Filing a lawsuit against the priest or clergy member who molested or assaulted you is incredibly difficult. In addition to being emotionally taxing, the process will likely involve significant legal hurdles. That’s where we come in. Our team can help you pursue a claim against the individual and/or the religious institution responsible for your trauma.
Many clergy sexual abuse victims say that holding the church accountable was an important part of the healing process. As more predators are being exposed, survivors are gaining the courage to come forward and seek compensation. Our Lansing clergy sexual abuse lawyers are here to hold predatory clergy members and the organizations who enable them accountable.
Good News for Sexual Abuse Victims in Michigan
In 2018, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed landmark legislation extending the statute of limitations for victims of sexual assault. This allows victims more time to file both criminal and civil complaints in Michigan. Since then, survivors have been able to file a civil case up to ten years after the abuse took place.
If a victim was a minor when the crime took place, they have until their 28th birthday to file or up to three years after realizing they were sexually assaulted.
The new extended time limit gives survivors time to remember and process what happened before pursuing damages. The legislation has made justice possible for many of the 300-plus individuals who have reported abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in Michigan.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
The State of Michigan Is Tough on Abusive Priests
When Attorney General Dana Nessel began investigating sexual misconduct in seven Catholic dioceses in 2018, she received hundreds of tips within the first year and continues to probe into these cases. In fact, in October of 2022, Nessel released a report of alleged abuse at Marquette Catholic Diocese based on information obtained from an earlier search warrant.
Similar investigations have been conducted across the country; however, our state was the first to serve each of its dioceses with warrants. Michigan officials, including Nessel, urge sexual assault victims to avoid discussing molestation and sexual assault allegations with the church and instead report these crimes to the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
We know how to get our clients the results they need in the toughest legal arenas.
Continued Clergy Sexual Abuse Investigations
In light of the sheer number of these cases and increasing media attention, the public is calling for religious organizations to make a concerted effort to prevent future sexual abuse. Due to the lack of accountability within certain religious organizations, advocates demand more legal intervention and an overhauled system of checks and balances.
The years of internal cover-ups have created a growing sentiment that the only way to uncover the truth is through the work of attorneys and law enforcement. As investigations continue, the longstanding tradition of sweeping criminal conduct under the rug in many religious organizations continues to be revealed.
In September 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Lansing released a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. Naming these Michigan priests is part of a nationwide trend to provide more transparency to the public about abuse allegations against priests, bishops, and other religious leaders. We are committed to helping the victims of these egregious crimes.
We understand that you may be going through a difficult situation and we are ready to help however we can.
Seeking Compensation as a Survivor of Clergy Sexual Abuse
The release of names by the Diocese of Lansing, ad other name releases like it, shows that sexual abuse within religious institutions is being handled differently than it has in the past.
Religious institutions in Michigan and elsewhere are now publicly acknowledging the problem and taking preventative action to prevent future incidents of abuse.
While the measures that have been taken to hold individuals and organizations accountable for sexual abuse are a step in the right direction, we realize there is still much to be done. It’s important to understand that you, as a victim, can make a difference by holding an organization liable for the sexual trauma you experienced in a religious setting.
If an institution’s negligence led to your abuse, you might be eligible to receive compensation from the organization that failed to keep you safe. While every case is unique, contacting a clergy sexual abuse lawyer in Laning, MI, could lead to you recovering a substantial settlement.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
Michigan Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Claims
There is a time limit for filing a clergy sexual abuse claim, so it’s important to keep that in mind when considering taking legal action against individual clergy or the church.
Michigan laws have made it easier than ever to pursue clergy sexual assault claims by extending the statute of limitations for sex crimes. Thanks to Michigan Compiled Law § 600.5851b, incidents of criminal sexual conduct have their own statute of limitations.
Depending on how old a plaintiff was when the abuse happened, they may be able to file a claim 20 or so years later. In some cases, older victims may be able to file a claim within three years of realizing they were abused or making a connection between an injury and criminal sexual behavior.
Suing a Deceased Priest
Even if the priest has passed away, you can still sue the deceased priest’s estate.
That said, many victims choose to file civil claims against either the Catholic diocese or the church where their abuse took place.
This is often possible since employers are generally considered responsible for the actions of their employees.
Contact a Lansing Clergy Abuse Lawyer
When you are ready to file a clergy sexual abuse claim, White Law PLLC can help. A member of our team can determine whether you have a strong case and if so, we will stand at your side through each step of the litigation process.
If you have been harmed by the criminal sexual misconduct of a clergy member in Michigan, there are steps you can take to seek justice. First, report the crime to the Attorney General’s office. Next, reach out to one of our Lansing sexual abuse lawyers either online or by phone.
We look forward to representing you.
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