We Fight For Justice
Following the bombshell report on Catholic Church Sexual Abuse by the
The most recent report issued by the PA Grand Jury on August 14, 2018, pulled back the curtain on a systematic, institutionalized culture of sexual abuse involving more than 300 Catholic priests, officials, teachers and clergy over a period of more than 70 years. It's time for the Catholic Church to be held accountable.
The nationally-recognized trial lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC have helped thousands of survivors of sexual assault - many of them minors - get the justice they deserve. Our team includes preeminent sexual abuse attorney Richard M. Serbin, one of the first legal advocates for victims of abuse by clergy in the US.
If you or a loved one was a victim, we are here for you and ready to listen.
The Truth Has Been Revealed
The truth is no longer hidden. A series of groundbreaking reports, including the landmark report of the 40th Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, has revealed what many have long suspected: that the Catholic Church has gotten away with horrific acts of sexual abuse perpetrated and perpetuated by priests, clergy, and other officials for decades.
Reports from across the country contain the eerily similar, harrowing accounts of sexual abuse of minors at the hands of Catholic priests, officials, and clergy. In many accounts, priests and Church leaders have suppressed these records, using euphemisms like "horseplay" to describe the abusive conduct while suggesting that the children victimized were responsible for initiating their abuse.
Moreover, priests & Church leaders have conspired to conceal and failed to report instances of child sexual abuse to the relevant law enforcement authorities. The Church's failures to properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse and its decisions to "re-assign" priests accused of sexual misconduct from one parish to another enabled a culture of abuse and empowered "predator priests" and members of religious orders to become serial abusers. From the reports published, it is clear that many children could've been spared from the horrific abuse they endured if Church officials had simply spoken up.
Abuse By Catholic Priests & Clergy Has Reached Epidemic Proportions
The numbers below were uncovered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a report last updated in July 2017, and compiled by BishopAccountability.org. These totals fall below estimates made in 1993 by the late Fr. Andrew Greeley, who estimated that "2,500 priests (fewer than half the USCCB's current total) might have molested 'well in excess of 100,000' children in the United States."
A "Playbook" For Concealing The Truth
A common thread running through many of the reports of Catholic sexual abuse is a pattern or "playbook" used by the Church to repeatedly and deliberately conceal the horrific acts of priests and clergy. This pattern includes a systematic process of shuffling accused priests from one parish to another following allegations, a track record of defending 'predator priests' over innocent children and repeated, deliberate attempts to conceal this malfeasance to prevent "scandal."
As reports have shown, these allegations often involve young boys and girls - and have continued as Church officials defend their clergy instead of standing up for innocent children. Thousands of news articles have been written over the past decade attempting to shed light on the truth while helping survivors and the public to understand the magnitude of the abuses committed by the Church.
Most recently, the members of the 40th Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury took it upon themselves to draft and release an unprecedented, 1356-page report detailing their findings and recommendations, after a two-year investigation into these allegations.
This is the latest in a harrowing string of reports that have been published. If you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse at the hands of a priest or clergy member, please click below to request a free, no-obligation review from the legal team at JJS.
Shepherds Preyed on Their Flock
For many victims, the impact of sexual assault goes beyond mental health or physical trauma; many survivors suffer changes in sleeping and eating patterns, abnormal emotional behavior, risky thoughts and actions and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In many cases, survivors of sexual abuse suppress the memories of the event(s) and build a mental wall around the horrific circumstances to protect themselves.
We've all heard the term "sexual abuse survivor." But some of the victims of these atrocities did not survive - they were so traumatized by the horrors they suffered at the hands of "men of God" that they took their own lives. These victims never had the opportunity to see justice done or those accused brought to justice.
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church, the trial attorneys at JJS are here to help and will conduct a free, no-obligation review of your case. We will fight for you and do everything we can to ensure that the full measure of justice is served.
Allegations In Reports
Included in dozens of reports published on the topic of Catholic sexual abuse are hundreds of horrific examples of misconduct by priests and clergy. This abuse can take many forms, including:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Violent sexual assault
- Being asked to perform sexual acts
- Child pornography
- Inappropriate touching
- Forced masturbation
- Forced sex (oral, anal, vaginal)
- Inappropriate/lewd sexual comments
If you or a loved one was the victim of abuse by any member of the Catholic Church, the JJS team is here to help you get the justice you deserve.
A "Crusader" For Victims of Abuse by Priests & Clergy
The JJS Sexual Abuse Division is led by Richard M. Serbin, a crusader in the fight against sexual abuse by clergy and author of "When Clergy Fail Their Flocks." His work on behalf of victims has been featured in numerous national outlets, including The Daily Beast, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Tribune-Democrat, and the Wall Street Journal.
