This past month we have been looking at questions surrounding the Child Victims Act. It is a true opportunity for justice to people who for many years were denied the right. The abused will now have three years to bring a claim. With a new Act, there are always questions that we hope to be able to answer.
The window for bringing survivor claims is three years, as of May 2013. This means that any individual who was abused as a child can bring a claim against their abuser and the institution that protected that abuser. This is a special window that was provided for by the Minnesota Legislature and the Governor.
(update) Due to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Bankruptcy the deadline there is now Aug. 3, 2015
You can bring a claim even if you have been told in the past that you could not. It is not unusual to talk to individual survivors who have been told in the past that they had no claim because of the statute of limitations. That is the benefit that is provided by this Act. This is not an unlimited window. As the legislation is written, it will close in July of 2016. This means that the case needs to be served on the defendant by that time. Since there are always questions about putting lawsuits together, the more time you allow the better.
Experience does make a difference. If you are going to hire a lawyer to represent you in this type of case, you want to ask them how many cases like this they have done and their experience in bringing these claims. While the statute does allow for claims that were closed in the past, it should also be addressed by individuals who are experienced in dealing with these types of claims.
You can remain anonymous in coming forward. At this time, there have been a number of suits filed under “John Doe” plaintiffs. This means that a claim can be made without the use of your actual name for privacy purposes.
A consultation does not mean that you are bringing a claim. Consultations are confidential and involve information that cannot be disclosed without your approval. Consequently, there should be no fear in contacting an experienced priest abuse attorney to discuss your potential claim.
There are still questions about what will happen with cases that were pursued and dismissed and/or settled. These are cases worth reviewing by an experienced priest abuse attorney to make sure there are not additional rights that can be provided under the new act.
There have been press conferences about these cases. Just because you get involved in a case does not mean you will end up in a press conference or have to ever talk to the press. However, in circumstances of the naming of new priests or new actions, those are options available if you would like to participate in them.
If you are not a survivor and are only a witness or someone who has information, your contact could be very important. It is not unusual in these cases to find individuals whoare vital to disclosing information about transfers that were done or when information was known concerning their abuse that took place.
If you do not see the name of your abuser on the organizational lists that are out there, it is worth coming forward to discuss what options you have. It has been very clear historically that there are always names that come forward after the fact or that are part of bankruptcies that until that time were never disclosed. Thus, you may have vital information concerning a pedophile that until then has been held in secret.
This is not just a claim against any particular institution or individual. The statute involves all survivors who were sexually abused as children. Consequently, if you are one of those individuals, you should come forward and talk to an experienced lawyer about the questions you have.
These claims are signed upon what is called a contingency basis. Consequently, you need no money in order to talk to a lawyer. You will never be billed hourly and we will only receive money if we get money on your behalf. The accumulated costs will be paid for by the lawyer and reimbursed only if there is a recovery.
It is not unusual for people to have a number of other life experiences since the time of the abuse. There are survivors who have suffered in silence and may have turned to sexual activity, drugs/alcohol, and/or been the subject of criminal charges. This does not prevent you from having a claim. When you contact an experienced priest abuse attorney, you will not be judged. This is an attempt to right past wrongs that you continue to suffer through no fault of your own at a time when you were young and most vulnerable. Experience teaches us to deal with individuals as they were at that time.
Justice can be found by acting now.
Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders need to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to note that there is help out there..
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.