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Maryland Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Miller & Zois’ sexual assault attorneys fight for victims in Maryland to hold these criminals who commit sexual assault and abuse and the organizations that supported them accountable.

The key to obtaining money damages for your suffering is usually finding an organization, like a church, Boy Scouts, or medical practice that is responsible for employing or, worse, assisting in the abuse and cover-up. Victims in these sex abuse cases can fight to get the maximum compensation Maryland law allows.

Our sexual abuse attorneys fight for victims in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. If you think you may have a claim, you want to contact an experienced sex abuse lawyer immediately. There is a sexual assault statute of limitations that our lawyers discuss below that imposes strict deadlines to sue.

You can call any of our sexual assault lawyers at 800-553-8082 for a confidential discussion of your case and your options. You can also complete this simple online form.


Before we dig into how to bring a sex abuse claim and the settlement amounts victims can expect, let us get you up to speed on the latest news in sex abuse litigation in Maryland. Our law firm is committed to giving victims the latest news and information in these lawsuits.

July 23, 2024: Bankruptcy Case For Archdiocese Of Baltimore Moves Closer To Mediation 

The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s bankruptcy case is moving closer to mediation as attorneys for the church, its insurers, and a committee of sex abuse survivors reached a tentative agreement on the terms for upcoming negotiations. This is a meaningful start on the path to justice.  This agreement, requiring client approval, addresses whether the archdiocese will drop its breach-of-contract lawsuit against its insurers and what role survivors would play if the lawsuit is refiled.

The tentative agreement allows the archdiocese’s insurers to nominate a third mediator alongside two already proposed mediators, subject to challenge. The archdiocese declared bankruptcy just before Maryland’s Child Victims Act took effect, which removed time limits for child sex abuse survivors to sue.

July 9, 2024: Existing Definitions And Procedures Fail To Prevent Former County Teacher From Securing Positions At Private Schools

A report by the Maryland Office of the Inspector General for Education highlights the failure of existing definitions and procedures to prevent a former Baltimore County teacher, Mark Planamente, from securing teaching positions at private schools, where he later engaged in the sexual solicitation of a minor.

Planamente, who pleaded guilty in January 2023, initially avoided termination from Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) in 2015 after sending inappropriate messages to a student and was allowed to resign instead. Despite these red flags, he was subsequently hired by two Catholic schools due to what the report says was insufficient communication and understanding of grooming behaviors among school administrators.

The investigation found that neither BCPS, the Catholic High School of Baltimore, nor the Sisters Academy of Baltimore were at fault. This does not match the significant issues it raises in how background checks and allegations of sexual misconduct are handled. The lack of clear definitions and standardized training for recognizing grooming behaviors resulted in inconsistent reporting, and inadequate preventive measures were also to blame. It is harder to create real change when there is such a lack of accountability.

June 25, 2024: Maryland Supreme Court Likely To Rule This Fall On Constitutionality Of Maryland Child Victims Act

The Maryland Supreme Court will likely rule this fall on the constitutionality of the Maryland Child Victims Act. Oral arguments will likely be heard in September.

June 23, 2024: Randallstown High School Teacher Arrested And Charged With Two Felonies

A 38-year-old teacher at Randallstown High School in Maryland was arrested on June 21 and charged with two felonies—sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual offense—as well as two misdemeanors. The charges stem from an investigation that began at the end of April, during which detectives conducted interviews and gathered evidence leading to his arrest.

June 6, 2024: Deadline To File Claims Against Archdiocese Of Baltimore Passed 

The deadline for victims of sexual abuse to file claims against the Archdiocese of Baltimore in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy passed last week. The Archdiocese reported that over 700 claims were filed, with potential liability estimated at $1 billion.

June 4, 2024: Kenika Danielle Leach Indicted For Sex Trafficking

Kenika Danielle Leach was indicted for sex trafficking following a two-year investigation. Leach allegedly trafficked at least 11 women from Hagerstown, Maryland, to various locations in Maryland for commercial sex acts. The indictment includes charges of managing a criminal organization and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking lawsuits arising from cases like this typically involve survivors seeking compensation for damages resulting from their exploitation. These lawsuits may target traffickers like Leach, of course, but the real focus is hotels that knowingly or negligently benefited from or facilitated the trafficking. Our lawyers have seen this too often – hotels that put their heads in the sand and ignore the obvious. These 11 women may seek damages for physical and psychological harm, loss of income, and other losses incurred as a result of their horrific experiences.

May 28, 2024: Elementary School Teacher Charged With 36 Counts

A Severna Park Elementary School teacher, Matthew Schlegel, has been charged with 36 counts, including sexual abuse of minors and second-degree assault, after allegedly inappropriately touching up to eight students in his third-grade math class. Schlegel, 44, was arrested at his home following an investigation that began in March. The abuse reportedly dates back to August 2022. Schlegel was removed from his classroom and reassigned to a non-student position in March. He somehow remains employed pending a review of the charges.

May 14, 2024: Former McDonogh School Student Files Lawsuit In Federal Court 

In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court, a former McDonogh School student accuses the institution of gross negligence and complicity in enabling sexual abuse by the school’s former dean of students four decades ago. The plaintiff recounts multiple incidents of sexual assault by the dean.

The lawsuit asserts that McDonogh School was aware of the dean’s predatory behavior long before the plaintiff’s enrollment but chose to cover up the misconduct rather than remove him. Despite numerous reports and knowledge of the dean’s inappropriate conduct with male students, the suit claims that the school’s administration and board allowed him to remain in his position, thereby failing to protect the plaintiff and other students. The plaintiff’s suit says McDonogh failed to take the most obvious and necessary action: removing him from the school. Instead of addressing the issue, the school, along with its board members, administrators, and teachers, chose silence and inaction, effectively becoming complicit.

