Clergy Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers, California Church Crimes

The clergy & priest sexual abuse lawyers and attorneys at National Injury Help are highly concerned about this epidemic of clergy abuse in California, and will help any victim of priest sexual abuse no matter when or where the sexual abuse took place.

Here are some of the common questions on clergy & priest sexual abuse our law firm is asked.

Who can sue a church for clergy abuse in California?

With the new sex crime laws just enacted in California, anyone up to the age of 55 can now sue for past sexual assault crimes.

If you or someone you love in California has suffered any form of sexual abuse at the hands of trusted priests, fathers, ministers or any other church staff member we will take stern and swift action.  We understand that it may be difficult for victims to come forward, but in doing so you’ll show other victims that justice can be had.  Take the time today to report any sexual abuse you may have encountered in your California church.

What is the Statute of Limitations in California for Clergy Abuse?

Because many of these church organizations hid or manipulated reporting of sexual abuse, courts may choose to not apply any statute of limitations (SOL) for filing sexual abuse claims in California, even years later you can still file a clergy abuse lawsuit.

New changes in California’s Sex Crime Laws go into effect.

Previously, most victims of childhood sexual abuse only had until the age of 23 to bring criminal charges or to seek damages in civil lawsuits.  California’s SOL is one year; please see details below for extensions in the SOL.

If the victim brings a claim against a church or school which administered the perpetrator, or any action that is based in negligence, rather than criminal behavior, the SOL is 2 years—Ca. Civ. Penal Code 803 (4) (A) Ca. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.1

SB 813, Leyva. Sex offenses: statute of limitations.

Existing law generally requires that the prosecution of a felony sex offense be commenced within 10 years after the commission of the offense. Under existing law, prosecution for the crimes of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation, and sexual penetration, if committed against a victim who was under 18 years of age, may be commenced at any time prior to the victim’s 40th birthday. Existing law allows prosecution of an offense punishable by death or by imprisonment for life or for life without the possibility of parole, or for the embezzlement of public money, to be commenced at any time.

This bill would allow the prosecution of rape, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, continuous sexual abuse of a child, oral copulation, and sexual penetration, that are committed under certain circumstances, as specified, to be commenced at any time. The bill would apply to these crimes committed after Jan. 1, 2017, and to crimes for which the statute of limitations that was in effect prior to Jan. 1, 2017, has not run as of Jan. 1, 2017.

This bill would incorporate changes to Section 803 of the Penal Code proposed by both this bill and SB 1088, which would become operative only if both bills are enacted and become effective on or before Jan. 1, 2017, and this bill is chaptered last.

SEC. 3. Section 803 of the Penal Code is amended to read: (4) (A) In a criminal investigation involving any of the crimes listed in paragraph (1) committed against a child, when the applicable limitations period has not expired, that period shall be tolled from the time a party initiates litigation challenging a grand jury subpoena until the end of the litigation, including any associated writ or appellate proceeding, or until the final disclosure of evidence to the investigating or prosecuting agency, if that disclosure is ordered pursuant to the subpoena after the litigation.

Civ. Proc. Code 340.1 Effective Jan. 1, 2003. The new law provides that actions for the recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse may be commenced on or after the victim’s 26th birthday if the person or entity against whom the action is commenced knew, had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of any unlawful sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative, or agent, and failed to take reasonable steps, and implement reasonable safeguards, to avoid future acts of unlawful sexual conduct. Additionally, under certain circumstances, a cause of action solely for those claims listed above may be revived for a period of one (1) year. All California victims, regardless of age, have one (1) year from Jan. 1, 2003, within which to bring a civil suit.

Who is committing clerical sexual abuse in California?

Reports of sexual abuse across California State are mostly on men priests, Fathers and ministers; however sexual abuse can occur from other church members including:

  • Church Staff Members
  • Church Volunteers
  • Nuns
  • Church Administrators
  • Bishops
  • Deacons
  • Sunday School Teachers
  • Field Strip Supervisors
  • Church Bus Drivers

Other types of clergy sexual abuse questions are as follows:

“My child said he/she was sexually abused at a California church – can I sue the church?”

Is there an age limitation in California for filing a church abuse claim?  Again since the law was just updated, it used to be 23 years old or younger.  We’re seeing many states courts now go up to 55 years old or younger.

“As an adult I was afraid to come forward with my church sexual abuse claim – Can I now file later now I’m older?

This is one of the most common questions we’re asked. The short answer is yes, we understand the trauma of being a victim and many times it may takes years before you are ready or feel comfortable in seeking legal help.  No matter what the reason is for waiting to file a sexual abuse claim against the church or priest, we are here to listen and to offer our help. Call 1-800-214-1010 directly to speak to one of our kind and understanding case managers.

How do I file a clergy or priest lawsuit in California?

Were you sexually abused by a trusted church member, or know a victim in the State of California?  Contact us by calling 1-800-214-1010 or use the secure contact form at the bottom of this page.  Take Action Now and help prevent more clerical abuse in churches and houses of worship.

Resources for Clergy/Church/Priest Sexual Abuse Victims in California

If you suspect any form of sexual abuse in a church or your California State dioceses, you may report them by calling us at 1-800-214-1010, all calls are handled with the utmost privacy.

If you are a clergy sexual abuse victim and need a support group we recommend the tremendous work done by The SNAP Network.  Please visit their website at:

Who is SNAP?  Here is their mission statement:

Today SNAP is the largest, oldest and most active self-help group for clergy sex abuse victims, whether assaulted by ministers, priests, nuns or rabbis. SNAP is a confidential, safe place for wounded men and women to be heard, supported and healed. SNAP works tirelessly to achieve two goals: to heal the wounded and to protect the vulnerable. The organization has more than 25,000 members and support groups meet in over 60 cities across the U.S. and the world.


Clergy Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers, California Church Crimes page updated on August 23, 2019.