Fifteen years before reports of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church circulated in newspapers around the world, before the public believed priests could do any wrong, Richard Serbin was fighting to expose the appalling actions of priests and church leaders. For decades, these “men of God” concealed evidence and accounts child molestation, pornography, abuse and rape of innocent boys and girls in “secret archives.” Because of Richard’s work, these archives have been brought to light. Richard secured the only verdict against the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania to date and one of only a handful nationwide.
Survivors Are Taking A Stand
In their report, the members of the PA Grand Jury urge all victims to break their silence and speak up. They want survivors to know that they will be believed. They want survivors to know that many of their accounts will be verified by internal Church documents that until recently were hidden away, kept under lock and key in "secret archives." These jurors believe that justice demands "predator priests" - along with the institutions and individuals who aided and abetted them - be held accountable for their egregious and reprehensible behaviors.
In releasing the report, the jurors want to tell “our fellow citizens what happened, and try to get something done about it.” The national advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) echoed this in a statement calling on “every state’s attorney general to follow Pennsylvania’s lead and launch formal investigations.” So far, Attorneys General from Missouri, Illinois, Florida, and New York have expressed interested in launching similar inquiries.
Time's Up For the Church
The PA Grand Jury report has sparked a public outcry for justice on behalf of victims. However, as a direct result of the Church's obfuscation and concealment of the illicit activities of priests and clergy, only a few perpetrators can still be held accountable criminally - although many may still be entitled to seek justice in civil court.
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a priest or clergy member, please contact the attorneys at JJS. Our team has pioneered case law on Catholic sexual abuse and represented thousands of survivors of abuse in courts across the country -- including hundreds of victims of abuse by priests and clergy.
"These priests breached the sacred trust they owed to children who looked up to them as men of God. They - and their superiors - institutionalized a culture of rampant sexual abuse that allowed 'predator priests' to commit unspeakable acts on innocent children in their care."
Howard A. Janet, Managing Partner of JJS
Join The Fight To Deliver A Full Measure of Justice
The trial lawyers at JJS have a proven track record of taking on some of the nation's largest and most powerful companies and organizations. Our team of nationally-recognized attorneys has secured hundreds of millions on behalf of clients who were sexually abused, many of whom were abused as minors. This includes successful litigation against Penn State University for failing to take action to prevent children from being sexually abused by PSU football coach and serial molester Jerry Sandusky and The Johns Hopkins Hospital for failure to prevent thousands of women - many of them minors - from being abused by Dr. Nikita Levy.
The head of our Sexual Abuse division, Richard M. Serbin, is a pioneer and precedent-setting litigator in the fight against clergy sexual abuse. He has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse across Pennsylvania and notched landmark victories on behalf of survivors, including the widely-cited Hutchison v Luddy decision that allowed victims to bring a claim against the Church in civil court for its role in concealing the actions of pedophile priests, as well as the right to recover punitive (punishment) damages.
We represent sexual assault victims in complex, high-profile and national cases involving some of the largest and most powerful institutions in the world. Our team of litigators understands how to unravel institutional cover-ups and do everything possible to hold those responsible - both the perpetrators and those who enabled them - accountable for their actions. We're not afraid to take on the tough cases, and we are relentless in our advocacy for our clients and in our pursuit of justice on their behalf.
A NATIONAL EPIDEMIC OF SEXUAL ABUSE
Long before the latest report by the 40th Investigating Grand Jury was released, it is clear that instances of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and clergy had reached epidemic proportions. These reports have shed new light on how ingrained the culture of abuse and secrecy is within the Church.
Vice News: "Sex Abuse Hotline is Getting Hundreds of Calls After Pennsylvania Catholic Priest Report"
Times Union: "New York AG Underwood Reaches Out to State DAs to Investigate Catholic Priest Sex Abuse"
Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals have mostly been protected...many have been promoted...Shepherds must stop preying upon the flock.
Report of the PA 40th Investigative Grand Jury
PATTERNS OF ABUSE REVEALED
The report of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania confirmed what many had already believed: that the Church had institutionalized sexual abuse to an unprecedented degree and used its influence to shield 'predator priests' from scrutiny and continue to prey upon their flock. Some of the key findings from this investigation include:
IT HAPPENED EVERYWHERE
"Children were raped in places of worship, in schools, and in diocesan owned vehicles, and were groomed through diocesan programs and retreats. The bishops weren't just aware of what was going on; they were immersed in it. And they went to great lengths to keep it secret. The secrecy helped spread the disease."