Why is the case in federal court? The plaintiff is now a resident of Pennsylvania.

May 7, 2024: Archdiocese Of Baltimore Files Lawsuit Against Insurance Providers 

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has filed a lawsuit in federal court against several insurance providers, asserting that these insurers have failed to uphold their coverage obligations related to a surge in child sex abuse claims. This legal action, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure, accuses the insurers of breach of contract.

The complaint outlines that following the enactment of the Child Victims Act of 2023 by the Maryland General Assembly, which allows previously time-barred claims of sexual abuse to be filed, multiple claims have been and are expected to be made against the Archdiocese and the parishes. The Plaintiffs argue that the insurance policies in question require the Insurers to cover all sums that the Plaintiffs become legally obligated to pay as damages and to cover defense costs, regardless of the allegations’ validity.

The lawsuit details that despite timely premium payments and proper notice given for the claims, the Insurers have allegedly failed to fulfill their obligations under the insurance policies by denying coverage, refusing to defend the claims, or failing to indemnify the Plaintiffs against the claims. As such, the Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief to affirm their rights under the insurance policies and damages for the alleged breach of these contracts.

The Archdiocese is asking the court for several outcomes, including a declaratory judgment on the insurer’s duty to defend and indemnify the Archdiocese in these sexual abuse lawsuits and compensatory damages for defense costs and indemnity that the Insurers have allegedly failed to cover.

April 17, 2024: Officials Urge Greater Baltimore Medical Center Sexual Assault Survivors To Contact New Hotline

Baltimore County officials are urging sexual assault survivors who were treated at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center from 1977 to 1997 to contact a new hotline for updates and resources related to their cases. This admirable initiative aims to inform survivors about the status of untested sexual assault evidence, specifically, slides preserved during that period, which are now being tested for DNA to potentially solve cold cases.

Over 1,000 slides have been sent for DNA testing since November, with all expected to be tested by the end of the year. Survivors can opt in or out of receiving information via a hotline managed by the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The project, supported by significant grant funding, underscores a commitment to resolving longstanding sexual assault cases and providing survivors with choices and support in navigating their options.

April 15, 2024: Former Student Of McDonogh Schoo0l Files Lawsuit

A former student has filed a lawsuit against McDonogh School, claiming sexual abuse by Alvin Joseph Levy, the school’s former Dean of Students, from 1980 to 1984.

This school sex abuse lawsuit comes on the heels of an investigation that revealed multiple faculty members at McDonogh allegedly abused students over several decades, with past school administrations failing to act appropriately. Levy, who was indicted in 1992 but died before his trial, is accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct on school grounds.

Like all of these cases, the progression of this lawsuit will hinge on the Maryland Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Maryland Child Victim Act because the plaintiff missed the deadline to file without the new law extending the statute of limitations.

April 11, 2024: Maryland Appellate Court Confirmed Conviction Of Fairmount Heights Police Officer 

The Maryland Appellate Court confirmed the conviction of an ex-Fairmount Heights police officer found guilty of engaging in sexual relations with a detainee.

In an opinion written by Judge Laura S. Ripken, the court backed the initial judgment by the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, which found ample evidence to support the jury’s conviction of Martique Vanderpool.

Vanderpool, alongside another officer, stopped a woman for speeding. The woman, referred to as K.T. in court documents, disclosed she had a driving permit but not a license. Following a vehicle search that yielded condoms, Vanderpool made inappropriate sexual remarks and informed K.T. that her vehicle would be impounded due to her lack of a license. Subsequently, K.T. was taken to the police station where Vanderpool proposed they have sex, which K.T. felt coerced into, believing her options were limited to that or jail.

Vanderpool’s appeal contested the claim that K.T. was in his custody at the time, arguing it lacked sufficient evidence for conviction. However, the appellate court, noting K.T.’s handcuffing, the impounding of her vehicle, and the denial of her requests to make phone calls, affirmed that the circumstances indeed constituted custody. The appellate court’s judgment supports the notion that K.T. was not free to leave, underlining her constrained freedom of movement.

The good news about a case like this is that juries are now listening to women. The days of “I believe the police officer, that girl was driving without a license, so she must be a liar” are mostly over in 2024.

April 5, 2024: Board Of Public Works Approves $4.1 Million Settlement For UMBC Students 

The state Board of Public Works approved a $4.1 million settlement for University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) students who experienced sexual harassment and discrimination by a former swim coach. A Department of Justice Title IX investigation, initiated in 2020 and examining allegations from 2015 to 2020, revealed a “hypersexualized environment” where male swimmers faced daily sexual misconduct by the coach. This environment persisted for nearly two decades until the coach was placed on leave in 2020 amid the probe, later dying by suicide in 2021 after being notified of the allegations.

The settlement offers compensation of $60,000 or $180,000 per person to victims, totaling $4.1 million.

April 3, 2024: Police Sergeant Faces Charges Of Misconduct

A sergeant from the Easton Police Department faces charges of misconduct in office following allegations of engaging in sexual activities with two teenagers and sending them sexually explicit content through Snapchat. According to the charges filed in Talbot County Circuit Court, Sergeant Jason M. Dyott is accused of misusing his authority as a police officer to initiate and maintain sexual relationships with the teens, utilizing his department-issued cellphone for communication.

The accusations detail Dyott’s interactions from early November 2022 through February 2023, including sending explicit messages and images via Snapchat and engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old while on duty. Further allegations include sexual activities with another teenager inside his patrol vehicle. Investigations revealed internet searches on Dyott’s personal phone related to legal consent age, penalties for child pornography in Maryland, and local defense lawyers. He knew what was coming.

