers full support to the accounts and the wounds of those who were victims of the priests and the Archdiocese. The law eliminates the statute of limitations—the time in which a lawsuit can be brought in court—for childhood survivors of sexual abuse. Said Teresa Lancaster, a survivor of the clergy abuse, “It doesn’t feel real. It really doesn’t,” We’ve been denied so many times.” The law goes into effect in October 2023.
Although most of the priests involved in the abuse are deceased, survivors can now file lawsuits against the Archdiocese, an institution that was “complicit” in the rape and sexual abuse committed by its priests, according to the report of the attorney general. As noted in the report, many of the survivors of these abuses have aged without having spoken of their experience. While the Church once ignored the harm done by its practitioners, the new law will focus on the individual injury and harm caused by the Church, regardless of the current age of those long-ago children.
If you suffered sexual or clergy abuse, speak with our legal team. We offer experienced legal guidance and awareness of the pervasive damage caused by sexual abuse. As with all of our clients, our representation is personalized and private. We give voice to those whose lives were violated by the criminal actions of abusers through deliberate, dedicated legal service.
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If you suffered sexual abuse by the clergy, a coach, or others, our law firm has successful experience pursuing rightful compensation for survivors of sexual abuse. While money cannot change the past, it can ease the scars that remain for you and your family. Our firm does not charge clients fees and expenses at the outset, but is paid only after we recover a settlement or compensation on your behalf.
We respect your privacy and well-being. Contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland.