Are punitive damages available in lawsuits against priests for past sexual abuse?

Whether you can recover punitive damages in a sexual abuse lawsuit involving a priest differs from one state to the next.  In very general terms, punitive damages are not typically available unless you can prove there has been some sort of malicious intent.  Plus, the underlying act must be intentional, rather than simply negligent or careless. Given the nature of this type of civil lawsuit, punitive damages may be available to victims of a priest’s sexual abuse under many state laws. 

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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