Is there a viable civil lawsuit against the Talbot County Police Department? That will depend on the facts of the cases, what it knew, and when it knew it. This guy has been on the police force for over 15 years, so the department certainly had plenty of time to get to know who it was dealing with.

April 2, 2024: Montgomery County Judge Finds Child Victims Act’s Statute Of Limitation Unconstitutional 

A Montgomery County judge found today that Maryland’s Child Victims Act’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits is unconstitutional. This decision emerged from a case involving the Archdiocese of Washington, accused of child sex abuse. The defense argued that eliminating the statute of limitations infringed upon Maryland’s Constitution and Declaration of Rights by removing what they called a “vested right” for defendants once a victim reached 38 years old. The judge concurred, leading to the lawsuit’s dismissal.

While this ruling may sound devastating, it is not. There will be an appeal. The reality is that the ultimate decision on the Child Victims Act’s constitutionality will rest with the Maryland Supreme Court. Our sex abuse attorneys believe the court will agree with decisions from judges in Prince George’s and Hartford Counties that the new sex abuse statute of limitations in Maryland is constitutionally sound.

March 29, 2024: Judge Bredar Announces Intention To Submit Certified Question To Maryland Supreme Court Regarding Constitutionality Of “CVA”

When the Maryland Child Victims Act (“CVA”) was enacted last year, it was widely anticipated that entities adversely affected by the law, such as churches and schools, would contest its validity under the Maryland constitution. However, the precise manner and timeline of this legal challenge remained uncertain. Recently, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland took a significant step towards expediting this process.

In the case of Jane Doe v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Case No. JKB-23-02900), which involves allegations of decades-old sexual abuse against the plaintiff by the Mormon church, the issue of the CVA’s constitutionality was raised after the case was removed to federal court on the grounds of diversity jurisdiction. Promptly, the Church’s legal representatives filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the CVA conflicted with Maryland’s constitution.

Chief Judge James K. Bredar, in a memorandum order issued last week, announced his intention to submit a certified question to the Maryland Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the CVA. Federal courts possess the authority to seek clarification on matters of state law from the state’s highest court through certified questions. This decision is significant as it streamlines the process, fast-tracking the pivotal issue to the Maryland Supreme Court. Certified questions typically receive priority, potentially leading to a ruling on the CVA’s constitutionality within months rather than waiting potentially years for the standard appeal process to conclude.

March 26, 2024: Our Lawyers Recently Focused On Hickey School Claims

Our sex abuse lawyers recently focused on Hickey School claims. It is amazing – and very sad – the stories our attorneys are hearing from victims.

March 22, 2024: Harford County Board Of Education Seeks To Dismiss Lawsuit 

The Harford County Board of Education sought to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former student, known as John Doe, who alleges two school employees sexually abused him during the 1980s and 1990s at Deerfield Elementary and Edgewood High School.

All defendants in the case are submitting motions questioning the constitutionality of Maryland’s 2023 law, which removed the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse to pursue legal action against their abusers. Such motions are not uncommon in these cases.

However, the proceedings took an unexpected turn when the school board’s legal representatives argued that the victim might bear some responsibility for the abuse, suggesting that a “reasonably cautious minor” should comprehend the dangers of engaging in sexual activities with an adult.

This line of argumentation has been widely criticized as one of the most absurd and reprehensible legal tactics ever employed. The court swiftly dismissed the board’s constitutional challenge and this preposterous argument.

February 25, 2024: Lawsuit Filed Against Johnson City Police Department In Tennessee 

Victims have filed a lawsuit against the Johnson City Police Department (JCPD) in Tennessee, alleging systemic failures and discrimination in the handling of sexual assault reports. Central to the lawsuit is the claim that the JCPD systematically refused to investigate or sometimes actively suppressed over 250 instances of reported sexual assaults due to sex discrimination. This legal action emerges amidst serious allegations against Sean Williams, accused of sexually assaulting more than four dozen women.

Williams, who resided in downtown Johnson City, is implicated in a series of grave offenses, with evidence suggesting he raped or sexually assaulted numerous women. Despite several complaints lodged between 2019 and mid-2021, allegations indicate the JCPD did not pursue charges against Williams. It was not until his arrest in April 2023 in Cullowhee, N.C., that Williams faced legal consequences, including charges of child rape and production of child pornography, with additional charges related to adult assaults pending based on photographic and video evidence.

The lawsuit represents a broad group of victims, categorized into several classes: those alleging sexual abuse, drugging, or trafficking by Williams or associated individuals; a subclass for those assaulted by Williams after the initial report of his alleged violence; and a class for all individuals reporting sexual abuse or trafficking to the JCPD from the beginning of 2018 to late April 2023.

March 12, 2024: 26 Women File Legal Complaint Against Various Maryland State Departments 

A group of 26 women have filed a legal complaint against various Maryland state departments for neglecting their duty to protect them from sexual abuse at Good Shepherd Services, where they were placed as children. Spanning from the 1970s to 2017, these allegations detail a horrifying pattern of abuse by facility staff, including priests and nuns, at this residential treatment center for troubled youth.

This sex abuse lawsuit, as so many of the lawsuits do, addresses the systemic failures that allowed such abuse to continue unchecked. These cases underscore the broader institutional disasters in safeguarding vulnerable populations in state care. In this case, there is the additional lawyer of the plaintiffs’ struggles with mental health, disrupted lives, and the ongoing quest for justice and healing.

