How Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Survivors Can Hold Their Perpetrators Accountable in Louisiana

by Frank E. Lamothe, III

An independent investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has revealed that the SBC protected affiliated ministers and executives accused of sexual abuse by church members over the past two decades. It further discovered that the SBC was hostile toward sexual abuse survivors and their supporters, even though the organization had been tracking incidents within SBC member churches since 2007.

What survivors of SBC sexual abuse in Louisiana need to know

There are likely many SBC abuse survivors in Louisiana. The organization has 51 affiliate churches in Baton Rouge alone. For those who have experienced abuse, there are steps you can take to seek justice — though time is limited.

In Louisiana, people who were adults when they were sexually abused have three years from the abuse incident to file a lawsuit against the abuser, but only one year from the date of the abuse to file a lawsuit against a potentially responsible organization like a church or the SBC. The state has a very narrow and complex statute of limitations for claims. Therefore, anyone considering bringing such a lawsuit should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Survivors of child sexual abuse previously only had until they turned 28 to come forward and file a lawsuit. Last August, however, Louisiana passed Act No. 322, which lifted the statute of limitations for instances of child sexual abuse. The act set forth a narrow time period during which survivors of childhood sexual abuse survivors whose claims were previously time-barred can bring claims regardless of how old they are. These survivors must file their lawsuit before this “lookback window” expires on June 14, 2024.

How the Lamothe Firm can help Louisiana SBC sexual abuse survivors seek justice

Lamothe’s attorneys have been at the forefront of many prominent sexual abuse cases in Louisiana. The firm has also secured millions of dollars in compensations for survivors in a number of high-profile child molestation lawsuits against religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church, including the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Diocese of Lafayette. We also filed the first lawsuit under Louisiana’s new lookback law last year.

Sexual abuse is a devastating experience and you do not have to come forward alone. From our decades working with sexual abuse survivors, we understand the pain, fear, embarrassment and anxiety that survivors go through when being forced to relive and reveal these traumatic memories. Our lawyers take a sensitive, trauma-informed approach to every sexual abuse case we handle.

It takes courage for survivors to come forward and we are here for our clients at every step as they lead the way. Should you reach out to us, you decide how you want to communicate and meet — in person, by phone, by email, by letter — and you may remain anonymous or use a pseudonym while we discuss your experiences and case.

Everything you say to a Lamothe Firm attorney remains confidential — even if you do not hire us to handle your case. Attorney-client privilege applies to all discussions, which means what you tell us stays with us.

The most important thing to know is that, in order to pursue justice, you need to act quickly. We understand that coming forward is a difficult decision to make, but delay can dramatically affect whether or not we will be able to file a claim.

Did you or a loved one experience sexual abuse from Southern Baptist Convention members? Contact the Lamothe Law Firm today to learn more about your options.

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