Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania Religious Institutions
Even though the Catholic Church has received the most attention, sexual assault is not limited to any one religious institution. In recent years, both the Baptist and Methodist Churches have come under fire for their handling of sexual abuse cases. Allegations of sexual assault have been made against almost every religion on every continent, meaning no place of worship is safe from those who hope to prey on the innocent who are seeking nothing more than solace and safety.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by someone within your religious institution, be reassured that the law is on your side. The perpetrator will be held accountable and justice will prevail. Clergymen are not exempt from punishment if they break the law – anyone who harms another person should face consequences, regardless of their profession or social standing.
It’s critical that you contact a sexual assault lawyer who is experienced in situations involving religious institutions. You can trust them to listen carefully to your story and believe it, hold the wrongdoers accountable, and help to prevent other victims from having to endure what you’ve gone through. A skilled and tenacious sexual assault lawyer for victims can assist you in obtaining the financial compensation necessary for your recovery so that you can continue on with your life.
Experienced Sexual Abuse Lawyer Fighting For Victims Of Abuse
If you have been sexually abused or assaulted by your church or other religious institution, we can help. We offer free, completely confidential initial consultations to help survivors of sexual abuse find healing, closure and justice through litigation.
We have handled cases involving a wide range of religious institutions in the U.S. and throughout Pennsylvania, including:
Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse
- Catholic archdioceses and dioceses across the country.
Jewish Synagogue Sexual Abuse
- Orthodox Jewish communities, which have allowed Rabbis and the leaders of religious schools to engage in predatory behavior.
Jehovah’s Witness Sexual Abuse
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been found responsible for encouraging abuse victims to stay silent and cover up misbehavior from members of the congregation
Mormon LDS Church Sexual Abuse
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sexual abuse involving Mormon missionaries and Missionary Training Centers has come to light in recent years.
Protestant and Evangelical Church Sexual Abuse
- Protestant and Evangelical churches. The majority of sexual abuse cases happen in Protestant and Evangelical churches, which have the largest number of members in the U.S.
Pennsylvania Statute Of Limitations Update
In 2019, the statute of limitations for bringing a sexual abuse case in Pennsylvania was changed from age 30 to age 55.
The law change was not retroactive, so it still excludes some victims from bringing claims.
If you were sexually abused in Pennsylvania and are seeking to pursue a civil case against the church (or any other organization that you believe is responsible for your abuse) you must do so before you turn 55 years old.
Many victims in cases that were time-barred before 2019 remain time-barred by the new legislation.
Two bills are currently in play in the PA legislature, HB2 which would open a 2-year revival window for expired claims of sexual abuse of minors. It would also retroactively remove sovereign and government immunity for civil child sex abuse claims. SB1, which includes a proposal to amend Section 11, Article 1 of the PA Constitution to provide a 2-year window for individuals to revive claims of childhood sexual assault that were/are barred by the statute of limitations, damage caps, government immunity or sovereign immunity. However, included in SB1 are other constitutional amendments that have nothing to do with child sexual assault and rather deal with election issues and governmental authority. There are concerns that SB1 as written is not constitutional to pass as it violates single subject rules. PA Single Subject Rule states that no bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.
There is unfortunately disagreement within the PA Senate and House as to which bill should be the vehicle and therefore passage is once again facing an uphill battle. This leaves survivors in Pennsylvania once again in legal limbo with no recourse to access justice.
The lawyers at Andreozzi & Foote and our clients have been some of the main advocates of this change.
We are hopeful the legislature will do the right thing and pass HB1 and allow the Pennsylvania voters to give Victims of historic sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, the justice they deserve.
Speak In Confidence With A Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Attorney
It can be hard to take this first step. That is why we offer compassionate, confidential and free case assessments. Learn what to expect or give us a call at 866-311-8640 to get started. You can also reach us online and we will respond promptly.