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Priest, Pastor & Church Sex Abuse Law Library

Over the last decade, an increasing number of victims who have suffered sex abuse in a church setting have shown incredible courage by coming forward and reporting the heinous acts committed by a priest, pastor or other church member. Pedophiles who hide behind church doors and prey on innocent children must be brought to justice, both in the criminal and civil courts. Perpetrators of sex abuse as well as the institutions which protected them may be held liable. Victims of sex abuse by priests, pastors, and other church members may be entitled to financial compensation under the civil tort laws of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The following articles, frequently asked questions, blogposts and news articles are for information only. Prior to making any decisions about your case, it is vital to contact an experienced sex abuse and assault lawyer.

Representation by a Former Sex Crimes Unit Prosecutor

Firm partner, Brian Kent, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who takes great pride in helping sexual abuse survivors. Please call the firm for a free consultation. 800.220.7600


Priest, Pastor & Church Sex Abuse Law Articles

  • Pennsylvania Priest Arrested for Sex Abuse of 10 Year Old Boy in Early 1990s (July 25, 2017) On July 24, 2017, a Pennsylvania priest was arrested for sex abuse of a 10 yr old boy in the 1990s. Fr. John Thomas Sweeney faces a felony charge which is alleged to have occurred in the Diocese of Greensburg.
  • Pennsylvania House Members Hoping to Give Victims More Time to Sue for Child Molestation (September 28, 2016) Pennsylvania lawmakers are working to give child molestation victims more time to sue abusers. Earlier this year, the Senate reworked HB 1947, taking out its most pro-victim provision.
  • Pennsylvania Catholic Church – Priest Sex Abuse Investigations Ongoing (September 22, 2016) A total of 8 dioceses in Pennsylvania have been or are now being investigated for covering up reports that priests molested children: Philadelphia, Altoona-Johnstown, Allentown, Harrisburg, Erie, Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.
  • NJ Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Altar Boy – By a “Top” Rated NJ Sex Abuse Lawyer (January 26, 2016) NJ priest/clergy sex abuse civil lawyer discusses recent accusations against a NJ priest for sexually abusing an altar boy and a minor girl in the early 1980s.
  • Pennsylvania Clergy & Priest Sex Abuse News & Lawsuit: New Hollywood Movie Depicts Clergy Sex Abuse in Boston (November 19, 2015) Priest and clergy abuse in a new movie, “Spotlight” showcases the extent of the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It all began in Boston over 10 years ago. The topic of priest and clergy abuse is now front page news around the U.S.
  • Analysis of the Appellate Legal Issues in the Lynn Priest Sex Abuse Case in the PA Supreme Court (October 20, 2014) How the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Will Rule in the Lynn Priest Sex Abuse Case It may be a year or so before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issues its ruling in Philadelphia’s notorious priest sex abuse case. The case involves a supervising priest (Monsignor Lynn), several Philadelphia area priests and one Catholic school teacher. Click here to read ...
  • Civil Sex Abuse & Assault Cases – Three Case Analyses (July 13, 2014) Civil sexual abuse and sexual assault cases are increasingly common, due in large part to increased media attention about the problem. The national dialogue has shifted, which in turn has helped victims find the courage to come forward and seek justice. Related: Help Fight for Victims of Child Sex Abuse and Molestation Civil cases are often filed ...
  • Priest & Pastor Sex Abuse – Georgia Pastor Accused of Child Molestation (December 2, 2013) As the problem of sex abuse within church organizations comes to light, more and more victims are stepping forward to share their stories of abuse. Over the last two months, a church in Douglasville, Georgia has become embroiled in yet another allegation of child sex abuse by a priest/pastor. Douglasville is a small suburb of ...
  • Orthodox Jewish Community Child Sex Abuse Claims on the Rise (September 9, 2013) Over the last year, there has been a spotlight over the Jewish community in New York. Multiple reports and allegations of child sex abuse have emerged. Below is a summary of the most recent reports of child sex abuse engulfing New York’s Jewish community. Yeshiva University Child Sex Abuse Scandal Yeshiva University High School is facing a ...
  • Sex Abuse in the Church – Nuns Commit Sex Abuse Too (July 28, 2013) Child sex abuse is not just committed by men. Women, the elderly and even other children can sexually abuse a child. In addition, many people think of sex abuse within religious institutions as having been committed by men, or priests. However, sex abuse is also committed by nuns. Nun Convicted of Sex Abuse In 2008, an elderly ...
  • Why Sex Abuse Within a Church May Not be Reported or Investigated (April 20, 2013) Principal Convicted of Sexually Abusing Teens Met at Church Earlier this month, a former middle school principal was sentenced for sexually abusing two teenage boys. According to an online news article, the principal met the two teens through his church, took them under his wing, and became a mentor to them. One of the victims testified ...
  • About Philadelphia Priests: Joseph Gallagher & Mark Gaspar (April 11, 2013) *Source: Archdiocese of Philadelphia April 7, 2013 Press Release About Philadelphia Priest – Father Joseph J. Gallagher Father Gallagher was ordained in 1963. He retired in 2006 and was one of the priests placed on administrative leave in 2011. He served at the following Philadelphia area parishes and schools: Assumption, B.V.M. Philadelphia (1963-1965), Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and ...