March 7, 2024: Judge Upholds Maryland’s 2023 Child Victims Act 

Judge Robin D. Gill Bright upheld Maryland’s 2023 Child Victims Act, a significant victory for sexual abuse survivors in the state. The ruling comes in sex abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Washington, which contested the law’s constitutionality. The case may skip a step and go directly to the Maryland Supreme Court.

February 27, 2024: Sexual Abuse Claims Package Approved In Archdiocese Of Baltimore Bankruptcy Case

A sexual abuse claims package has been approved in the Archdiocese of Baltimore bankruptcy case. All victims of sexual abuse who are filing claims in the bankruptcy case are being asked to submit the completed claim package along with their proof of claim forms. The claim package contains 14 separate questions. In addition to requesting details about the nature, dates, and location of the alleged abuse, another primary focus of the questions is whether anyone at the Archdiocese had specific knowledge of the abuse.

February 12, 2024: 63 People File Lawsuits Against Maryland Department Of Juvenile Services Alleging Abuse

Sixty-three people have filed lawsuits against the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services alleging abuse during their time as incarcerated minors. The plaintiffs comprise 20 women from the former Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center in Laurel, 37 men from the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County, five men from the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, and 25 adults from the Cheltenham Youth Detention Center in Prince George’s County.

February 7, 2024:  May 31st Deadline For Submitting Claims Against Archdiocese Of Baltimore

Individuals who have survived clergy sexual abuse have a deadline of May 31, 2024, to submit their claims against the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as agreed upon by attorneys and a judge on Monday.

The deadline was set in a federal court session in Baltimore, presided over by Judge Michelle Harner, through a verbal agreement between the Archdiocese’s attorneys and the survivors’ attorneys. It was anticipated that Judge Harner would officially establish this deadline following the hearing.

This deadline, known as a “claims bar date,” essentially functions as a de facto statute of limitations for potential lawsuits related to clergy abuse within the Baltimore diocese.

So survivors will need to complete a “proof of claim” form.

February  4, 2024: Key School In Annapolis Faces Four New Lawsuits Under Maryland’s CVA

The Key School in Annapolis is facing four new lawsuits under Maryland’s Child Victims Act for alleged child sex abuse by faculty over 50 years ago. This raises the total to at least six lawsuits against the school. A six-month investigation into sexual abuse allegations at the Key School, carried out by Kramon & Graham (my first legal job was at that law firm), revealed a harrowing reality—no fewer than ten adults were found to have sexually abused 16 minors over the period from 1970 to 1990.

The Key School in 2024 is a good school. Key has to have mixed feelings when defending these lawsuits. You hope that beyond the legal obligations, there is a moral imperative for schools to address past wrongs, particularly when they involve vulnerable individuals. Acknowledging and compensating for past abuses demonstrates an organization’s commitment to ethics, justice, and the well-being of its community.

January 21, 2024: Maryland’s CVA Still Being Fought

The Child Victims Act is still being fought. The challenge on the table now is from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. The Archdiocese’s challenge, based on claims of vested rights and the distinction between a statute of limitations and a statute of repose, is flawed. The legislature’s authority to amend laws should be unquestioned. But it will be a battle we have to fight.

January 10, 2024: Many New Sex Abuse Lawsuits To Focus On Cheltenham Youth Facility

The Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George’s County is a detention center managed by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, will be a focus of many new Maryland sex abuse lawsuits.

Cheltenham has up to 72 male juveniles aged 12-18 from various counties, offering a structured behavior management program. This detention center has been the subject of recent lawsuits filed under the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023. These lawsuits allege that numerous individuals were sexually abused as children while detained at the facility. The cases all point to a systemic failure to protect juveniles and seek justice and compensation for the survivors, highlighting the facility’s longstanding issues with abuse and oversight.

November 1, 2023: Longstanding Baltimore Catholic Church Shuts Down Services 

A longstanding Catholic church in Baltimore is shutting down its services in the aftermath of its head priest, Father Paschal Morlino, being removed over a sexual misconduct allegation. Announced by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the cessation of church activities starting November 15 comes after a complaint from 2018 resurfaced, claiming Morlino sexually harassed an adult churchgoer who died two years later.

Despite Morlino’s settlement of the claim for an undisclosed sum, his dismissal after a nearly 40-year tenure has led to the Church’s inability to find a replacement. The Archdiocese and Saint Vincent Archabbey have decided to conclude church services but ensure that the Benedictines will carry on its community outreach efforts. As the Church’s doors close, parish members are directed to other local parishes for their spiritual needs.

This closure coincides with the Maryland Catholic Church’s recent challenges, including facing numerous child sex abuse lawsuits brought on by a change in state law that eliminates the statute of limitations for such claims, a situation that prompted the Baltimore Archdiocese to file for bankruptcy in late September, influenced heavily by the legislative changes.

October 18, 2023: Benedictine Monk Suspended From Ministry

Father Paschal Morlino, a Benedictine monk, has been suspended from ministry by the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore following revelations about a payment he made years ago to settle sexual harassment allegations. He was dismissed from his position as pastor of St. Benedict Church in Baltimore, a role he held for nearly 40 years after The Baltimore Banner informed the Archdiocese about the settlement. Morlino, 85, known for his community efforts in poor neighborhoods, has returned to Saint Vincent Archabbey in Pennsylvania following his suspension. The case, involving alleged harassment of a deceased adult man, remains under investigation. Morlino admitted to a $200,000 settlement but denied wrongdoing while the Church prepares to appoint a new administrator for St. Benedict Church.

October 1, 2023: Archdiocese Of Baltimore Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy 

The Archdiocese of Baltimore filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last Friday. The bankruptcy was filed to help protect the diocese from an anticipated wave of child sexual abuse lawsuits under the new Maryland Child Victims Act which went into effect today the weekend. Now the bankruptcy court will oversee a process by which a settlement trust fund is established to pay sex abuse claimants.

