If you were abused sexually or physically by an employee of the Christian Brothers, contact a lawyer today. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries, and we can help you file a Christian Brothers sexual abuse lawsuit. The Christian Brothers are a global organization involved in boarding schools, high schools, orphanages, and other institutions for the education and evangelizing of young children. Following several high-profile child abuse scandals in Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States, the organization has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in North America in an attempt to cut off abuse cases. If you have been abused, you may be running out of time to file a lawsuit and receive the compensation you deserve. We can help.
What are the Christian Brothers?
The Christian Brothers are a religious organization that was founded in 1803 by the Irish man Edmund Ignatius Rice. It is an order within the Catholic Church, with senior officials based in Rome. Unlike other Catholic Church organizations, the Brothers are not ordained priests, and they do not have authority to provide communion or confession. Instead, their main duties are working with children in educational settings.
In the United States, the Christian Brothers founded their first school in New York City in 1906. They have since expanded to all corners of the United States, and they now operate dozens of schools in all major regions of the country. In North America, their main purpose has been to open and operate Catholic schools, though there are several cases where the Brothers have withdrawn from the school and the school remains open.
The Christian Brothers are also known as the Irish Christian Brothers, because the organization was founded in Ireland, and operated hundreds of orphanages, boarding schools, and reform schools. A recent report on child abuse found that the schools operated under a climate of fear, and child abuse (both sexual and physical) was rampant. The report found evidence of child rape and molestation in institutions run by the Christian Brothers. In addition, supervisors hid evidence and did not protect children from the abusers.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Christian Brothers
Beginning in the 1990s, the Christian Brothers began facing accusations of sexually and physically abusing children in Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States. In some schools, beatings were common, and physical punishment was used to instill a climate of fear where victims of abuse were afraid to speak up, fight back, or report their abusers. Many organizations have since been forced to pay millions to abuse victims who have come forward to demand compensation for their injuries.
Child Abuse by Brothers in Ireland
A report by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse found that conditions at some of Ireland’s boarding schools, orphanages, reformatories, and schools resembled prisons and slavery. The report found that “allegations of child abuse, and particularly child sexual abuse, were a recurring and persistent problem for the Congregation.” Some might argue that these were only accusations, but the report found that even when the accusations were verified against the Brothers, senior officials did nothing more than encourage the abuser to apply for a “dispensation” instead of being dismissed. Often, the abusers were simply transferred to another school, handed off to another institution, and tacitly allowed to continue their abuse.
In Ireland, a government commission issued a report that detailed decades of physical and sexual abuse of children at hundreds of Catholic schools in Ireland, many run by the Christian Brothers. In addition, the report found that there was a systemic effort to cover up the abuse and protect the Brothers from punishment for their actions.
Child Abuse by Brothers in United States
At Briscoe Memorial School in Kent, WA dozens of men have come forward to say that they were physically and sexually abused at the school. The organization allowed punishment that included caning and leather straps. The men also report being taken from their beds at night, being accosted in bathrooms, and being forced to engage in oral sex. 13 men who came forward reached at $7 million settlement against the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocesse and the Christian Brothers. Briscoe closed in 1970.
At O’Dea High School in Setttle, WA victims of Brother Edward Courtney have come forward regarding sexual abuse committed for decades. Though school officials knew that Courtney had a long history of sexually abusing boys, they hired him at O’Dea. When the officials received numerous reports of sexual abuse, he was simply moved to other schools, and became principal of St. Alphonsus Parish School in Ballard, WA. In 1988, he finally pleaded guilty to a felony for indecent liberties with a minor.
Christian Brothers File for Bankruptcy to Avoid Sexual Abuse Claims
On April 28, 2011, the Christian Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in North America, with dozens of abuse cases pending against the organization. Organizations file for Chapter 11 when they are unable to pay back their creditors. They have also asked that the courts enact a cut-off date for sexual abuse cases, which would require that all abuse claims be made before the cut-off date.
If the bankruptcy court allows the organization to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, many people who were victims of abuse may be unable to file claims against the organization and receive the compensation they deserve for their psychological, physical, and sexual trauma. Often, people who were victims of sexual or physical abuse as children may not seek action against their abusers until they are adults, decades after the abuse occurred.
If you or someone you know was the victim of sexual or physical abuse from the Christian Brothers, you may have a limited time to act and receive compensation. It is vital that you contact a lawyer as quickly as possible to ensure your claim is made before the cut-off date.
We Can Help – Christian Brothers Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
There are over 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. One out of every four girls and one out of every six boys experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. And, one out of every five children will be solicited for sexual abuse on the internet. In most cases, the victims of childhood sexual abuse do not report the abuse at all or don’t report it until many years after the abuse happens.
While there are many legal barriers to prosecuting the sexual predators that inflict this abuse, our lawyers have worked to overcome those barriers in the Legislature and in the courts. Senator Martha Escutia (Ret.) and Senator Joseph Dunn (Ret.) were heavily involved in passing California legislation that significantly increased the time for victims of abuse to sue their sexual predators and those that employed the sexual predators. This new legislation allowed literally thousands of victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits (and receive significant recoveries) that were otherwise barred by the former statute of limitations.
The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, has further committed itself to protecting victims of childhood sexual abuse by relentlessly pursuing sexual predators in court. The Firm is actively involved in representing clients who have been abused by predators in a variety of settings, including churches, youth organizations, schools, and in the home. If you or someone close to you has been sexually abused, The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, can provide experienced, effective, and compassionate representation to ensure that your rights to compensation are fully protected.