COMPLAINTS WERE IGNORED
"It was hard enough for victims to come forward; but when they did, the complaints were often forgotten about, misplaced, shrugged off, or immediately discounted. The church's response not only depressed the number of "confirmed" complaints, but discouraged additional victims from reporting, knowing they might be rebuffed or ridiculed."
LAW ENFORCEMENT GAVE DEFERENCE
"There were numerous instances where law enforcement gave deference to the religious institution. Whatever the motives for that deference, it left children without their rightful civic watchdogs."
PREDATOR PRIESTS PAID OFF
"Known offenders were still secretly provided financial support. "Retired" child abusers were permitted to live in church-run facilities located near schools. Dioceses resisted calls to release abusers' names, while heralding their compliance with new mandated reporter laws. And most striking to us were cases in which the dioceses obtained child abuse "clearances" for employees who had no criminal record - because the bishop had never reported prior incidents of abuse."
JJS Is On The Front Lines In The Fight Against Sexual Abuse
A Track Record of Advocacy
The JJS team has been recognized for delivering real justice on behalf of sexual abuse survivors, many of whom were abused as children. Our Sexual Abuse Division includes Richard M. Serbin, a pioneer in the fight against sexual abuse by clergy and author of "When Clergy Fail Their Flocks." Mr. Serbin and the JJS team have successfully advocated on behalf of thousands of survivors of sexual abuse, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.
We are not afraid to take on the tough cases or go head-to-head with the nation's largest and most powerful organizations - including the Catholic Church. We are relentless in our advocacy for our clients and in our pursuit of justice on their behalf. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, clergy member or official, you can depend on JJS to deliver a full measure of justice.
We Can Deliver Real Justice For Survivors Of Sexual Abuse
Our proven track record of successfully representing victims of sexual abuse includes an “historic” $190M settlement with the Johns Hopkins Hospital regarding the sexual abuse by OB/GYN Dr. Nikita Levy. For decades, Dr. Levy conducted improper exams on patients — exams that included probing, inappropriate touching, lewd sexual remarks and illicit photography. The settlement secured by JJS is one of the largest sexual abuse cases against a single abuser in U.S. history and helped thousands of women.
JJS has continued to advocate on behalf of victims of sexual abuse. Recently, the firm filed the first class-action lawsuits against USC in CA State Court on behalf of thousands of female students who were allegedly sexually abused and illicitly photographed by USC OB/GYN, Dr. George Tyndall. The firm is also representing approximately 100 women who were allegedly abused by another OB/GYN, who in reality was not a legitimate physician at all and had fraudulently obtained a medical license.
We understand that there is no verdict or settlement that can erase the pain and memories that survivors endure, and that cases of this nature are not simply about compensation or what the compensation can do for survivors of sexual abuse and their families. These cases are also about protecting other innocent individuals and children from being sexually abused in the future.
Justice Delivered For Victims Abused As Children
JJS played a major role in the sexual abuse case against Penn State Football Coach & serial molester Jerry Sandusky. Howard A. Janet, managing partner at JJS, represented Victim #6. Unlike many other attorneys representing Sandusky & Penn State victims, JJS filed a lawsuit because our team knew that’s what it would take to get our client full – not partial – justice. The compensation JJS obtained for Victim #6 changed his life.
We have taken on tough cases where individuals in positions of leadership or authority – including doctors, coaches, supervisors and others – have taken advantage of the trust placed in them to commit unspeakable acts on innocent victims.
Our team has the experience and resources necessary to untangle the complex web of lies and deceit used by institutions to conceal this wrongdoing and protect the offenders from scrutiny.
Why Trust JJS?
JJS has uncovered the truth and won over a billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients across a wide range of extremely serious and complex cases. Our team of trial attorneys has a proven track record of taking on tough cases involving some of the nation's largest and most prestigious organizations - and winning.
If you have a high-stakes sexual abuse, legal malpractice, medical malpractice or other injury case, we can help hold those responsible accountable and deliver the full measure of justice you deserve. Our attorneys have been awarded dozens of national accolades for competence and ethics - and bring a record of delivering "historic" justice not just in clear-cut cases, but in cases that other preeminent law firms have missed or failed to put together. Our in-house medical experts and years of experience in high-profile cases provide us with an edge.
As a national law firm with a 30+ year track record, we have the wherewithal to advance hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of case costs on your behalf in order to put you in the best possible position to recover the compensation you deserve. And you'll never have to pay attorneys' fees or case costs unless we win your case.
We understand that these experiences are traumatic and appreciate how difficult it is to come forward, which is why we treat each survivor with the care and compassion that we'd want. At JJS, we fight to help survivors get the justice they deserve.