Crime Victim Law Blog

Catholic Clergy sexual abuse victims may soon have more time to file lawsuits

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.

The grand jury also recommended a series of legal changes members believe would be beneficial moving forward.

Pittsburgh 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.

Title IX finds female professor responsible for sexual harassment

After a 11-month Title IX investigation, a professor at New York University was found to be responsible for sexual harassment. It’s not uncommon for sexual and emotional abuse to happen within educational institutions. What is striking, however, is the fact that the perpetrator is female.

Young athletes increasingly coming forward about sexual abuse

One hundred former Ohio State students have revealed that a team doctor sexually abused them, according to an internal Ohio State investigation released on Friday, July 20. This was only days after former members of the USA and Michigan State University Gymnastics team received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs, the annual sports awards ceremony. The former high-profile gymnasts received the award for publicly sharing their stories about suffering sexual abuse from Larry Nassar, the MSU doctor now serving life in prison.

The investigation revealed that between 1979 and 1997, Richard Strauss, the now-deceased former team physician at Ohio State, groped patients, conducted unnecessary genital exams and otherwise engaged in sexual misconduct with male students under his care. He was responsible for the care of student-athletes participating in 14 different sports.

Court motion filed to give diocese victims the right to speak

Many brave sexual abuse victims have spoken publicly to draw attention to just how widespread sexual assault and sexual abuse really are. As part of the movement to give voice to victims, nondisclosure agreements have come under scrutiny, including from lawmakers in a number of states.

Confidentiality agreements were a major tool of the church, others

Rise in sexual assaults on commercial airlines has FBI baffled

As anyone who has flown in recent years knows, commercial airlines take safety seriously. Yet one danger is increasing – sexual assaults mid-flight.

On June 20, the FBI noted that reported sexual assaults have increased by two-thirds on flights since 2014. FBI special agents admit that sexual assaults on flights may remain under-reported.

When workplace pressure becomes emotional abuse

Let's face it, most of us have worked for bosses who blew their stack at the drop of a hat; or worked in an office where the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. In many cases, the stress is induced by one or two people who seem to thrive on the negative energy. It's their reason for getting out of bed every morning. For the rest of us, though, making it through the day working with them can be a challenge that we can't leave behind us at the office.

But when does the office pressure cooker become more than just the ups and downs of the daily business grind? At what point does a hard-working professional get to blow the whistle to warn their boss or co-worker(s) that the line has been crossed? We'll use this post to discuss what the law says about pursuing civil litigation against emotional abusers in the workplace.

Erie Catholic priest charged with sex crimes against children

The longstanding tradition of clergy abuse and subsequent cover ups by religious organizations has shown itself again in Pennsylvania. A recent grand jury investigation has revealed the names of 34 priests against whom there is compelling evidence of child sexual abuse.

As part of the statewide investigation, a 64-year-old Catholic priest from Oil City has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting two boys, according to Penn Live. Father David Poulson, who served as a priest for approximately 40 years, faces felony charges related to sexual abuse perpetrated on many occasions against two boys starting when one of the children was eight years old, according to an announcement from Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Founder of #MeToo talks about helping survivors

The founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, recently spoke at Michigan State University. MSU has been in the news recently because of Larry Nassar, the USA gymnastics doctor who was sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing gymnasts he pretended to treat. Nassar worked for MSU.

At the event, Burke said she was not there to provide publicity to MSU. Instead, she said she was there to speak directly to victims of sexual assault. According to Burke, #MeToo is about a community of victims, not their attackers. She said she has been disappointed that the focus has shifted from survivors. She said she started the movement as “a declaration. It was about these women standing up and saying that they had experienced these things collectively,” reported The Detroit Free Press.

Holding prison staff accountable for harassment and abuse

Prison is a place to house those found guilty of a crime, not a place for crimes to be committed. However, sexual assault is an all too familiar part of prison life, especially for incarcerated women. As awareness of sexual assault increases, it’s worth noting that it affects all arenas of life.

As the #MeToo movement has shined a spotlight on sexual harassment and assault, one notable consistency whether it was in Hollywood, politics or elsewhere, is that people in power are often taking advantage of those of lower rank. The prison system is to provide care, custody and control of prisoners, which fits into this power dynamic.

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