Church & Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Our Lawyers Protect Those Abandoned by Their Churches

Churches are supposed to be places of respite, a home for our values and virtues in good times and in bad. But unfortunately, when we place our trust in the church, sometimes it is taken advantage of. 

When men, women, and children are abused by members of the clergy or church officials, they should at least be able to turn to the church for help, but oftentimes the church takes the side of the abuser. When churches would rather protect their reputations than their congregation, they—and the guilty church official they’re hiding—should be held to justice. 

Challenging your church can be intimidating, but when they won’t stand up for what’s right, Breit Biniazan will. Our experienced attorneys will provide you with the legal support to receive fair compensation and help prevent others from suffering the same abuse. 

For a free, confidential case evaluation, call Breit Biniazan at 855-212-8200. 

About Sexual Abuse in Churches

You may recognize stories of sexual abuse in the Catholic or Southern Baptist Church from the headlines, but the crisis of sexual assault within churches spreads across most religious institutions and denominations. 

We are prepared to take on leaders of any faith who abuse or foster an environment for abuse, including: 

  • Priests
  • Clergy members
  • Ministers
  • Rabbis
  • Pastors
  • Youth pastors 
  • Elders
  • Ministerial Servants
  • Apostles
  • Bishops

Who is Liable in Church Sexual Abuse Cases?

Of course, anyone within the church who commits sexual abuse against a child or adult can be liable and should be held responsible for their actions. 

When church leaders and administrations know or had reason to know one of their clergy members was sexually abusing members, the church itself can and should be held responsible too. But, because many churches attempt to handle these wrongdoings internally, the appropriate authorities are not always notified. Rather than be reported, the abuser may be moved to another congregation, parish, Kingdom Hall, or town and allowed to continue abusing more victims.

This is true despite a new law enacted that made clergy members “mandatory reporters” of child sexual abuse. This means that if a clergy member or church official who reasonably believes a minor has been or is being abused must report it. Anyone within the church who knows about the abuse but chooses not to report it is liable and punishable by law. 

Sexual Abuse in Southern Baptist Churches

After years of denying allegations and covering up sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is finally acknowledging their extensive sexual abuse problem. The SBC has just released a secret database of known abusers following the alarming results of the Guidepost report that stemmed from an independent investigation of SBC practices.

In the past 20 years, a disturbing number of Southern Baptists with formal church roles have engaged in sexual misconduct, leaving behind more than 700 victims, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News revealed in 2019.

As part of their investigative journalism, Attorney Biniazan was quoted by the Houston Chronicle as saying, “This idea that everyone’s completely autonomous is a facade, and it’s self-serving … These organizations are working together in harmony. The success of one benefits the other. And vice versa.”

Attorney Biniazan’s comments from 2019 foreshadowed the findings of the independent investigation and subsequent Guidepost report which revealed through emails that leaders were very concerned about the liability SBC could face if the sexual abuse came to light and in the process survivors were ignored or “shunned, shamed, and vilified.” In short, their focus was on protecting the church and not on protecting people from sexual abusers.

Breit Biniazan has represented over a dozen survivors of sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches. In addition, our firm has represented over 100 survivors of molestation and sexual abuse cases.  Breit Biniazan was the first firm to add the Southern Baptist Convention as a defendant in a lawsuit that accused local and state leaders of ignoring or mishandling complaints that a youth minister, who was later convicted, had sexually abused 10 young boys. Our firm continues to fight to hold abusers accountable and we will be anxiously watching to see if the SBC is truly transparent in their reporting of known sexual predators.

Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is a powerful entity that has used its power to hide sexual abuse committed by its Priests and clergy members. Parents often trust the church and send their children into its parishes and schools, where they may be sexually abused by clergy. According to some reports, there are more than 100,000 victims of Catholic clergy abuse in the United States alone—but most believe this is an undercount

 Despite vocal and public reckoning, this despicable abuse continues. However, after so much bad press, the church has begun to make retribution. In October 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond agreed to pay $6.3 million to 51 people who were sexually abused as minors by clergy members. This agreement came after the Richmond diocese launched the Independent Reconciliation Program. The program was open to individuals who were victims of sexual abuse as a minor by an ordained priest of deacon before 1974. Victims had a two-month window to file their claims.

Breit Biniazan represented nine clients who made sexual abuse claims through the program. Some of those clients had brought these issues to the diocese many, many years before and were met with pushback with the diocese essentially saying ‘You’re wrong, how dare you speak those sins to the church.’ The communications that victims received in regards to the program seemed to indicate the diocese had kept track of sexual abuse complaints and claims over the years and were now admitting that they were wrong.

 Similar diocese claims programs have been established across the country but have not come without their issues. Many programs establish financial limitations on how much sexual abuse victims may be compensated for the claims. Others compensation programs have set “per victim limits” on how much claimants may be compensated. Regardless of their faults, these claims programs are extremely important in filling a critical gap in the justice system, which is this decades long inadequacy in recognizing that the standard statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims is insufficient.

The church sexual abuse attorneys of Breit Biniazan will continue to advocate for victims’ rights and make sure every voice is heard. Call us at 855-212-8200 for a free, confidential case evaluation.

Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Mormon Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon Church, is one of the largest churches in the US. It has also been implicated in sexual abuse and cover-ups that have been made public. 

As with other famous church scandals, the Mormon Church has made efforts to keep its abuses quiet at all costs. The guilty church officials are “forgiven” through prayer, while those who report abuse are ostracized within the very community that is supposed to support them. Rather than lose their church, victims often choose to remain silent. 

If you or a loved one is a victim of such abuse, you shouldn’t stay quiet. At Breit Biniazan, our attorneys believe that this abuse and the intentional silencing of victims is abominable, and we stand up for those who are too afraid to stand up for themselves.

Choose an Experienced Sexual Abuse Lawyer

If you were the victim of sexual abuse in the church, your abuser should be held accountable for the physical, emotional, and mental trauma they caused you. The church that allowed these actions to happen should also be held responsible. 

We understand that fear, intimidation, or other repercussions may stand in your way. That’s why our sexual abuse attorneys are so dedicated to defending these victims. We will go to battle against the abuser and their supporters, regardless of the power or money they have backing them up. Our goal is to get you the compensation you deserve and protect other members of your church from unnecessary and avoidable suffering. 

Our church sexual abuse attorneys are here to help. Start with a free, confidential case evaluation by calling us at 855-212-8200.

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