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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. 

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