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Crime Victim Law Blog

North Charleston Church Volunteer Arrested for Sexually Abusing a Child

Today, it was reported that Jacop Robert Lee Hazlett was arrested for sexually abusing a child while volunteering as a chaperone at NewSprings Church in North Charleston, South Carolina. Hazlett, 28, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Women religious urge reporting and action on sexual abuse

The Catholic Church has been under significant scrutiny for its protection of serial sexual abusers for decades.

Now, perhaps prompted by social movements and revelations of the extent to which the Church has allowed abuse to occur, The International Union of Superiors General has spoken out against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and its historical tradition of secrecy and silence. The organization, which includes half a million Sisters across the world, urged their own members to report sexual abuse and help victims to report abuse and seek justice. In the statement, UISG pledges to help any women religious who has suffered abuse to "be a listening presence" and do what they can to help the woman bring the complaint to appropriate organizations, including law enforcement agencies.

The fight to protect negligent organizations continues

There are some who believe that the fight to hold organizations like the Catholic Church accountable for covering up sexual abuse has been won. In the face of almost universal public condemnation for those who enable child sexual abuse, it can seem unimaginable that there could be another side. Sadly, the same organizations who covered up the deplorable abuse of their members have continued the fight to deny victims any measure of justice. The fight has simply moved to whether victims deserve compensation, and from whom.

Lobbying for injustice

Child sexual abuse survivors demand statute of limitations reform

On Oct. 15, survivors of childhood sexual abuse and supporters were at the Pennsylvania state capitol to pressure legislators to open a “window of justice.”

Demonstrators held signs demanding a “#WindowToJustice,” which would allow survivors of sexual abuse for whom the civil window has closed to file a retroactive civil claim against an abuser. Some of the Senate hallway occupants took turns reading from the almost 900-page state grand jury report released two months ago, which details the sexual abuse of around 1,000 children committed by 301 priests.

Sexual abuse is a problem in institutions, Catholic and otherwise

The sweeping Pennsylvania grand jury report involving six Catholic dioceses operating in the state has drawn substantial attention to the problem of sexual abuse of children in these institutions. One Catholic group has responded by asking officials all over the country to investigate cases of sexual abuse involving public schools. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights wrote a letter asking for sexual abuse investigations to take a wider view. While this may seem like an attempt to distract from the misconduct tied to the Catholic church, it is undeniable that all schools, religious and secular, public and private, owe a duty to their students that includes the prevention of sexual abuse.

How To Choose the Right Lawyer for a Sexual Abuse Case

Choosing the right lawyer to represent you or a loved one in a sexual abuse case can be difficult. Because sexual abuse cases often result in large settlements or jury verdicts, there are many lawyers who advertise for these cases. However, just because a lawyer advertises for a certain type of case does not mean the lawyer is skilled or experienced in handling that type of case. In fact, there are no ethical rules which prohibit a lawyer from advertising that they handle sexual abuse cases even though they have never handled one before. Personal Injury and class actions lawyers often begin to advertise for these types of cases as soon as they read about them in the news. Their strategy sometimes is to sign up as many cases as possible and try to figure out how to the handle the cases, or else ship them off for a referral fee to a lawyer who focuses their practice on representing victims of sexual abuse.

Catholic Church in Pennsylvania Considers Creating a Fund to Pay Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

In recent weeks there has been much discussion about a compensation fund that would be set up by the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania to pay victims of child sexual abuse. The idea of the fund comes at a time when the church is under fire by the recent statewide grand jury report. In the report, the grand jury recommended a change in the civil statute of limitations that would revive previously expired claims made by victims of child sexual abuse.

Greensburg Catholic Diocese covered for abusive priests

On August 14, 2018, Pennsylvania's Attorney General released a long-awaited grand jury report that showed top Roman Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania covered up decades of child sex abuse involving 300 priests and more than 1,000 victims. The grand jury report covered six Pennsylvania Catholic Diocese: the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of Greensburg, the Dioceses of Erie, the Diocese of Scranton, and the Diocese of Allentown.

Allentown Catholic Diocese covered for abusive priests

On August 14, 2018, Pennsylvania's Attorney General released a long-awaited grand jury report that showed top Roman Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania covered up decades of child sex abuse involving 300 priests and more than 1,000 victims. The grand jury report covered six Pennsylvania Catholic Diocese: the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of Greensburg, the Dioceses of Erie, the Diocese of Scranton, and the Diocese of Allentown. 

Erie Catholic Diocese covered for abusive priests

On August 14, 2018, Pennsylvania's Attorney General released a long-awaited grand jury report that showed top Roman Catholic leaders in Pennsylvania covered up decades of child sex abuse involving 300 priests and more than 1,000 victims. The grand jury report covered six Pennsylvania Catholic Diocese: the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of Greensburg, the Dioceses of Erie, the Diocese of Scranton, and the Diocese of Allentown.

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