  • Parent Alert: Be Aware of Tactics Used by Child Molesters (February 27, 2013) Children can be sexually abused at any age, and most sexual abuse is perpetrated by people they know, including family members, friends, teachers, daycare workers, etc. According to the American Psychological Association: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18; 90% of child sex abuse victims know the ...
  • Resolving a Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuit (February 10, 2013) Many victims of sex abuse who are contemplating filing a civil lawsuit want to know more about the process and how the case will be resolved. For many victims, filing a a civil sex abuse lawsuit is a big step on the road to justice. It is not an easy decision to make. Being informed ...
  • Parties in a Priest/Pastor Sexual Abuse Lawsuit (February 2, 2013) Obtaining justice in a case against a priest, pastor or other church member often involves a civil case. Many victims of priest or pastor sexual abuse believe that a criminal case is the only recourse when in fact, filing a civil claim is another avenue. Any person who has been intentionally or negligently harmed by another ...
  • The Devastating Effects of Child Sexual Abuse by a Priest or Church Member (September 26, 2012) Child sex abuse is an epidemic in this country. Recent media attention has shed light on a problem within churches that until now, was swept under the rug and ignored. For many victims, the original victimization of abuse is compounded and made worse by the churches’ response or lack of response to the abuse, then ...
  • Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims in Pennsylvania (September 24, 2012) The Pennsylvania civil justice system is designed to give victims of crime a voice, a chance to be heard and a chance to obtain justice for the terrible acts committed upon them by the abuser. In a criminal case, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania holds the defendant abuser accountable for violation of the criminal code. In ...
  • Rights of Victims of Priest/Clergy Child Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania (September 11, 2012) Sexual abuse victims who suffer at the hands of a priest, clergy member, family member or teacher may have legal recourse for the terrible crimes committed upon them. In Pennsylvania, any person who is injured by the actions of another person or business has the right to file a civil lawsuit. Unfortunately however, the statute ...
  • The Repressed Memory Theory in Pennsylvania Priest and Child Sex Abuse Cases (September 3, 2012) With the recent Penn State sex abuse scandal and the Philadelphia Archdiocese priest abuse criminal trial, the time is right for Pennsylvania to reverse prior case law regarding a victim’s ability to bring a civil lawsuit. Like its neighboring state, New Jersey, Pennsylvania should allow victims to proceed in civil priest and child sex abuse cases ...
  • Archdiocese Philadelphia Priests Sex Abuse Scandal – The 21 Priests (August 16, 2012) After last year’s Philadelphia Grand Jury Report of February, 2011, the Philadelphia Archdiocese put 21 priests on administrative leave pending investigations. This year, the fate of roughly half of those priests was decided. The following is a list of the priests deemed “unsuitable for ministry”: *Rev. John Bowe, **Rev. David Givey, Msgr. George J. Mazzotta, Msgr. Hugh P. Campbell, Rev. ...
  • Steps Involved in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey Child or Priest Sex Abuse Civil Lawsuit (July 30, 2012) The recent Penn State sex abuse scandal and the Philadelphia Catholic church sex abuse cases show just how common child sex abuse is. Many victims have tremendous difficulty coming to terms with the abuse, let alone deciding to seek justice for the acts perpetrated upon them. Victims of child sex abuse who decide to seek ...
  • What to Expect in a Priest Abuse Lawsuit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey (April 3, 2012) Victims of sexual abuse, particularly child sex abuse perpetrated by priests or other clergy members often spend their entire adult lives trying to come to grips with the abuse. For obvious reasons, victims of child molestation by priests often face incredible hardship on a spiritual and emotional level. While some contemplate seeking justice by filing ...
  • What to Expect in Priest/Clergy Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuits in Pennsylvania or New Jersey (April 3, 2012) The civil justice system and the criminal justice system are very different and accomplish different things. The table below explains the basic differences between them. Who are the Potential Defendants in a Priest or Clergy Sex Abuse Civil Case? Priest and clergy abuse victims may recover against people and businesses in addition to the perpetrator. Any person ...
  • Pennsylvania Priest Sex Abuse Law: The Fraudulent Concealment Exception to the Statute of Limitations (March 7, 2012) A defendant’s fraudulent concealment will toll the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania child and priest sex abuse cases. Several Pennsylvania courts have discussed the issue of fraudulent concealment and tolling the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. The most recent case is Delaney v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a 2007 Superior Court case. In Delaney, the ...

Priest, Pastor & Church Sex Abuse Law FAQs


Priest, Pastor & Church Sex Abuse Law Blogposts


Priest, Pastor & Church Sex Abuse Law Latest News


If you or a loved one was the victim of sex abuse in a church setting in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or New York, contact our experienced lawyers for a free, confidential consultation at 800.220.7600.

Our personal injury attorneys represent victims of crime throughout the Northeast area. They also work with lawyers nationwide and can obtain special admission in other states on a case by case basis.