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Recent changes to state law and revelations concerning the actions of the Catholic Church in Charlotte have combined to significantly change the rights of the victims of sexual abuse. In December of 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte released new information concerning members of the clergy who faced credible accusations of child sexual abuse since 1972. Under the old laws in Charlotte, this did not mean much for the rights of the victims.

However, new laws have recently gone into effect that allow the victims of childhood sexual abuse to demand compensation as adults. This means that people who are now remembering incidents of abuse can hold both their abusers and the Church liable in a civil courtroom.

A compassionate attorney could help individuals to pursue a Charlotte clergy sexual abuse lawsuit. These lawsuits can look far into the past to discover evidence, explain how the abuse has affected victims, and to demand fair payments as forms of civil justice.

Sexual Abuse by Members of Charlotte Catholic Clergy

Recent reporting has revealed that sexual abuse by members of Charlotte’s clergy has been a problem since 1972. In information that the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte released to the public, the Church acknowledges that 14 former clergy members were the subject of credible sexual abuse allegations from children. However, the Church also claims that no current members of the clergy are the subjects of these accusations and that there has been only one allegation of abuse within the past 20 years.

That being said, this does not mean that other instances of abuse have not occurred. The Catholic Church has a poor reputation for allowing these abuses to occur and not taking appropriate steps to remediate the situation. These institutional failures implicate not just the clergy members who committed the abuse but also the Church itself. Charlotte clergy sexual abuse lawsuits can make the connection between abuse and institutional failures to hold all parties responsible in a civil court.

New Laws Now Allow for Lawsuits that Examine the Distant Past

The state’s old laws that controlled when it was appropriate to bring a lawsuit alleging personal injury due to sexual abuse were harsh. Until recently, North Carolina Statute §1-52(16) said that plaintiffs alleging personal injury had only three years following the date of the incident to demand payments in civil court. This law made it difficult for victims of abuse to take legal action against their abuser if the offense occurred more than three years ago.

Thankfully, the State Legislature recognized the need to evolve this old law. The Safe Child Act, contained within Senate Bill 199, extends the statute of limitations for bringing sexual abuse claims for certain plaintiffs. Specifically, it allows people who suffered sexual abuse as a child to bring a lawsuit to court at any point before their 28th birthday. This is especially important as child victims of clergy sexual abuse in Charlotte may not immediately recognize the presence of abuse in their lives or may lean on therapy or intervention as an adult to discover the full impact of these actions. As a result, a lawyer could help to determine if a Charlotte clergy sexual abuse lawsuit may be timely based on acts that took place during a person’s childhood.

A Charlotte Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit Could Help to Set Things Right

The Catholic Church in Charlotte and elsewhere has a poor reputation for allowing sexual abuse of children to go unpunished. They have even managed to avoid criminal prosecution for many years.

Recent decades have brought revelations to light, and thankfully justice has begun to take its course. For the victims of child sexual abuse in Charlotte, this can bring relief. Changes in state law, combined with new information about past sexual abuses, now allow people to demand compensation for their losses.

Filing a Charlotte clergy sexual abuse lawsuit could be the important first step. These cases claim that a member of the clergy committed sexual abuse and that the Diocese did nothing to stop them, or worse, acted to coverup the incident. Contact an attorney today to learn more about pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Catholic Church in Charlotte.