September 29, 2023: Maryland’s CVA To Take Effect Soon

The Maryland Child Victims Act, which opens the door for many victims of clergy abuse to file lawsuits, will take effect soon, and it is anticipated that many survivors may file lawsuits against the diocese, potentially leading to bankruptcy as a means to protect the diocese and limit liability.

In the past, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has taken steps you would not expect from a church to protect its assets in case of legal challenges. They have transferred ownership of parish properties to legal entities controlled by high-ranking clergy members. These entities were to protect the Church from creditors in the event of bankruptcy or other legal challenges.

This new law might make bankruptcy a path for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. We already have a roadmap for how this could play out. Religious institutions have turned to bankruptcy as a strategic legal maneuver to protect themselves from financial liability, particularly in cases related to clergy sexual abuse allegations and lawsuits. The results have been that the churches have been largely able to pay less and avoid juries.

In fact, the first thing would be more justice delayed. When a church files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, which halts all legal actions, including pending lawsuits and collection efforts by creditors. This pause provides the Church with temporary relief from litigation and financial obligations.

The Baltimore Sun has an article – a good article – today flushing out some of these issues.

September 27, 2023: New Version Of The Maryland AG’s Investigation Report On Sexual Abuse Within Archdiocese Released Yesterday 

A new, less-redacted version of the Maryland AG’s investigation report on sexual abuse within the Baltimore Archdiocese was released yesterday. This version of the report reveals the names of many individuals accused of committing abuse or taking part in covering it up. However, the names of 5 people within the Church remain redacted because these individuals are still appealing the lower court ruling allowing their names to be published.

September 6, 2023: New Maryland Law To Go Into Effect Next Month 

Next month, a new Maryland law will go into effect, allowing victims of child sex abuse that occurred decades ago to file civil lawsuits that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. The Baltimore Archdiocese is expecting to be named as a defendant in a wave of these sex abuse lawsuits and could face billions in potential liabilities. Earlier this week, the Archdiocese released a statement to its parishioners acknowledging that it is considering filing bankruptcy to deal with the impending sex abuse claims. Many other Archdioceses around the country have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy when overwhelmed by sex abuse claims. Contrary to popular belief, filing bankruptcy would not mean that abuse victims get nothing. Rather, the bankruptcy court would establish and approve a trust fund. Victims would submit claims and get settlement offers paid out of the compensation fund.

August 21, 2023: Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Rules That Names Of All Individuals Accused Of Sexual Abuse In Investigation Of Archdiocese Will Be Made Public 

Earlier today, news broke that a Judge in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City ruled that the names of all individuals accused of sexual abuse in the investigation report of the Archdiocese of Baltimore will soon be released to the public. The 463-page report details an exhaustive investigation by the Maryland Attorney General’s office into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Baltimore spanning several decades. The report identifies 156 clergy and other church officials who were implicated in acts of sexual abuse. When the report was first released earlier this year, however, 46 of those names were redacted. The recent court order will permit the Attorney General to reveal 43 of the 46 concealed names, but only after those individuals can file objections to the ruling.

August 16, 2023: Over 90 Insurance Companies Face Lawsuit For Opposing BSA’s $2.4 Billion Bankruptcy Settlement 

Over 90 insurance companies are facing a lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of Texas for opposing the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) $2.4 billion bankruptcy settlement related to 82,000 sexual abuse claims. Retired Judge Barbara J. Houser, the trustee of the BSA Settlement Trust, filed the lawsuit. Despite insurance companies’ objections based on their policy terms, Delaware courts dismissed their concerns.

Some insurers have settled, with 29 paying more than $1.6 billion. Houser plans to dismiss related ongoing cases in Illinois and Texas. Prominent insurers like Allstate, Fireman’s Fund, and Liberty Mutual are among the defendants who have not stepped up and paid what many believe they owe.

May 17, 2023: Director Of Maryland State Boychoir Forced To Resign After Named As Alleged Child Sex Abuser 

The director of the Maryland State Boychoir, Frank T. Cimino, was forced to resign this week after it was uncovered that he was named as an alleged child sex abuser in the recently released report on sexual abuser within the Baltimore Catholic Church. When the Maryland Attorney General released its report on sex abuse within the Baltimore Archdiocese earlier this year, a large number of accused abusers from within the Church were explicitly named. Ten of those names were redacted. Last week, however, the Baltimore Sun released a story revealing that Cimino was one of those individuals.

New Maryland Law Lifts Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits

On April 1, 2023, the Child Victims Act of 2023 (CVA) was enacted in Maryland. The new CVA makes it easier for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits. This new law enables survivors to file retroactive lawsuits even if their claims have expired under an existing statute of limitations. It also removes the statute of limitations for all future lawsuits based on childhood sexual abuse claims.

The new law does not create a time limit for survivors to revive their out-of-date lawsuits, unlike similar laws in other states that typically have a “lookback window.” Maryland’s approach to providing a permanent lookback is hoped to serve as a leader in allowing survivors to seek justice when ready. The CVA will go into effect starting October 1, 2023.

Baltimore Catholic Church Will Appeal Sex Abuse Lawsuits Under New Law

Maryland’s new Child Victims Act (CVA) lifts the statute of limitations on all civil lawsuits for child sex abuse. The CVA contains a provision that specifically permits anyone sued under the new law to file an immediate appeal challenging whether the CVA is valid under Maryland’s state constitution. Learn more about Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuits.

