Helping Child Sex Abuse Survivors as the Church Declares Bankruptcy
Survivors often face tremendous challenges, both emotional and legal, when they seek justice for abuse they suffered years earlier. Things are suddenly more urgent for those who survived abuse at the hands of Archdiocese clergy and nuns, or at the hands of Catholic school personnel.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans has recently declared bankruptcy, joining over 20 other dioceses nationwide that filed for bankruptcy after seeing an influx of sexual abuse cases against them. Once bankruptcy has been declared, a deadline is placed on survivors to file claims. There is a final “bar date” or deadline for claims of March 1, 2021.
While this development can appear intimidating for any sexual abuse survivors who are not yet ready to come forward, the attorneys of Lamothe Law Firm are here to help every step of the way. With years of experiencing fighting for sexual assault survivors, we understand how personal these cases are and how important success is. We’re here to help you see that success.
Child Sexual Abuse Within the Catholic Church
The presence of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy has been widely known for decades. Unfortunately, the problem was persistent for decades before the rest of the world knew about it. Many people who were abused in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s are seeking damages for the trauma they suffered as children.
Child sexual abuse is categorized as any sexual misconduct with a minor. This includes inappropriate touching, fondling, oral, or penetrative acts with a person under the age of 17 in the state of Louisiana. Any of these actions can leave lasting trauma on the child, impacting their mental health, relationships, and ability to live a normal life. We have seen the impacts of such trauma firsthand and never take a case lightly. No one should be allowed to get away with destroying someone else’s life.
Filing a Suit Against a Bankrupt Party
When a group files for chapter 11 bankruptcy, as the New Orleans Diocese did, they are admitting that their existing financial management system needs to be changed. The bankrupt party submits records of all of their assets and liabilities to a judge who will take control of their finances. Since the court is in charge of ensuring the liabilities get repaid, they place a deadline on when outside parties can claim a debt.
Since the church has declared bankruptcy, the court will set a deadline for filing old claims. There is a “bar date” or deadline for claims of March 1, 2021. Survivors who are now adults who suffered their abuse as children will have to file their claim prior to this date or risk losing their right to compensation. However, that deadline has not yet passed, so you still have time to make your claim. Even if you have spoken to an attorney about this issue in the past and were told that your claim could not be made because the relevant time period had passed, you may still be able to make a claim in the Archdiocese bankruptcy proceedings. If you have a question about your situation, please don’t hesitate to call our lawyers.
Holding the System Accountable
When you file a claim for child sexaul abuse damages, it can be confusing when your lawyer tells you that you won’t be filing your claim against the individual who hurt you. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that when you hold the system accountable, you are making a greater impact than when you hold an individual accountable. It was the job of the church to ensure their congregants were safe, and their failure to do so directly resulted in the abuse of countless children.
Beyond the individual cases, holding the church accountable can show the scope of the problem. Instead of blaming the problem on a few bad apples, a suit against the church can show the true cause of the problem: a broken system that protects abusers and fails to keep children safe.
Get Help From A Team That Understands
Lamothe Law Firm has been handling child sexual abuse cases for years, with Frank Lamothe providing unparalleled advocacy for survivors of sexual abuse in Louisiana. Here at Lamothe Law Firm, we understand how difficult it can be to come forward, which is why we are here to provide support every step of the way. Our intake team are often the first people survivors confide in about their experience, and we are proud to provide a safe environment in which to do so.
Why Hire Us
We have over 100 years of combined experience.
We have recovered over 100 million dollars for our clients.
We have a national reputation for excellence.
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