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Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys


Sexual abuse by a clergy member against a churchgoer inflicts physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse face unimaginable distress and difficulty living with their trauma. Many of those survivors have long suffered in silence, unable for a wide variety of reasons to confront their abusers and those who enabled the abuse.

The Roman Catholic Church has received the bulk of global attention relating to allegations of clergy sexual abuse. But sexual misconduct against congregants (particularly minors) by clergy is not limited to a single faith community.

In 2019, the Southern Baptist Convention released a report that detailed rates of sexual abuse within Southern Baptist congregations nationwide. Around that same time, the United Methodist Church began confronting reports of similar sexual misconduct allegations.

The three largest insurance companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in the United States reported in 2018 that they “typically receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by clergy, church staff, volunteers or congregation members,” according to the Insurance Journal.

These cases are not just limited to Christian faiths alone. American Jewish and Muslim congregations have also had to confront similar allegations by leaders in their faith.

States have begun to enact legislation to make it easier to take civil and criminal legal action against abusers and those who facilitated or allowed their conduct. These laws have started to give survivors of clergy sexual abuse, no matter what their religious affiliation, the tools to obtain justice and compensation for past abuse.

Recovering Compensation for Damages

Recovering Compensation for Damages

Being sexually abused can impact the victim for an exceptionally long time and they should be compensated for the damages caused by the negligence of these churches. Victims of sexual abuse can recover compensation for needed psych treatment, emotional trauma or even PTSD.

If the victim suffered health care or mental health care expenses because of the abuse, they could be entitled to have those costs covered in full.  If they also suffered physical or mental effects that made it difficult to work at a job, they may be entitled to claim damages for lost wages or reduced earning capacity as well. 

In most cases, there is also substantial pain and suffering to compensate, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional.  Moreover, many cases may result in “punitive damages” to punish the institution and the individuals for widespread, repeat, or pervasive misconduct.

Negligence Claims Against the Church

Negligence Claims Against the Church

Victims of sexual abuse can also bring a negligence claim against the church if they did not adequately supervise. This lack of supervision could have led to the abuse. Claims against the Church can be brought under different theories, all of which are covered under negligence. These theories encompass the idea that even though the Church knew of the alleged abuse, it continued to negligently hire and maintain those priests that had been accused.

Representation for Sexual Abuse Claims

Maginnis Law’s lead clergy sexual abuse attorney, T. Shawn Howard, has experience in representing survivors of sexual abuse. Recently, Mr. Howard was able to recover over $1million for a child that was sexually abused at a Day Care Center which was operated by a church.

If you or a loved one have any questions about this blog or an individual case, feel free to reach out to Maginnis Law at 919.526.0450 or reach out to Mr. Howard directly at 919.480.8525. You can also email our firm at