Huntington Beach Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

If you or someone you love was subjected to sexual assault, abuse, misconduct or any type of sex crime by a clergy member in Huntington Beach, contact the attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for legal assistance. Our clergy sexual abuse lawyers will discuss your legal rights and options at no cost or obligation to hire us. Our attorneys are passionate about holding wrongdoers accountable for the heinous crime of clergy sexual abuse. Call (800) 700-8450 today for a confidential case review. We will believe you.

Why Choose Our Huntington Beach Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

  • At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our child sexual abuse attorneys have over 25 years of experience. We have gone up against many types of defendants, including clergies, religious institutions, schools, church camps and individuals. 
  • We have collected millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clergy sexual abuse victims. This includes a landmark $660 million global settlement for 508 Roman Catholic Bishop sexual abuse cases.
  • Our lawyers represent victims of clergy sexual abuse in Huntington Beach on a contingency fee basis. This means we will not charge you a penny for our legal services unless we win your case. No win = no fee, guaranteed.

Were You Abused by a Priest, Bishop, Pastor or Clergy Member? We Can Help

As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, hiring an attorney in Huntington Beach to represent you can enable you to protect your rights without the stress or burden of the legal process falling on your shoulders. Your attorney can take care of difficult and complex legal tasks for you, such as investigating the church or institution, collecting evidence against the accused party/ies, and filing your legal claim before the deadline. 

The legal team at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi has the experience, knowledge and resources to guide you through a civil sexual abuse lawsuit from start to finish. We will pursue justice for the harm you suffered while you focus on healing. Our lawyers can take aggressive legal action to hold perpetrators and religious institutions accountable on your behalf, even if this means taking your case to trial in Orange County. 

What Is Clergy Sexual Abuse?

Clergy sexual abuse refers to anyone with religious authority using his or her position of power within an institution or community to sexually harass, abuse, assault or exploit one or more victims for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. Any romantic or sexual engagement with parishioners can constitute sexual abuse due to the imbalance of power between the parties.  

Examples of sex crimes committed by clergy members include:

Engaging in sexual contact with minors under the age of 18 is against the law. In California, no child under the age of 18 can give his or her legal consent to participate in sexual activities. Sexual touching, fondling, groping, kissing or penetration involving a minor by a religious authority are violations of Huntington Beach child sexual abuse laws.

Clergy sexual abuse can describe both touching and non-touching sexualized behaviors, words, threats and physical contact. In many cases, sexual predators at a church groom children for sexual abuse from a young age. Perpetrators in clergy sex abuse cases can include priests, pastors, bishops, deacons, monks, rabbis, church administrators, youth group leaders and camp counselors.

Prevalence of Clergy Sexual Abuse in Huntington Beach, CA 

Clergy sexual abuse occurs more often than most people realize. It is a pervasive problem in California and throughout the U.S. In 2019, the Catholic Pope ended the Church’s “rule of secrecy” on sexual abuse and ordered the release of documents and information that had been kept hidden by dioceses for decades. 

According to information released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, the following priests and members of clergy have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors:

  • Alexander Manville
  • Andrew Christian Anderson
  • Bertrand W. Horvath
  • Caesar Salazar
  • Daniel J. Murray
  • Denis Lyons
  • Dominic Nguyen
  • Edgardo Arrunataegui Jimenez
  • Edward Poettgen
  • Eleuterio V. Ramos
  • Franklin Buckman
  • Gerald Plesetz
  • Gerardo Jarencio Tanilong
  • Gordon John Pillon
  • Gregory Atherton
  • Henry Perez
  • Jerome Henson
  • John (Gregory) Knoernschild
  • John A. Sheahan
  • John Edward Ruhl
  • John Peter Lenihan
  • John Lord
  • Kevin M. Fitzpatrick
  • Lawrence J. Baird
  • Luis Eduardo Ramirez
  • Michael A. Harris
  • Michael Pecharich
  • Richard Coughlin
  • Richard Delahunty
  • Robert Foley
  • Santino Anthony Casimano
  • Siegfried Francis Widera
  • Sinon F. Falvey
  • Sofronio A. Aranda
  • Thomas Joseph Mohan
  • Timothy Ramaekers

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi has a long history of obtaining justice on behalf of clergy sexual abuse survivors. In 2004, we won a $100 global settlement against the Diocese of Orange for 87 sexual abuse claims. We also obtained a $216 million global settlement against the Society of Jesus for 110 sexual abuse claims, a $198 million settlement for 144 sexual abuse claims against a diocese in San Diego, and a $109 million settlement for 145 Delaware clergy sexual abuse cases.

Legal Remedies Available to Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

If you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Huntington Beach, multiple legal remedies may be available to pursue justice against your abuser and the religious institution that failed to protect you. This includes a criminal case and a civil lawsuit. A criminal case against a clergy member for child sexual abuse could result in a conviction and sentence that may include prison time, fines, restitution and registration on California’s Sex Offender List for life.

The civil court system offers additional justice to survivors in the form of financial compensation for related losses. Filing a civil lawsuit for clergy sexual abuse could hold an individual perpetrator as well as a larger religious institution responsible for the crimes committed against the plaintiff or filing party. A civil lawsuit can shed light on sexual misconduct within a clergy and require one or more defendants to make the victim whole again with a settlement or judgment award.

