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Illinois Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Whether you were sexually abused years ago or your child has become the victim of clergy sexual abuse, you have the right to take action. A clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Levin & Perconti can help you file a claim and demand financial accountability from your abuser and the religious institution responsible for the misconduct.

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We trust members of the church and clergy. We welcome them into our lives. Many times, they become an extension of our families. Sadly, this trust can be violated when a member of the clergy crosses the line, and lives can be shattered.

If a member of the clergy has sexually abused you or a loved one, it’s important to understand what legal rights and options are available to you. You may have the right to file a lawsuit and demand accountability. The clergy sexual abuse lawyers at Levin & Perconti can help you fight to maximize your financial recovery.

Since 1992, Levin & Perconti has been a leading advocate for victims of sexual abuse and grieving families across the nation. Collectively, our award-winning trial attorneys have 200+ years of experience and have won over $1 billion in benefits, settlements, and verdicts for clients like you.

You deserve better. Don’t let the church bury the abuse or refuse to accept responsibility for the devastation its clergy has caused. Contact our sexual abuse lawyers in Chicago to set up a time for a free, no-obligation case evaluation today. 

Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer if I’ve been sexually abused by a clergy member?

Allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct have gained national attention in recent years. Clergy from several major religious institutions have been involved in child sex scandals, including:

  • The Catholic Church
  • The Church of Scientology
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Evangelical Christians
  • Southern Baptist Church
  • Mormons and the Church of Latter-Day Saints
  • Orthodox Judaism 

This is a systemic problem, and it’s not enough to hold the individual abuser personally responsible for the trauma and harm they inflict on their victims. Religious institutions, as a whole, must be forced to accept responsibility, take action, make changes, and properly compensate young victims.

By bringing a lawsuit against these powerful institutions, you can be a part of this movement, demanding that the church protect children from dangerous predators and abuse. As painful as it may be to relive the trauma you experienced at the hands of a clergy member, your courage could save lives.

Even if the church never publicly admits wrongdoing, every victim who speaks out amplifies the voices of others and their warning that abuse will not be tolerated. Together, the survivors of clergy sex abuse can put an end to the exploitation and victimization of innocent children.

How do you prove clergy sexual abuse? What can you do when the priest, rabbi, minister, or another member of the clergy refuses to admit their wrongdoing? How do you put a value on the pain, suffering, and emotional distress the clergy sexual abuse has inflicted?

These are questions you don’t have to answer on your own. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are here to stand beside you during this trying time and fight to secure the financial accountability you need and deserve.

We’re trusted advocates who have won record-setting results for clients like you. Our law firm has the resources to match the oldest and most formidable religious organizations. We’re ready to invest whatever finances, manpower, and time are necessary to get you the best possible outcome in your clergy sexual assault case.

You take the time you need to focus on healing from the trauma of abuse and moving forward with your life while we:

  • Investigate the circumstances surrounding the abuse
  • Determine if there have been other complaints of child sexual abuse involving the institution or clergy member
  • Gather evidence to prove the abusive conduct
  • Subpoena and interview witnesses who may have relevant information, documents, or testimony to offer
  • Consult with specialists on child sexual abuse, psychologists, trauma counselors, medical professionals, and other experts who may be able to offer insight into your case
  • Handle negotiations with the institution, defense attorneys, insurance company, and other parties

The sooner you face the psychological effects of abuse, the sooner you can begin the process of healing. So, in addition to our litigation-related undertakings, your legal team will connect you with therapists and other mental health professionals who can address the emotional toll of the abuse as soon as possible.

We can facilitate mental health care — typically paid for by the church — and in some cases, arrange for the therapist to testify as a witness.

There’s no excuse for clergy members to sexually abuse a child. As your attorneys, we will ensure that those responsible for this reprehensible behavior are brought to justice. While our goal will be to resolve your case through a settlement, we will approach and prepare it as if it’s going to trial in the event that the church refuses to acknowledge the trauma or negotiate fairly.

Understanding Liability in Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases

Whether you were abused as a child or discover that a member of the clergy has abused your child, it’s important to understand who can be held legally (and financially) responsible for the resulting injuries, costs, and trauma.

Ultimately, you can file a clergy sexual assault claim against the individual abuser and anyone else who contributed to the abuse. This can include the institutional religious organizations and dioceses themselves. 

Members of the clergy are employees of religious organizations. The institutions are responsible for hiring competent and trustworthy individuals to represent the organization and interact with members. When a clergy member abuses a child or another member of the church, the institution can be vicariously liable for the actions.

The institution can also be independently liable for child sexual abuse by a clergy member if it knew, or should have known, about the abuse or potential for abuse but did nothing to protect the child. 

Clergy sexual abuse cases can be based on torts, including:

  • Assault and battery
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • Negligent hiring

Our law firm will carefully review the circumstances of the abuse in your case and determine all potential avenues for financial recovery. We will build a strategy that identifies all liable parties and holds everyone accountable.

Who can file a clergy sexual abuse claim?

You may be eligible to bring an action for sexual abuse against a member of the clergy or a religious institution if you fall into one of these categories:

  • Children who are currently victims of clergy sexual abuse, and their families
  • Adults who are currently victims of clergy sexual abuse
  • Adults who were sexually abused by clergy members as children

Many states have passed legislation extending the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse and assault, giving adults additional time to take action and hold their abusers accountable.

Is there a time limit for filing a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit?

Yes, each state has a statute of limitations that will limit the time a survivor of clergy sexual abuse can file a lawsuit. The specific time you have to take action will depend on where you live and when the abuse occurred. This can range anywhere between one year and several years.

With so many allegations of clergy sexual abuse coming to light, many states have extended the statute of limitations in clergy sexual abuse cases or provided an extended lookback window, including:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

On January 1, 2020, Illinois officially repealed its statute of limitations for situations involving criminal child sexual abuse. Under Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/3-6, there is no time limit for coming forward or filing a claim in criminal matters.

The statute of limitations in civil cases involving minors is typically 20 years from the date of knowledge of the abuse and of particular damage. If you have questions about the time limit to file or particular damage, which refers to special damage resulting from the specific circumstances of your case, talk to your attorney.

Our clergy sexual abuse attorneys in Chicago are ready to help you understand your rights and begin the process of getting you the compensation you deserve.

Compensation Available to Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

As a survivor of childhood clergy sexual abuse, you may have the right to recover compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are paid to make up for the financial costs and losses related to clergy sexual abuse, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Therapy
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Reduced earning capacity

Non-economic damages are paid to compensate for the difficult-to-value trauma and life changes that clergy sexual abuse can cause, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Embarrassment

Punitive damages aren’t awarded to make you financially whole or to make up for the unimaginable suffering you’ve experienced. Instead, they’re intended to punish the clergy member or religious institution for such unspeakable actions. 

At Levin & Perconti, our clergy sexual abuse lawyers will actively pursue all damages available to you under Illinois state law. We’ll work closely with experts and specialists as we take on your case, relying on their insight to help us understand the full scope and impact of the abuse.

Speak with a Trusted Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today

Were you sexually abused by a member of your church or religious institution as a child? Are you a recent victim of clergy sexual abuse? Take action and call Levin & Perconti to fight for you. Our lawyers have 200+ years of combined experience representing victims of abuse and neglect. 

We work on contingency, which means there’s no out-of-pocket cost to hire our law firm. You only pay us a percentage of your financial recovery if we win your clergy sexual abuse case.

Contact our law office in Chicago to set up a free consultation. We’re available around the clock.