In November 2022, the Circut Court of Baltimore City revealed that 158 clergy members from the Archdiocese of Baltimore had sexually abused victims over the past 80 years. The Archdiocese failed to respond appropriately to this crisis. It failed to remove abusive clergy members and covered up instances of sexual abuse.
At Jenner Law, we believe this behavior is unacceptable. Continue reading to learn about how we’re supporting survivors of clergy sexual abuse and working to hold those in power accountable.
Representing Clergy Sexual Abuse Victims
First and foremost, we’re here for those in need. Our firm has decades of experience in representing the victims of Catholic diocese sexual abuse. The process we adhere to consists of the following:
- Confidentiality: Sexual abuse is a tricky subject, and survivors often struggle to understand what’s happened to them and may not report their abuse until adulthood. To ensure our clergy sexual abuse clients feel comfortable discussing their past, we provide complete confidentiality.
- Fighting for accountability: When criminal cases fall short, a civil lawsuit can hold those responsible for clergy sexual abuse accountable. We’re proud to stand up for survivors in the courtroom. A civil settlement can also make restitution to those wronged by covering therapy expenses and other damages.
- Providing a voice to those in need: Silence is the greatest enemy of survivors. For many, they’ve spent their whole lives going unheard. At Jenner Law, we’re committed to creating a compassionate space for survivors to discuss what they’ve experienced. We’re serious about speaking up for those with no voice.
Currently, Jenner Law represents multiple clergy sexual abuse survivors and survivor-advocate groups with partnering law firm Grant & Eisenhofer.
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Standing Up for Legislation that Aids Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors
The current Maryland statute of limitations (legal deadline) mandates that survivors must file a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit by their 38th birthday. Many of the Archdiocese of Baltimore survivors are now in their 60s and 70s, meaning they can’t file a lawsuit against those who wronged them under this law. Our firm believes every survivor deserves the chance to pursue legal action, making the current statute of limitations unacceptable.
We commend state senators looking to change this statute of limitations. A new law proposed by Maryland state senators would create a two-year filing window for clergy sexual abuse survivors. The passage of this law would allow survivors above the age of 38 to file a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Supporting Clergy Sexual Abuse Advocacy Groups
Alongside our survivor clients, we represent the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP). SNAP provides a variety of resources to survivors, including:
- In-person survivor support groups
- Informational articles for sexual abuse survivors
- Advocacy news
- A report tab that includes the phone numbers of Attorney Generals throughout the United States
- Personal stories from survivors
SNAP provides essential tools for those impacted by clergy sexual abuse and advocates looking to make a difference. We encourage you to show your support by donating to SNAP today.
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Demanding the Release of the Clergy Sexual Abuse Probe
In 2022, Maryland’s Attorney General released a 456-page report detailing the findings of an investigation into the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Many of our current sexual abuse clients participated in this investigation, which found that:
- A cover-up occurred: The report indicates that the Archdiocese attempted to cover up instances of sexual abuse.
- The Archdiocese did not correctly handle the abuse allegations: The Archdiocese did not properly document instances of abuse, nor did they restrict abusive clergy members from accessing children. The investigation reports that one parish had 11 known abusers present for 40 years.
- The abuse was widespread: The numbers involved in the report are staggering – there were 600 survivors of clergy sexual abuse across 80 years. One anecdote from the report stated that the abuse was so widespread that survivors were reporting abuse to clergy members who were abusers themselves. Our firm anticipates more survivors coming forward.
Currently, the report is not publicly available. Our clients believe its release is essential in the quest for accountability. The report’s release will cement the survivors’ experiences and validate their claims.
However, an anonymous group has already requested to keep its contents private. We oppose this effort vehemently and, in December of 2022, filed our own request to release the report publicly. Transparency and honesty are critical for the clergy sexual abuse survivors of Baltimore. The truth shouldn’t be held from those who have suffered in silence – pushing for the release of the clergy sexual abuse report is vital to our goal of accountability.
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Work With a Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today
Transparency, honesty, and accountability are crucial to our firm’s practice. By representing survivors and advocacy groups, we hope to send a strong message to those responsible for clergy sexual abuse in Baltimore.
At Jenner Law, we’re currently accepting inquiries from those whom clergy members sexually abused. We can provide you with a free case evaluation. During this initial meeting, we can discuss the facts of your case in a safe and confidential space. Contact our offices to get started whenever you feel comfortable coming forward.