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Posts Tagged "institution"

Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis is one of the most revered men on Earth, and he probably doesn’t care what one personal injury lawyer in Winter Park, Florida, thinks about him, but I can’t help but be impressed by how this man has taken on the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.  (Disclaimer:  I am not Catholic.) The Associated Press has reported that Pope Francis has forcibly removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his duties in the diocese of Paraguay.  In addition to some doctrinal differences, the Pope took issue with Bishop Livieres’ protection and sanctuary offered to an Argentine priest, the Reverend Carlos Urrutigoity. Father Urrutigoity had previously been a Priest in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which paid a $400,000.00 sexual misconduct settlement over allegations made against Father Urrutigoity and another priest.  Although Father Urrutigooity was never charged with a crime before leaving the United States, one of his former bosses called him “a serious threat to young people.” As an attorney that represents victims of child sexual abuse here in Florida, I am a big fan of any leader who is willing to step outside of a “comfort zone”, and take active steps to eliminate child abuse and molestation from any youth-centered organization.  Pope Francis fortunately seems to have decided that it is time for the Catholic Church to not only stop protecting guilty Priests, but also to begin punishing those in the church who have been protecting the guilty. If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, or how organizations and institutions can be held liable for failing to protect children from abusers and predators, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Insurance Companies Often Add Insult To Injury Of Child Sexual Abuse Victims

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Child Sexual Abuse

Insurance Companies  Often Add Insult To Injury Of Child Sexual Abuse Victims

I saw a piece in the Kansas City Business Journal regarding child sexual abuse cases that I thought might be informative for anyone considering bringing a claim against an institutional defendant for child sexual abuse. Institutional defendants is a term I use to describe organizations who provide services to children, and who are supposed to screen, background check, and supervise the adults they put in contact with those children. The Business Journal article chronicled efforts by Chicago Insurance Co. to avoid having to provide liability insurance coverage to the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City for tens of millions of dollars in settlements the Diocese agreed to pay as a result of rampant sexual abuse committed by Diocese priests. According to the story, Chicago Ins. is using a tactic often utilized by insurance companies here in Florida. In cases involving sexual abuse, insurance companies often try to avoid having to pay victims based upon arguments that the sexual abuse injuries are not “personal injuries” under the language of the insurance policy, or that claims are excluded as “assaults and batteries.” Child sexual abuse victims need to understand that they are often going to face two major battles on the way to trying to win the war of recovering compensation. The first battle will be proving that the abuse happened, and how and why it happened. The second (and perhaps more difficult) battle is figuring out how to actually recover damages. Unfortunately, these battles often leave child sexual abuse victims feeling even more violated. This is a crying shame (oftentimes, literally.) If you have questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Leaders Should Lead — Not Cover Up Child Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Child Sexual Abuse

Leaders Should Lead — Not Cover Up Child Sexual Abuse

Four men – haunted for years by child sexual abuse – received some measure of justice today in Los Angeles, California. After several years of civil litigation, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles finally agreed to pay four victims of sexual molestation by one of that area’s most infamous priest pedophiles. The settlement came on the heels of the release of 12,000 pages of internal church documents that had been collected in a similar, criminal case. The priest (now, a former priest) at issue is Michael Baker. Father Baker has been accused of sexually abusing at least 23 boys over 30 years of service to the Catholic Church. Father Baker was convicted in 2007 of molesting two boys and spent four years in prison. Much of the substance of the four cases settled this week centered on the negligent supervision of Father Baker by the church, and particularly Cardinal Roger Mahony. Evidence in the case revealed that Father Baker had previously admitted to Cardinal Mahony that he had molested more than one boy, but that Cardinal Mahony only briefly removed Father Baker from contact with children. Once Father Baker was returned to a regular parish, he began molesting boys just as he had before. Apparently, many of the 12,000 pages of documents recently produced detailed Cardinal Mahony’s dealings (or absence of dealings) with Father Baker. As one of the settling Plaintiff’s attorneys said, “Cardinal Mahony’s fingerprints were all over the case.” As a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, the lack of leadership in cases like this never ceases to amaze me. What kind of “leader” allows children to be placed at risk, and to be abused, simply to protect one of his employees or his organization? After all, what kind of institution is there to protect if it is totally devoid of morals, ethics, or integrity? Another thing struck me about this story, as reported by the L.A. Times. The attorney for the Archdiocese said, “We’ve taken responsibility for Michael Baker, whatever he did.” I am left to wonder if that would have been true if the 12,000 pages of documents had not been produced… If you have any questions regarding a Florida child sexual abuse case, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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