We are supposed to be able to trust priests and members of the clergy. We rely on them for spiritual direction. We depend on them to lead churches. We look to them to promote justice and peace in society.
That’s what makes clergy sexual abuse so unimaginable. However, dioceses in Missouri have identified numerous Roman Catholic priests who were credibly accused of sexually assaulting and molesting young children (and adults). To be sure, this news has rocked local churches and communities. But it’s done far more to victims. For many, it’s caused a crisis of faith and resulted in years of pain, confusion, and shame.
Many victims are starting to speak out about their abuse and the resulting trauma. Many brave survivors are taking legal action against the church to get justice and ensure this never happens again. Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers is part of this movement.
Our compassionate clergy abuse lawyers in St. Louis, MO are here to help survivors hold the church accountable for its failure to protect adults and young children from abusive priests. We have decades of experience handling sexual assault cases and have won tens of millions for our clients.
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How Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Clergy Abuse Claim in St. Louis
You deserve justice if you suffered abuse from a priest, pastor, minister, bishop, or another clergy member. At Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers, we know how difficult it can be to speak up about assault and relive the trauma of the abuse. We can be your voice. We will be your advocate. We will fight for your rights and help you get justice.
Our law firm has over three decades of experience in personal injury law. We’ve recovered millions for victims of sexual assault and abuse, including a $30,000,000 judgment.
When you hire our St. Louis personal injury lawyers, we will:
- Investigate the circumstances of your abuse and gather evidence
- Identify all liable parties in your case, including your abusers, church, diocese, or others
- Calculate your damages and determine the value of your claim
- Work with experts and specialists to strengthen your case
- Handle all communications and negotiations on your behalf
- Stand up for your rights in court
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-pressure consultation with a St. Louis personal injury attorney. Here you’ll find a listening ear and a compassionate advocate ready to fight for you.
Overview of Clergy Abuse in St. Louis
The problem of clergy abuse in St. Louis is extensive. The Archdiocese of St. Louis has issued a document naming nearly 70 priests and clerics who had been credibly accused of molesting or assaulting children.
The diocese has emphasized that the accused clergy members were no longer serving in ministry. They also claim that the accusations relate to misconduct that occurred in 2002 or prior.
Although the document from the Archdiocese was a step in the right direction, it likely underrepresents the extent of clergy abuse in St. Louis. Many survivors have yet to come forward to reveal their abuse and identify other perpetrators — they may never come forward.
If you were abused or assaulted by a clergy member, you have rights. If you are ready to speak out, we can help. You can trust our team to treat you with compassion and sensitivity. We offer confidential consultations and will keep your information privileged until you authorize us to take legal action.
Contact us today to talk to one of our experienced St. Louis clergy abuse lawyers.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Clergy Abuse?
Survivors of sexual abuse face many long-term effects from their assaults. Some are physical. Many are emotional and relational.
Many victims experience:
- Mental health challenges, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and emotional distress
- Substance abuse disorders involving alcohol and drugs
- Relationship difficulties, including withdrawal, isolation, trust issues
- Sexual risk behavior, including sexual dysfunction and a higher likelihood of further sexual abuse.
- Physical harm, such as scarring, internal injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, and other injuries.
If you’ve experienced these or other symptoms after suffering sexual abuse, you are not alone — and you are not to blame. At Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers, we work to help survivors get justice and financial compensation for all the harm they’ve experienced. We want to help you move forward and get the closure you deserve.
What Are the Legal Options For Recovering Compensation for Clergy Abuse in Missouri?
Survivors of sexual abuse have a few different avenues for pursuing compensation from their abuser and/or the institution that failed to protect them from the abuse.
Many survivors might pursue criminal charges against their abuser and/or members of the church who facilitated or covered up the abuse. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office is responsible for criminal investigations and prosecutions of clergy members and church officials connected with sexual abuse. In many cases, they may ask victims to serve as witnesses against their abuser(s).
Criminal cases, if successful, will typically result in criminal consequences for the defendants, including prison time and fines. Victims may receive some form of restitution, but it’s not guaranteed.
The advantage of criminal prosecutions is seeing your abuser being held to account by the state for what they did.
You can also hold your abuser and/or the church responsible for your assault in civil court. This proceeding will be distinct from any criminal prosecutions concerning the same events.
A civil lawsuit will give you the opportunity to pursue damages from your abuser/the church for the harms and losses you’ve experienced due to the sexual abuse. In these cases, you can seek economic damages for your financial losses related to the abuse, including medical expenses, lost income, counseling, and other costs.
You can also seek non-economic damages for the personal losses you’ve experienced, including your pain and suffering, emotional distress, reduced quality of life, and other emotional or psychological losses.
You may even be able to seek punitive damages. Rather than compensate you for losses, punitive damages punish your abuser and/or the church for the abuse.
Statute of Limitations for Clergy Sexual Abuse Claims in Missouri
In Missouri, the typical personal injury statute of limitations is five years. However, Missouri has an extended deadline for victims of childhood sexual abuse. These survivors have until their 31st birthday or three years after they discover the sexual abuse to file a claim against their abuser, whichever is later.
Survivors have until their 26th birthday to file a lawsuit against the church or another party who facilitated or covered up the abuse.
These time limits can be extremely technical. Bradley Law Firm Personal injury lawyers encourage survivors to contact us to discuss the statute of limitations for their case — regardless of how much time has passed since the abuse. We can help you understand the deadlines in your case and advise you of your rights.
Contact Our Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Schedule a Free Consultation
Taking legal action against your abuser or the church may seem overwhelming. We’ll be here for you every step of the way. You can trust us to listen to your story and help you understand your rights. We’ll protect those rights at every stage of your case.
You don’t have to feel like you’re alone after experiencing childhood priest abuse. Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers can help you seek justice.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a clergy abuse lawyer in St. Louis. Let us take over the fight for justice and accountability.