When the CVA takes effect later this year, the Baltimore Archdiocese could face millions in liabilities from a wave of sexual abuse civil lawsuits. The Archdiocese is expected to immediately challenge the CVA’s constitutionality in the Maryland appellate courts. Lawyers for the Archdiocese will initiate this challenge by invoking the provision in the CVA that allows for an immediate interlocutory appeal. The underlying civil lawsuits will be stayed pending the outcome of that appeal.

Maryland’s Attorney General, Anthony Brown, has already vowed to defend the constitutionality of the CVA effectively. When the state legislature considered whether to pass the CVA, Brown issued an opinion letter stating the legal argument for why the new law was valid under Maryland’s constitution.

What is Sexual Abuse or Assault?

Sexual abuse (or sexual assault) is generally defined as any unwanted or non-consensual sexual touching or contact. Contact or touching is “sexual” when it involves a person’s intimate body parts. Sexual abuse or assault can range from groping to forcible rape.

The critical element that defines abuse or assault is the lack of consent. If the sexual contact or touching is not consensual, then it is assault. Anyone under the age of 18 is a minor. Minors lack the legal capacity to consent, so any sexual touching of a minor by an adult is considered abuse. All states have criminal laws which more precisely define what constitutes sexual abuse or sexual assault. For purposes of a civil lawsuit, however, the definition of sexual abuse is somewhat broader.

Bringing a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse or Assault

Sexual abuse or assault is a crime, and it can be criminally prosecuted. Whether or not criminal charges are brought, however, victims of sexual abuse always have the right to bring a civil lawsuit and seek financial compensation. Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse can file a civil case.

Abuse victims can file a civil lawsuit even if the defendant was never charged with a crime or convicted. The evidentiary burden for proving sexual abuse in a civil lawsuit is significantly lower than it is in a criminal case. This means that it is much easier to prove sexual abuse in a civil case. So even if the abuser escapes criminal justice, they can still be held accountable in civil court.

The other significant advantage of a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse is that you can go after third parties in addition to the individual who committed the abuse. Another critical difference is that in civil cases, a victim is a party, not just a witness. This means they have more control over how the case proceeds, including stopping it from continuing.

Maryland Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Who Can You Sue in Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

The most obvious defendant in a sexual abuse lawsuit is always going to be the individual who committed the abuse or assault. Bringing a lawsuit against the individual abuser is often pointless, however, because even if you win the case, you probably won’t be able to get any money out of the abuser. In many cases, the abuser may be dead or in jail. Unless the abuser is very wealthy, bringing a civil lawsuit against them alone won’t get you very far.

The key to a successful sexual abuse lawsuit is going after third-party defendants like companies or schools. A third party, such as a school, Church, nursing home, hospital, or other companies or institutions, can sometimes be held liable in a sexual abuse civil lawsuit. If you can show that the school or church (or another third party) had a duty to protect the victim or could have potentially stopped the abuse, then that third party can be held liable for monetary damages to the victim.

EXAMPLE: Jane was sexually abused by her school guidance counselor John when Jane was a student at Acme Private School. Jane can bring a sexual abuse lawsuit against both John and Acme Private School.

Almost any third party (other than the abuser) can be held liable in a sexual assault lawsuit if the third party’s negligence allowed the sexual assault or abuse to occur. One of the most common examples of this is negligent security cases in which a property owner is sued for failing to provide adequate security (e.g., cameras, lighting, etc.).  

What Damages Are Recovered in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

In a lawsuit, damages are awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for losses and pain caused by another. There are different types of categories of damages that plaintiffs are entitled to get in a successful civil case, including:

In a sexual abuse lawsuit, most of the damages a plaintiff will get will be for pain and suffering. Although sexual abuse or assault can cause physical injuries, the damages from this are primarily mental pain and anguish. In most sexual abuse lawsuits, pain & suffering accounts for more than 80% of the damages awarded.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for filing a sexual abuse lawsuit varies by state. Some states have short limitations periods of 2 years or less. Other states have longer limitations of 4 years or not limitations period at all.

In Maryland, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits was three years. Now, as we discuss above, Maryland has abolished the statute of limitations in childhood sex abuse lawsuits.

When the Victim is an Adult

If the victim is an adult (over 18) when the sexual assault occurs, the statute of limitations on their civil claim will begin running from the date of the assault. Depending on the state the case is in, the limitation period could be anywhere from 1 to 6 years.   In Maryland, claims for sexual abuse or assault are subject to the general 3-year statute of limitations that applies to all tort claims. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101.

This means that if John sexually assaults Jane on January 1, 2021, she has until 1-1-2024 to file a civil lawsuit against John for the assault. If Jane does not sue John before the three-year period expires on January 1, 2024,  she will be legally barred from ever suing him.

New Report on Sexual Abuse Within Baltimore Catholic Church

The Maryland Attorney General’s office released the long-awaited investigation report on sexual abuse within the Baltimore Catholic Church. The report is 456 pages long, and it details 80 years of sexual abuse committed by 158 clergymen. The release of this report comes just as lawmakers in Annapolis are on the verge of passing a new law that will remove the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits for child sex abuse.

What Is this Constitutional Argument on the Maryland Child Victims Act All About?

Sex abuse defendants argue that retroactively applying the Maryland Child Victims Act to revive claims that had expired under previous statutes of limitations violates due process under Maryland’s Declaration of Rights. They assert that because these sex abuse claims cannot be revived by the recent amendments to § 5-117(b), these claims violated the Maryland Constitution.

Our sex abuse lawyers understand the argument. But it is wrong. Maryland’s General Assembly has the authority to enact and modify statutes of limitations, as these periods are considered procedural rather than substantive rights. The Maryland Supreme Court has consistently recognized that statutes of limitations reflect legislative policy about the reasonable time needed to initiate a lawsuit and are not immutable. They can be extended or shortened by the legislature as deemed necessary.

