CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS
Diocese releases lists of ‘credibly accused’ clergy
Although the information is decades old, on July 1st, 2019 the Diocese of Providence released lists of ‘credibly accused’ priests, deacons and religious.
The lists are broken into categories, separating living as opposed to deceased clerics, and stating their date of birth and date of “Removed from Ministry”
We commend the Diocese for releasing this list, albeit decades after the fact. Victims tend to blame themselves, and hide their status as a victim of such misconduct, often because of self-doubt, and shame.
I cannot stress enough that such feelings of shame, though understandable, and clinically documented, are misplaced. The persons who should be ashamed are the perpetrators, including those who enabled the abuse. Victims can find solace in the fact that their perpetrator has been credibly accused, and this may enable them to come forward. So public affirmation of the misconduct of its clerics is a positive step for the diocese.
As difficult as it may be, parents should review this list. No one wants to see a name there that is familiar to their family, but this information is important to protecting children, including adult children who have lived with secrets for decades, believing that they had to remain silent.
The list raises as many questions as it answers, however, and indeed is troubling.
The diocese is listing priests as the subject matter of ‘credible’ accusations and indeed removed, although this diocese had publicly denied having such allegations regarding those same priests in court.
The legal implications of their duplicity are presumably another chapter in this saga, part of which is being written with intense, global media coverage including insight from Tim:
The Providence Journal on July 2, sifts through our litigation a decade ago to discover and spotlight the contradictions between ‘the list’ and the Diocese prior disclosures regarding the scope of the problem – quoting Tim calling out the ‘hubris’ of the Diocese efforts to make themselves ‘judge and jury’ on the issue of credibility.
Sex Abuse Lawyers in Rhode Island and Connecticut
Timothy J. Conlon is at the forefront of litigation involving priest sexual abuse, child molestation and sexual abuse in schools. Because of our uncompromising efforts on behalf of the victims of child sexual abuse, attorney Conlon was one of three attorneys presented with the 2003 award for Case of the Year by the Rhode Island Trial Lawyers Association. The award was presented to attorney Conlon to “acknowledge his efforts in connection with the Rhode Island Clergy Abuse cases.”
Attorney Timothy Conlon’s High-Profile Case
Attorney Conlon had chaired the Plaintiffs’ Counsel Committee, and in that capacity effected settlement of 37 cases on behalf of victims and their families. The settlements totaled 14.25 million dollars, and were negotiated with the assistance of Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, of Brockton, MA. We are presently engaged in negotiations regarding settlement of several dozen clergy abuse cases in this state.
On April 28, 1998, Mr. Conlon, on behalf of the Plaintiff’s Counsel Committee, filed a 145 page amended complaint, that served as the model from which all the Rhode Island cases were pled. This is not a short read, however, the document synthesizes the history of sexual misconduct in the Church, starting from the point at which the church had purchased an island, on which it intended to exile offending clerics, and continuing through the events that preceded the now famous crisis in the Church. The document, released nearly four years before the nationwide scandal was “uncovered” by mainstream media, presented the legal claim that church officials and institutions are liable for sexual misconduct of clerics based on allegations that those officials, mindful of the effect that scandal could have on the institution, deliberately engaged in a series of actions to protect priests and the institutions of the church, to the detriment of children.
Protecting Children Harmed by Clergy Sexual Abuse
We have successfully represented scores of childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse/priest sexual abuse. Because of the devastating psychological effects of this sexual abuse, many of our clients have suffered from profound mental illness. Many have developed serious substance abuse problems later in life. The majority have been badly scarred and damaged from their experience. Many suffered through troubled and unstable periods of their lives.
We understand the upheaval caused by such a severe breach of faith. We have worked with victims to present their claims in a manner that communicates the breadth and depth of the destruction wrought by abuse. We have worked with medical and psychological professionals, and social service organizations to get our clients the help and treatment that they need. We will aggressively pursue available legal remedies to obtain maximum compensation on behalf of our clients and their families. Our work has resulted in significant settlements against church and educational institutions as well as other agencies and organizations that failed to protect children against the damage done to them.
Since 1987, Attorney Conlon has handled civil sexual abuse cases in a variety of contexts, including:
- Residential care facilities
- Treatment providers
- Childcare officials
- Clergy abuse
Contact Our Attorneys to Find Out How We May Help
If your child has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy, or if you were a sexual abuse victim as a child, contact us today with any questions you may have regarding the matter. We will protect your legal rights, assist you in getting the help that you need and obtain appropriate compensation.
Call (401) 216-4414 to get started.