Priest & Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyers
Representation by a Former Sex Crimes Unit Prosecutor
Page last reviewed and updated: December 11, 2017
As a former sex crimes unit prosecutor, Brian Kent is passionate about justice for all victims of abuse. Prior to entering the civil arena, he worked as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting sex offenders. This gives him a unique perspective on civil liability in abuse cases. He knows how to conduct the civil case while the criminal case may be pending, to maximize a victim’s chance of financial recovery.
Latest News: A Western Pennsylvania priest was arrested on July 24, 2017 for sexually assaulting a 4th grade boy in the 1991-1992 school year at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Lower Burrell, PA, outside of Pittsburgh. Father John Thomas Sweeney faces a single charge of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse. Get the latest on this criminal case here.
- Six Figure Recovery – A man who was sexually abused when he was a child by a judge came forward years later and filed suit against the judge, which resulted in an admission of the abuse, resignation from the bench and disbarment
- Six Figure Recovery – A teen who was sexually abused by her high school teacher came forward years later and filed suit against the school for failing to stop the abuse after having knowledge of it
- Six Figure Recovery – A student who was sexually harassed and assaulted by a high school teacher
Recent Investigations – Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
In 2016, a two year long investigation into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in Pennsylvania culminated with an extensive Grand Jury report which exposed dozens of priests as child molesters. What’s even worse is that Bishops in charge of the Diocese protected the church over hundreds of victims. Bishop Joseph Adamec created a written pay scale which detailed what victims were to be paid for various acts of abuse. Current Bishop Mark Bartchak testified. In addition, Monsignor Michael Servinsky was called to testify in December 2015. Servinsky was previously involved in multiple investigations of priest abuse under previous bishops. Servinsky exercised his 5th Amendment Right and did not answer any questions.
Some of the other priests in the grand jury report include:
- Father David Arsenault (Pastor, Most Holy Trinity Church in Huntingdon, PA)
- Father Stephen Baker (committed suicide 2013)
- Father Charles Bodziak (Pastor, St. Michael’s Church in St. Michael, PA)
- Father James Bunn (retired)
- Father Martin Cingle (Suspended from St. Francis of Assisi 2015)
- Father James Coveney (status unknown)
- Father Joseph Gaborek (defrocked 2004)
- Father Bernard Grattan (defrocked 2004)
- Father Robert Kelly (suspended from St. Peter & Paul Church 2015)
- Father George Koharchik (resigned 2012)
- Monsignor Anthony Little (suspended 2015)
- Father Francis Luddy (dismissed from the priesthood)
- Monsignor Thomas Mabon (deceased 2015)
- Father Joseph Maurizio (convicted of child sex abuse crimes 2015)
Civil Justice for Victims of Priest Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Sex Abuse
Victims of priest or clergy abuse, sexual assault, and sex abuse deserve justice in the civil justice system. The civil justice system allows victims to seek financial compensation for the physical, mental, emotional and economic damages caused by the abuse. However, many crime victims don’t know of their right to seek such compensation and oftentimes end their search for justice at the conclusion of the criminal case.
Child molestation, priest and clergy abuse, sexual assault, and sex abuse are all too common and are often perpetrated by people we trust such as:
- day care center employees
- priests or religious leaders
- camp counselors
- nursing home employees
- professionals such as doctors, dentists, counselors, psychologists and therapists
Victims of Priest or Clergy Sex Abuse & Sex Assault – Legal Rights
The laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey clearly provide for liability in child molestation, priest/clergy abuse, sexual assault or sex abuse cases. In many situations, parties other than the perpetrator are legally liable for the abuse. Any person or business acting through its employees, who failed to report or prevent the abuse after suspecting the abuse or who actively concealed the abuse, is a potential defendant. Any landlord or property management company which unreasonably failed to provide adequate security resulting in assault on their property can be held liable. Liability is based on case law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey which establish the standard of care and liability for any of the following actions or inactions:
- failing to conduct reasonable background checks on employees
- failing to conduct a reasonable investigation
- hiding or concealing the abuse
- failing to report the abuse
- failing to prevent the abuse
- failing to train employees on the policies regarding mandatory reporting of abuse
- failing to have a policy in place regarding mandatory reporting of abuse
- negligent security resulting in access by criminals
Priest Abuse Lawyers
At the law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent, our experienced attorneys are committed to providing quality representation and individual attention to their clients and their clients’ families. Our highly rated crime victims civil justice attorneys have many solid years of experience handling child sex abuse, child molestation, priest/clergy abuse and sexual assault cases.
LBK partner, Brian Kent, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor with unique perspective and knowledge of both the criminal and civil justice systems. He has been featured in local and national news about his expertise in the area of child molestation and sex abuse. He brings his passion for justice for crime victims to each of his cases.
If you or a loved one was a victim of molestation, priest/clergy sex abuse or sexual assault in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or New York contact our experienced, highly rated crime victims rights lawyers for a free, confidential consultation. 215.399.9255/800.220.7600