Maryland courts have long agreed that the legislature can retroactively change procedural laws, including statutes of limitations, as long as the new law allows a reasonable time for existing rights to be asserted. This is because procedural statutes, including those altering limitation periods, do not create vested rights. Our attorneys believe this is how the Maryland Supreme Court will rule in November 2024.

It is worth noting that Maryland detention center lawsuits against the state would not be impacted either way because the state can certainly grant victims the right to sue.

Sexual Assault Verdicts and Settlements

Below are examples of sexual assault lawsuits that resulted in verdicts and settlements in favor of plaintiffs. This gives you some idea of the potential range of settlement amounts and jury payouts in these lawsuits.

You should not expect your case to get the same compensation – for better or worse – even if your case looks exactly the same. But they can help you get a sense of what is possible.

  • January 2024, California, $4.8 Million Settlement: Six young women, former water polo players coached by Bahram Hojreh in Orange County, reached a settlement totaling $4.8 million with two local school districts over sex abuse claims. Hojreh, previously sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting numerous female players, became the center of this legal action. The Irvine Unified High School District agreed to pay $2.5 million to two of the women, while the Anaheim Union High School District settled for $2.3 million with the remaining four. This settlement follows a $13.85 million agreement with USA Water Polo and International Water Polo, attributed to Hojreh’s misconduct. The settlements conclude the series of civil lawsuits initiated against Hojreh and the implicated institutions, spotlighting the severe allegations of sexual abuse and the subsequent administrative failures within these districts.
  • October 2023, West Virginia $100,000,000 Settlement: Former students alleged grave abuse at a West Virginia private boarding school, and the institution’s criminal attempts to cover up these allegations drew significant attention. The students’ complaints outlined numerous instances of mistreatment, notably being confined in small, windowless “quarantine rooms” in Salem, Harrison County. These confinements were especially disturbing as the rooms lacked basic amenities and were sometimes pitch-dark. Beyond the direct abuse, the school was accused of a systematic cover-up. This included destroying documents, altering the once-windowless rooms by installing windows, and promoting the institution as a reputable educational provider in West Virginia, all while charging tuition. Moreover, it was alleged that school staff, aware of the abuses, took no action to prevent or report it as mandated by law. After these allegations were brought to light, a settlement nearing $100 million was reached.
  • May 2023, Texas, $37,000,000 Verdict: A 29-year-old woman was in Houston for a conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center and stayed at the Hilton with her then-fiancé. She went out drinking with colleagues and was found incapacitated near the hotel early in the morning. A male colleague was seen on top of her with his pants unzipped, as a witness who testified in the case reported. The police came but left after the man told them the woman was staying with him. The hotel staff let the man take her upstairs without verifying if she was a hotel guest. He sexually assaulted her. The woman sued Hilton, but it argued that the woman consented to sex. The jury gave its opinion with a $37 million verdict.
  • March 2023, Florida, $95,000,000 Verdict: The survivor, now in his early 60s, was 15 years old when former priest Foster P. Rogers abused him in his car in July 1979. The boy had no church affiliation; Rogers offered him a ride home in Rochester. A jury awarded him $95 million. The award is one of the largest in New York since the Child Victims Act, which opened a window for lawsuits from past child victims of sexual abuse.
  • February 2023, Florida, $10,100,000 Verdict: A female passenger aboard a Carnival Cruise ship alleged that a crew member sexually assaulted her. The case was fraught with complexities. The plaintiff was heavily intoxicated and had engaged in a playful game of hide-and-seek and invited the crew member into a closet. The defense claimed that the sex was consensual, but the jury arrived at a verdict guided by the understanding that flirtatious conduct does not equate to consent.
  • January 2021, California, $1,450,000 Settlement: A former figure skater accused former figure skating coach Richard Callaghan of sexual assault. His suit alleged the coach molested and sexually abused him as a teenager. Notably, he sued the USA Figure Skating for failing to protect him and other young athletes from Callaghan. He accused the organization of knowledge about the allegations yet failed to investigate them. USA Figure Skating agreed to settle for $1.45 million.
  • December 2020, Washington, $2,000,000 Settlement: A 47-year-old woman accused her high school band teacher of sexual abuse that took place 30 years ago. Her molestation lawsuit alleged that he abused and manipulated her at his home, at school, and on band trips. She later became a music teacher herself. Sadly, she eventually left the job because it brought back traumatic memories that gave her severe anxiety. She hired a rape victim lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the school. The school district agreed to resolve her claim for a settlement amount of $2 million.
  • November 2020, California, $73,000,000 Settlement: Over 6,000 women accused former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps of sexual abuse over 35 years. They claimed he made lewd comments and inappropriately touched them during appointments. UCLA agreed to pay the women $73 million. The university also agreed to change its policies and procedures on doctors’ appointments and sexual abuse reporting.
  • October 2020, Ohio, $46,700,000 Settlement: Hundreds of former Ohio State athletes accused now-deceased team doctor Richard Strauss of sexual abuse that occurred between 1979 and 1997. They claimed Strauss groped them during physical examinations at campus athletic facilities, an off-campus clinic, or his home. The Ohio State University agreed to settle 185 survivors’ lawsuits for $46.7 million.
  • October 2018, California, $240,000,000 Settlement: Thousands of women accused former USC campus gynecologist George Tyndall of sexual abuse that occurred between 1997 and 2016. They claimed he made lewd remarks, inappropriately touched them, performed unnecessary procedures, and video recorded exams. The women alleged that USC knew of the allegations but failed to address them. USC agreed to pay $240 million, $215 million of which went to the victims.
