Roman Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal Overview

More people, including those who are not directly affected by instances of sexual abuse are curious about the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. 

This scandal has made headlines across the country, especially in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, where it has been revealed that hundreds or even thousands of people could have been abused by Catholic Church representatives while the victims were children.

As many of these victims have shared their stories and as the news media has covered the issue in greater detail, legislators have explored ways to support victims. New York has already increased the statute of limitations so that adult victims can still file lawsuits even when the abuse occurred decades prior.

Pedophilia and Sexual Abuse in the Church

A Boston and Globe Newspapers story, related to a 2015 film, showcased instances of widespread abuse and pedophilic priests. This prompted many victims who had previously suffered to come forward not just in the US, but around the world.

How Many Roman Catholic Priest Abuse Cases Are There?

A 2004 report commissioned by the church found that more than 4,000 priests had faced allegations of sexual abuse in the previous 50 years, including more than 10,000 children. A further 2009 report identified that psychological and sexual abuse was endemic in Catholic-run orphanages and industrial schools in Ireland. The reports on the scale of the abuse continue to come out.

Catholic Abuse Responses

A poll released in March 2019 found that the number of US Catholics who are thinking about whether or not to leave the church has increased by 15 points since the last major clergy sex abuse crisis in the early 2000s.

This highlights the far-reaching implications of the Roman Catholic church sexual abuse scandal, which has many churchgoers concerned about whether or not the young children are safe attending services or being involved with the church in other ways.

Non-Disclosure Issues

Church authorities have been frequently accused of covering up cases of sexual abuse. There are pushes in some states, such as New York, to make members of church and religious organizations mandatory reporters of abuse.

This is largely due to the fact that many members of the public and legislators have accused officials in the Catholic church of attempting to cover up instances of abuse when those cases were relatively clear.

Church Resignations and Retirements

Some of the accused priests in the United States have been forced to resign, others who had crimes that fell under the statute of limitations ended up in jail.  Some victims, however, claim that other legal action should be taken and that additional priests should step down from their roles.

Sex Abuse Scandal Settlements

Some diocese have also come together to offer settlement funds to be paid off to victims who come forward with claims of sexual abuse. In exchange for accepting a settlement from any of these funds, a victim is barred from bringing additional litigation against the Catholic Church.


Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.