Maryland Passes New Law to Support Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Survivors of priest childhood sexual abuse in Maryland now have an incredible opportunity for justice with new legislation just passed.
The state allows clergy sexual abuse survivors of rape to bring lawsuits against their abusers and the institutions that protected them. No matter how long ago the abuse occurred, you may file a claim.
In Maryland, the Catholic Church and other Christian groups have been accused of abusing their power for a long time. The Yost Legal Group understands the importance of this legislation and is fully committed to helping survivors of childhood clergy sexual violence seek the justice they deserve.
If you or someone you know was sexually abused as a child by a priest or other religious figure, you are not alone. It is important to understand that it was not your fault.
Our Catholic Church sexual abuse lawyers are compassionate and skilled. They are here to help advocate for your rights. We can help you file a clergy sexual abuse claim under Maryland’s new law, which may entitle you to significant compensation.
As a child sexual abuse survivor, you do not have to face this alone. We provide a safe place where you can share your story without fear. We will do everything we can to support you. Call us now at 1-800-967-8529 for a free and confidential consultation.
Maryland’s new Child Victims Act 2023
Maryland’s delegates have supported the Child Victims Act for a long time but faced obstacles with past legislatures.
After passing Maryland’s collective General Assembly (Senate and House), the bill landed on the newly elected governor’s desk. It was the first time since 2019 that a bill of this sort made its way to the governor.
Governor Wes Moore, who had previously voiced support for the new legislation, signed the Child Victims Act in early April 2023, stating that the bill addresses “the big gap between justice and our legal system because there is no statute of limitations on the pain that these victims continue to feel.”
The Child Victims Act of 2023 also eliminates the statute of limitations for future lawsuits based upon childhood sexual assault/abuse claims. But this legislative win did not arrive easily.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore fights against the Child Victims Act
While Maryland’s General Assembly, Governor Wes Moore, The Yost Legal Group, and millions of people around Maryland all consider the Child Victims Act a major win, there are those who fought hard to prevent it.
Between 2017 and 2022, the Maryland Catholic Conference spent over $200,000 to fight against any legislation that might help survivors of childhood sexual abuse seek justice.
The Archdiocese spent the money on legal experts, former lawmakers, government officials, and general consultants to work as lobbyists against the Child Victims Act and previous similar bills.
Why would the Church need to spend so much money lobbying against children and childhood victims? Were they trying to cover up something? Were they protecting themselves? And if they were protecting themselves, what from?
How prevalent is sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?
Unfortunately, the child sexual abuse in churches scandal in the Archdiocese of Baltimore is far from unique. Many readers may remember the large-scale sexual abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston uncovered by The Boston Globe in 2002.
Priests were convicted sex offenders from the catholic dioceses that were engaging in sexual abuse of children.
“Spotlight Investigation: Abuse in the Catholic Church” revealed widespread crimes committed by the Roman Catholic Church and the Church’s repeated cover-ups to keep the crimes secret by moving accused priests to new parishes.
In the end, “Spotlight Investigation” led to 249 criminal cases and nearly $100 million paid out to 552 survivors. There was also a film adaptation called Spotlight, which won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Picture. But the biggest impact of the investigation might be the renewed focus it put on the rampant sexual abuses taking place within the Catholic Church.
The Church’s crimes are not limited to the United States. Catholicism has been around a lot longer than even the founding of this country. In fact, the issue is so prevalent that the United Nations issued a statement in 2021 urging the Catholic Church to act against sexual abuse.
From Latin America to Canada, Australia to France, hundreds of thousands of survivors and victims have not received the justice they deserve for the Catholic Church’s atrocious acts and compulsive nature to cover up crimes.
Priests and other clergy members misuse their so-called moral authority and positions of power to take advantage of vulnerable and underage parishioners.
Even when survivors report the abuse they faced early on, members of their family or other members of the Church might not believe them.
What are the effects of clergy sexual abuse on survivors?
Survivors of sexual assault can have long-lasting emotional damage beyond the physical toll of a sexual assault. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel defiled, embarrassed, or guilty despite having done nothing wrong. These negative feelings can harm the survivor’s mental health and psyche.
Even if a survivor does not report the abuse to authorities, seeking help and care to deal with the mental and emotional trauma is of the utmost importance, as the following mental health factors are known to arise after surviving a sexual assault:
- Loss of self-esteem
- Suicidal ideation
If you or a loved one is a survivor of a sexual assault, please seek both medical and mental health care above all else.
How can I file a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit?
It is common for survivors of sexual assault to seek isolation and withdraw from the world. That includes withdrawing from the people closest to them as well. However, many survivors do not realize there are people in their lives who will be on their side, take their abuse seriously, and help them through whatever they are struggling with.
Survivors of sexual assault might also try to cope with surviving the sexual abuse by blaming themselves in some way.
Church leaders and the church hierarchy did not protect children abused by priests. Catholic priests were years older than the children they molested and abused. The survivor of sexual abuse is never at fault.
A child sexual abuse attorney can be your protective shield against the Catholic Church. The Yost Legal Group can file a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit on your behalf.
When You Are Ready to Talk, The Yost Legal Group is Here to Listen
The experienced clergy sexual abuse lawyers at The Yost Legal Group will stand by you. Our sexual abuse attorneys want to help you get the justice you deserve.
We are taking on the Catholic Church and Archdiocese of Baltimore after the Child Victims Act of 2023 was passed.
Survivors of clergy abuse deserve to be heard. You deserve justice, and you deserve financial compensation.
For a free and confidential consultation with a compassionate sexual abuse survivor lawyer right here in Baltimore, Maryland, call The Yost Legal Group today: 1-800-967-8529.