On what grounds can a priest and/or Catholic diocese be liable for sexual abuse that occurred in the past?

A priest can be personally liable under state laws pertaining to sexual abuse of children for committing such abuse, as well as liable in his capacity as a priest and/or church employee.  An individual priest may also be liable for failing to supervise, report, or otherwise discipline a priest who has committed sexual abuse with minors.  Likewise, a Catholic diocese or the Catholic church as a whole may be liable for a priest’s sexual abuse of minors if it is aware of the abuse but fails to adequately remove the priest or take other steps to remedy the situation.

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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