  • May 2018, Michigan, $500,000,000 Settlement: Hundreds of women, including many Olympic gymnasts, accused former Michigan State University osteopathic physician Larry Nassar of sexual assault over 20 years. They claim he sexually assaulted them during medical examinations and procedures. Many of the victims at the time were minors. The women alleged that USA Gymnastics, MSU, and other institutions failed to protect them from Nassar. MSU agreed to a $500 million settlement for over 100 women.
  • November 2019, Massachusetts, $90,000 Settlement: A man visits family in Salem, Massachusetts to celebrate Halloween. He has too much to drink. He leaves the water on and floods his hotel room. Someone calls the police. An officer responds. Soaking wet, the man changes out of his clothes and is wrapped in a blanket, sitting on a chair. The law enforcement officer starts touching him and pulls him into a closet. Inside, the officer sexually assaults the young man while in protective custody. The plaintiff hires a sex abuse attorney who files a lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that his civil rights were violated and that the police department negligently supervised and trained its officers. He experienced emotional distress as a result of the incident. The defendant officer claims it was consensual. The parties agree to a $90,000 settlement.
  • June 2019, Missouri, $8,200,000 Verdict: A woman uses Uber to get rides to and from an event. She uses the same driver both times. On the way back to her apartment, she is drunk. She enters the apartment, but her driver calls multiple times, asking to use her bathroom. She lets him inside, and he rapes her. As a result of the rape, she suffers emotional distress and PTSD symptoms, making it difficult to continue with her post-graduate program.
  • Additionally, she claims that Uber knew about a prior incident with the driver, in which he was found guilty of domestic assault. In the end, charges against Uber were dropped. Still, the judge ruled that the perpetrator was responsible for 8.2 million in damages and punitive damages, which are damages intended as punishment for the man’s crimes.
  • June 2019, Florida, $900,000 Verdict: The plaintiff, a woman living in Pensacola, Florida, is raped in her apartment by a maintenance man. As a maintenance employee of the apartment complex, he had access to her room. She files suit against the perpetrator for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress and the apartment for negligent hiring and retention. She was awarded $900,000, but she was forced to dismiss the claim against the apartment complex. This is one of those cases where the verdict is impressive, but it is hard to imagine that there is insurance or other deep pocket to back up the verdict.
  • January 2019, California, $58,250,000 Verdict: A woman working as a production assistant begins to experience inappropriate behavior from the owner of her company. His conduct falls under harassment and unwanted sexual contact-a sexual offense. The abuse is happening every day and eventually makes her resign from her job. She becomes introverted and develops a depressive disorder and PTSD, both of which are expected to affect her for the rest of her life. In the trial, the jury found the man committed sexual battery and awarded the woman compensatory as well as punitive damages.
  • December 2018, New York, $27,500,000 Settlement: This case involves a serial child molester who was a religious instructor with the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. The assaults were many and happened for four years. The instructor was frequently left alone with the children. He would pick them up from school, bring them to a daycare center, and spend time with children when their parents were late. The instructor is serving a 15-year jail sentence. The plaintiffs filed a sexual abuse suit against the diocese because it became clear that members of the institution knew that the instructor was predatory but did little to stop him from having contact with children. The lawsuit settles before trial, awarding the four plaintiffs an equal share of $27,500,000. The plaintiffs were between eight and twelve years old when they were assaulted.
  • June 2018, New Jersey, $35,000 Settlement: A woman is incarcerated at a New Jersey women’s correctional facility. She is forced into multiple sex acts by correctional officers, claiming that one officer would perform the acts while the other kept watching. She claims that though the officers were fired for the intentional touching of the victim, she continued to experience sexual assaults from other officers. These officers coerced other inmates to say good things about the staff to discredit her claims. She claims the administrator of the facility knew about the activity. She hires a sexual assault attorney and sues the New Jersey State Corrections Department, the administrator of the facility, and the officers for violating her civil rights, assault and battery, common law negligence, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring and retention.
  • January 2018, Maryland, $22,130,000 Verdict: This case underscores that men are victims, too. A 30-year-old man went to the dentist with a cracked molar. He cracked his tooth while eating peanuts. The dentist informed his patient that he had to remove the tooth and sedated him with nitrous oxide so that he could do so. The man awakes from his unconscious state to discover that the dentist is forcing him into oral sex. For this and other sexual assault charges, the dentist goes to jail. The man files a sexual assault lawsuit against the dentist and his practice, seeking damages for emotional distress (and, secondarily, the medical injuries associated with the cracked tooth).
  • July 2017, California, $60,000,000 Verdict: In this high-profile case, three female students sued their taekwondo teacher for the sexual abuse they experienced during the years they spent training with him. The girls were elite athletes and competed at events hosted by the US Olympic Committee and USA Taekwondo. They were assaulted when they were between the ages of 15 and 17, and though they were not physically hurt, they continue to experience extensive psychological trauma. Their coach would have them drink alcohol and have sex with him in hotel rooms while they were traveling for competitions. The coach was arrested and sentenced to four years in jail. The judge in this civil case awarded each girl $10,000,000 for past pain and suffering and $20,000,000 for future pain and suffering.

Getting Help from a Maryland Sex Abuse Lawyer

Again, if you are hesitant, we understand. Reach out to our lawyers for sexual assault victims. You do not even have to use your real name. Get information about your options and learn exactly how a case like yours would proceed and what it would involve. You also do not have to call just us. Call several lawyers to find the best sexual assault attorney for you.

Call our Baltimore sex abuse lawyers at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation. Is there someone you would rather speak to about your case? Look at our team and decide. Again, you can reach our attorneys for the sexually abused by reaching out online or by text at 410-835-4103.

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