Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse may experience the impacts of this trauma throughout their lives. However, a new Maryland law may allow survivors to file civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse regardless of when the abuse took place.
At Sokolove Law, we are dedicated to supporting survivors of abuse while holding the individuals or institutions responsible for their pain accountable.
Maryland Extends Child Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations
On April 11, the governor of Maryland signed the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 into law.
This act eliminates the statute of limitations on filing a civil lawsuit for child sex abuse, allowing people who were abused decades ago to take legal action.
Previous Maryland laws prevented anyone over the age of 38 from filing a claim for sexual abuse during childhood.
Filing a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse may provide you with financial compensation while holding the individual or institution that caused you harm accountable. It can also potentially prevent others from being harmed by them as well.
The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 was inspired by the findings of a recent report that uncovered rampant abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the oldest Archdioceses in the United States.
Where Does Child Sexual Abuse Occur?
Abusers often commit assaults in spaces where they feel like they have immunity and are well-respected.
If an institution or organization enabled an abuser or failed to protect you from the abuse, they may be partially responsible for the harm you experienced.
Child sexual abuse may occur in many places, including within:
- Camps or extracurricular activities
- Sports teams
- And more
If you experienced childhood sexual abuse, you are not alone. If you choose to take legal action against the institution or individual that caused you harm, our team is here to support you and fight on your behalf.
Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
In 2018, the attorney general of Maryland began conducting an investigation into claims of widespread child sexual abuse that was carried out and covered up by employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The report, which was released in April 2023, detailed decades of systemic abuse within the Catholic Church. The abuse took place in churches, Catholic schools, and other programs associated with the Archdiocese.
Abusers used their positions of power to take advantage of those they were entrusted to teach and care for.
“From the 1940s through 2002, over a hundred priests and other Archdiocese personnel engaged in horrific and repeated abuse of the most vulnerable children in their communities while Archdiocese leadership looked the other way.”
– Attorney General’s Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
When children spoke up about their experiences, leaders within the Church often reassigned priests and other clergy members to different locations rather than reporting the abuse to the police and punishing them for their actions.
Unfortunately, reports of clergy sex abuse throughout the United States have continued to draw attention to the pervasiveness of this issue within the Church.
Who Can File a Maryland Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
You may be able to file a civil lawsuit for child sex abuse in Maryland if you are the:
- Survivor of childhood sex abuse
- Parent, guardian, or estate representative of a survivor of child sex abuse
While many of the priests named in the attorney general’s report on the Archdiocese of Baltimore have since passed away, this does not prevent survivors from filing a lawsuit.
Even if your abuser is deceased, you may still be able to take legal action against the institution that enabled or covered up your abuse.
Whether or not someone’s actions meet the legal definition of sexual abuse can be confusing, especially if the abuse happened at a young age.
At Sokolove Law, we have registered nurses on staff who can help you make sense of what happened.
Choosing a Maryland Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, a lawyer can help you fight for justice and compensation.
At Sokolove Law, our experienced Maryland child sexual abuse attorneys will handle every step of the legal process for you, so you can focus on your health and well-being.
Our childhood sexual abuse lawyers may be able to:
- Stand up for the victims of sexual assault and abuse
- Act as a guide through the legal process, so survivors can focus on their healing
- File the sexual abuse civil lawsuit on behalf of survivors
- Pursue compensation that can help survivors and families find closure moving forward
We believe that your story can help in the battle to end childhood sexual abuse, and we are here to help if you choose to take legal action.
Get Help Filing a Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in Maryland
Since 1979, Sokolove Law has fought to amplify the voices of survivors in the justice system. We are committed to helping people impacted by child sexual abuse seek closure and accountability.
Our Maryland sexual abuse attorneys are compassionate toward survivors — and relentless in our pursuit of compensation on their behalf.
Child Sex Abuse in Maryland FAQs
What is the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023?
The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 is a law that repealed the statute of limitations on filing civil lawsuits for child sex abuse. This means that those who were abused decades ago can pursue justice regardless of how many years have passed.
Previously, people who were abused as children were unable to file a lawsuit after the age of 38.
What is the statute of limitation on child sex abuse in Maryland?
Thanks to the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023, there is currently no statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases in Maryland.
Victims of child sexual abuse can pursue a civil lawsuit regardless of how long ago their abuse occurred.
What is the report on the Archdiocese of Baltimore?
The report on the Archdiocese of Baltimore was conducted by Maryland’s attorney general to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse carried out by clergy members like priests, deacons, and other employees of the Catholic Church.
The report, which was released in April 2023, identified over 150 abusers and more than 600 victims.
Additionally, the report also noted that the widespread abuse was often covered up or dismissed by members of the Church’s hierarchy.
How much does a Maryland child sexual abuse lawyer cost?
At Sokolove Law, our child sexual abuse attorneys charge no hourly fees or out-of-pocket costs.
We only get paid if we recover compensation for you, so there is no financial risk to working with us.
Can I file a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit against someone who is no longer alive?
In some instances, yes. You may be able to file a lawsuit against a deceased abuser’s estate, which contains the sum of the assets that they left behind.
You may also still file a lawsuit against institutions like churches or schools that may be partially to blame for the harm you experienced.
Our attorneys can work with you to determine your eligibility for compensation, even if your abuser has passed away.
What constitutes childhood sexual abuse?
Generally speaking, sexual assault is any unwanted sexual or sexually motivated behavior performed without a person’s consent.
Since minors are legally unable to provide consent, sexual contact between an adult and someone under the age of 18 may also constitute abuse.
Childhood sexual abuse can include:
- Groping or molestation
- Rape or attempted rape
- Sexual exploitation
We have registered nurses on staff who can help you understand what may have happened.