Financial Compensation Available in California

Clergy sexual abuse can have long-lasting ramifications on a victim. Being abused by a trusted member of a church or religious organization can result in significant mental and emotional harm. Attempting to cope and move forward from the trauma of clergy sexual abuse may require ongoing medical care, psychological counseling and treatments. The survivor may also suffer financial harm due to lost wages from the inability to maintain gainful employment. 

A successful clergy sexual abuse lawsuit in Huntington Beach could pay a victim for all of the following losses, and more:

  • Medical bills: required medical treatments, medications and health care services to address physical injuries, sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancies.
  • Therapy: ongoing emotional, mental and psychological counseling or professional services to cope with the trauma of clergy sexual abuse.
  • Pain and suffering: noneconomic damages, such as physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Lost wages: losses of income due to survivors having to take time off of work for counseling or mental health days.
  • Travel and relocation: out-of-pocket expenses caused by clergy abuse, including traveling to doctor’s appointments or having to relocate out of Huntington Beach.

Although no amount of money can ever make up for being sexually abused by a member of the clergy, a successful settlement or judgment award through a civil claim could give a survivor some measure of justice by holding one or more parties financially responsible. A monetary award can help a victim pay for necessary care and move forward with less financial stress.

What You Need to Know About the Independent Compensation Program

Six California dioceses, including the Diocese of Orange, participated in an independent, third-party program that was created to compensate victims of priest sexual abuse. This program, called the Independent Compensation Program (IPC), offered compensation to survivors without them having to file lawsuits. 

However, the lawyers at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi recommend that you do not register with the IPC as a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Huntington Beach. Signing up will take away your ability to file a lawsuit against the diocese, which could result in greater financial compensation for your losses than an IPC claim. Contact our attorneys to discuss your compensation options.

Signs of Clergy Sexual Abuse in a Child

Sexual abuse can affect survivors in many different ways. The warning signs or red flags for clergy sexual abuse can vary based on the age of the victim, the nature and severity of the sex crime, and many other factors. If you notice any potential signs of child sexual abuse by a clergy member, take immediate action to report your suspicions and protect the victim. 

A child or young adult who is experiencing clergy sexual abuse in Huntington Beach may exhibit any of the following signs: 

  • Unusual or inappropriate knowledge of sexual subjects
  • Touching other people’s private parts
  • Chronic depression or anxiety
  • Isolation or withdrawal from favorite people or activities
  • Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Nightmares, bedwetting or regression in young children
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Fear of going to church
  • Reluctance to be around a certain clergy member
  • Changes in mood, behavior or personality
  • Sudden outbursts or aggressive behaviors
  • Changes in weight, appearance or personal grooming
  • In teens, sexual promiscuity or substance abuse
  • Signs of self-harm or suicidal tendencies

Another sign of clergy sexual abuse is suspicious or inappropriate conduct by a member of your church or diocese, such as an adult or older adolescent trying to be with your child alone, cultivating a relationship with your child or buying your child lavish gifts. These are methods used to groom a victim, or target a child to manipulate and sexually abuse him or her.

What to Do if You Suspect Clergy Sexual Abuse in Huntington Beach

If you have reason to believe that your child or someone else is being sexually abused or exploited by a member of the clergy in Huntington Beach, take the following steps:

  • Report your suspicions to the authorities. Call 911 if the situation constitutes an emergency. Otherwise, report a suspected child sexual abuse crime to the Huntington Beach Police Department’s non-emergency number at (714) 960-8811.
  • Take the victim to the Anaheim Regional Medical Center for professional medical care. This is the only hospital in Orange County that offers sexual assault forensic exams through its SAFE Place Program. 
  • Make sure the victim receives the mental health care that he or she needs to cope with the trauma of clergy sexual abuse. Help is available at support centers such as Waymakers, the Living Success Center and the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673).
  • Report the incident to the church, religious institution or diocese where the perpetrator works. Write down the name of the person who took your report and whether or not the priest or clergy member was suspended after a credible accusation.
  • Contact a Huntington Beach sexual abuse attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi without delay. We will listen to your story and help you take the necessary next steps to hold one or more parties accountable for the crime of clergy sexual abuse in Huntington Beach.

Do not wait to take action after discovering that someone you love is a victim of clergy sexual abuse. Get the help you need by contacting Attorney John C. Manly and his team.

Statute of Limitations for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse in Huntington Beach

In California, the legal time limit or statute of limitations for filing a child sexual abuse civil claim is the survivor’s 40thbirthday, or 22 years from the date that he or she turns 18. If the victim does not discover the connection between his or her mental health condition and clergy sexual abuse until after age 40, he or she has 5 years from the date of reasonable discovery to file. Adult victims of clergy sexual abuse have 10 years from the date of the crime or 3 years from the date of discovery – whichever is later.

Contact a Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi Today

Clergy sexual abuse is an especially painful type of sex crime, as it often involves spiritual and emotional manipulation by a trusted member of the victim’s church. It is a grave injustice that violates a victim’s trust and personal boundaries. 

If you or a loved one is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, take legal action with assistance from an attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi. Our lawyers can guide you through the legal process from the very beginning of your case, building the strongest possible claim on your behalf using years of legal experience. 

We are dedicated and compassionate clergy sexual abuse lawyers in Huntington Beach, California. Contact us today by calling (800) 700-8450 to request a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our attorneys. We are here for you during this difficult time.