Offering Compassionate Legal Counsel for Abuse Victims

Based in Washington, D.C., our experienced sexual abuse attorneys at Simeone & Miller, LLP are ready to represent survivors throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Filing a clergy sexual abuse claim comes with unique challenges, but our firm is committed to holding the Catholic Church and other religious institutions accountable for systemic sex abuse. If you need to speak with a qualified Washington, D.C. sexual assault lawyer about your clergy abuse claim, contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

Defining Clergy Sexual Abuse

When clergy members use their positions to exploit congregation members, it may be grounds for a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit. It doesn’t matter whether you were a child or an adult at the time of the abuse: In Washington, D.C., and 13 other states, it is illegal for clergy members, pastors, priests, and other church officials to engage in sexual misconduct with an adult they are counseling. In some cases, prosecutors may choose to file criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator.

Clergy sexual abuse may include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Sexual harassment, including sexual jokes and language
  • Child molestation
  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Child pornography
  • Stalking
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Voyeurism

Like all victims of sexual misconduct, clergy sexual abuse victims often struggle with serious physical and psychological injuries for years after the abuse ends. They may also fear speaking up about the incident and worry about ostracization from their religious congregation, adding another roadblock to their recovery process.

Some of the most common losses associated with clergy sexual abuse:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical injuries from repeated violence
  • Emotional pain
  • Loss of faith and belief
  • Sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs)

Proving Systemic Abuse at Religious Institutions

Around the world, millions of people place their trust in religious leaders and church officials. Because religious leaders enjoy a unique position of respect within their communities, they often work directly with young people and children – and unfortunately, this makes it easier for clergy sexual abuse to remain hidden. Additionally, religious leaders often have access to vast resources through their organizations, which can shield them from outside scrutiny for many years.

While all organizations should strive to eradicate sexual abuse when it takes place, religious institutions have a special duty of care to protect vulnerable children and other members of their congregations. When a religious group fails to take appropriate action against clergy or priest abuse, they can be held civilly liable for the trauma they’ve caused.

At Simeone & Miller, LLP, we can help you pursue a sex abuse claim against any of the following religious organizations:

  • The Roman Catholic Church and any affiliated schools or dioceses
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church
  • The Southern Baptist Convention
  • The United Methodist Church
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses

Sexual Abuse Claims Against the Catholic Church

For years, individual sexual abuse survivors identified Catholic Church clergy members, priests, and officials as responsible for their horrific childhood experiences. After a Pennsylvania grand jury released a groundbreaking report documenting sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Roman Catholic Church, however, law enforcement officials around the country have begun launching official investigations on a massive scale.

In October 2018, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced a civil investigation into the Catholic Church, shortly after federal prosecutors issued the first wave of subpoenas for the federal-level sex abuse investigation. As the litigation continues to expand – and the laws on sexual abuse continue to change – we must all empower sex abuse victims to come forward and seek justice.

Simeone & Miller, LLP Holds Religious Organizations Accountable for Abuse

If you or someone you love has been victimized by a clergy member, our Washington, D.C. attorneys can represent you in a civil lawsuit. We believe in holding abusers accountable for their wrongful actions, and with over $100 million recovered for our clients, we have a track record of success that speaks to our dedication and skill in the courtroom. Contact us today.

Simeone & Miller, LLP, based in Washington, D.C., provides personal injury and medical malpractice legal services across Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland, our services extend to Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and Frederick. In Virginia, we serve clients in Arlington County, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.