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Clergy and Sex Abuse Cases

  • February 3, 2020
  • KBA Attorneys
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People must file lawsuits within a certain amount of time. If not, the claim is lost forever. The relevant laws are statutes of limitations.

Survivors of childhood abuse have been unable to sue for their injuries. They have shouldered the damages of those injuries. Those lost damages can include bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering.

We now know that churches and other organizations were aware of the sexual abuse of children. They failed to stop it. States have changed their laws to allow survivors to pursue claims beyond the statute of limitations. Survivors are now bringing lawsuits against religious organizations, Boy Scouts, schools, and other institutions.  Survivors in Virginia may be able to do so just like those in New York, New Jersey, and California.

A Statute of Limitations Revival Bill Passed the Virginia House

Virginia makes law just like the federal government does. A bill (proposed law) passes the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, which is a legislative body like Congress in Washington, DC. Then the Governor has to sign it for it to become law.

KBA attorney Derek T. Braslow, is a Partner to Ketterer Brown Associates, LLC, Derek chairs the Firm’s Sexual Assault Litigation Group. He works on clergy and other sexual assault cases around the country. He reported today that a new bill passed the House. The following law is significant.

House Bill 610 “[c]reates a two-year time period, on or after July 1, 2020, but before July 1, 2022, within which persons previously time-barred from filing an action for injury to such person for sexual abuse occurring during the infancy or incapacity of such person due to the expiration of the statute of limitations may file such an action.” In other words, survivors of sexual assault from decades ago at the hands of priests, teachers, or scout leaders, may have two years to bring lawsuits. This has forced organizations like the church and scouts to settle lawsuits by providing access to counseling services and/or monetary compensation. Accordingly, Virginia survivors may have new rights soon.

Sexual Abuse Survivors Have Rights

Survivors may have a civil claim that a lawyer could bring on their behalf. These are sensitive cases that can be complex; it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss one’s options.