Scroll Top

Sexual Abuse Lawsuits | Catholic Church and other Religious Institutions

Sexual Abuse Lawsuits | Catholic Church and other Religious Institutions

Religious institutions that fail to prevent sexual abuse or sexual assault and/or don’t offer proper support when incidents are reported, need to be held accountable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, you should Contact Us immediately. Remember: everything you share with your lawyer is confidential.

On December 14, 1029, Pope Francis ended 13 years of silence by the Roman Catholic Church concerning sexual abuse and sexual assault cases. Previously, the Secrecy Policy, established in 2001, made allegations of sexual abuse a “pontifical secret”. The decision came after mounting pressure, including a call to protect children, a call to prevent abuse, a requirement that church officials report abuse charges to the Vatican prosecutors, and a requirement for church officials to report others who attempt to cover up abuse allegations.

The move, unfortunately, came too late. Prior to 2019, sexual abuses by church officials were being reported for decades and the perpetrators allegedly relied on the protection of the Catholic Church to avoid legal problems.  The survivors faced a reality of loneliness and trauma.

The Catholic Church, however, is not the only religious institution involved in sexual abuse allegations. In 2019, in “Caring Well – a report from the Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Advisory Group”, Dr. Susan Codone wrote:

Sexual abuse in the SBC is an epidemic powered by a culture of our own making. The work of the Study Group will not stop this epidemic right away.

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has also been involved in sexual abuse scandals.  According to a report published by The Washington Post in 2018, “The Sin of Silence – The epidemic of denial about sexual abuse in the evangelical church”:

Paige Patterson, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was forced into early retirement this month after reports that he’d told a rape victim to forgive her assailant rather than call the police.

And, in 2017, after allegations of sexual abuse by Sogyal Lakar, a Buddhist teacher and founder of Rigpa (an “international network of centers and groups offering the Buddha’s teachings”), the organization published a report in which it confirmed the following allegations:

1. some students of Sogyal Lakar (who were part of the ‘inner circle’, as described later in this report) have been subjected to serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse by him; and

2. there were senior individuals within Rigpa who were aware of at least some of these issues and failed to address them, leaving others at risk.

Sexual Abuse & Religious Institutions | What to do?

Religious institutions are expected to prevent sexual abuse and sexual assault by their officials. If they fail to do so and/or try to cover up the allegations, they can be liable for failing to protect victims.

Survivors should reach out to family members and friends for support, as well as doctors and professionals who can help you through the recovery process. It is also paramount to hold the perpetrators accountable: sexual predators and the negligent institutions that failed to provide a safe environment and/or did not respond properly upon being notified about the abuse and/or assault.

The attorneys at Peiffer Wolf are committed to providing first-class legal representation to clients who are survivors of sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. We are very compassionate, and we will guide you or your loved one through the entire process. It is our goal to achieve justice for those who have suffered at the hands of others

If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, you should Contact Us immediately.

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault Lawsuits | FREE Consultation

Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway is a nationally recognized law firm. Our team of attorneys is fully prepared to assist our clients, protect their privacy, and guide them through the process. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, Contact Us immediately. You can fill out an online contact form or call 415-766-3544 for a FREE Consultation.

Remember: everything you share with your lawyer is confidential.


Suit: Uber-backed proposal to cap attorney fees would harm sexual assault victims

Court filings claim Uber’s lax driver background checks put women riders at risk

She says she gave birth to a child after a Lyft driver raped her in 2019. Now she’s suing


Yes. Please call us or use our contact form to request a Free Case Evaluation. We have a national team of attorneys and staff who look forward to speaking with you.

Typically, we represent clients on contingency fee agreements. If we take your case under a contingency fee arrangement, you won’t owe our firm any legal fees unless we are able to recover money for you.

Our contingency fee agreements are usually based on a percentage of the amount we recover for our clients. The contingency fee amount is determined by the type of case, our estimate of how long it will take to resolve your case, and our estimate of the litigation costs we will advance in your case. Each engagement agreement includes the details of the fee arrangement. Questions about our fee agreements are welcomed and encouraged.

In most litigation matters, it is extremely difficult – practically impossible – to predict how long it will take to resolve a particular case. Every case is different, and we will do our best to provide you with an estimate based on your case and our experience with similar cases. Moreover, we will do our best to keep you updated and manage expectations along the way.


We handle cases that change lives. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Attorney Joe Peiffer
Founding Partner