There have been numerous allegations of Louisiana clergy members sexually abusing children.
At least one diocese (New Orleans) has already filed for bankruptcy in response to mounting lawsuits, and in 2022, the FBI opened a broad investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans going back decades.
In 2021, Louisiana lawmakers passed House Bill (HB) 492, increasing the legal rights for child sex abuse survivors, including those abused by clergy members.
HB 492 removes the filing deadline for child sex abuse lawsuits. It also creates a three-year “lookback” window that allows people with unresolved abuse claims to file a case in civil court, regardless of when the abuse happened.
The three-year lookback window provides a critical lifeline for survivors of clergy sex abuse. It will help many people get justice who otherwise would have been prohibited from filing a claim.
Prior to HB 492, the statute of limitations required survivors of child sex abuse to file an abuse claim before their 28th birthday. HB 492 eliminates this requirement.
“House Bill 492 will never cure the pain of victims; however, it gives them a chance to achieve justice and hopefully some sense of closure,” said Louisiana Representative Jason Hughes, who sponsored the bill.
If you have suffered priest abuse in Louisiana or were abused by a trusted clergy member of any faith organization, it’s important to know you are not alone, and you have options.
It’s important to take action as soon as possible. The three-year lookback window opened on August 1, 2021. It will close on July 31, 2024.
Call the expert attorneys at Saunders & Walker P.A. now at 1-800-748-7115 for a free, confidential consultation.
A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline that restricts the amount of time a person/party has to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense.
Statutes of limitations vary based on several factors, including the crime, the jurisdiction, and whether it is a criminal charge or a civil claim.
On June 14, 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed HB 492 into law. The bill expands legal protections for child sex abuse victims by:
Under the lookback window, people who were previously barred under the prior statute of limitations can now pursue a civil claim against their abuser or the institution that enabled the abuse. It doesn’t matter when the sexual abuse happened.
It’s important for victims to know, however, that once the lookback window closes on July 31, 2024, older abuse claims may be once again subject to the prior statute’s 28-years-of-age cutoff.
In other words, once the lookback window closes, you may not be able to file a claim, depending on your age at the time. Don’t wait to contact our attorneys. We can help you understand whether you have a claim.
In Louisiana, there is no criminal statute of limitations for forcible or second-degree rape. For trafficking and other sexual felonies, the prosecutor must bring charges before the victim turns 48 years old.
For certain sex offenses committed against a child, the statute of limitations is 30 years. This time begins when the victim turns 18.
If the identity of the person who committed a sex offense is established through DNA evidence, a case may be started within 3 years of the date the identity is established, even if the statute of limitations for the crime has expired.
If you have questions about what constitutes criminal sex abuse or about the statutes of limitations for criminal sex offenses, consult with an attorney.
There are dozens of Louisiana priests accused of abuse. ProPublica has created a searchable database with the names of those who have been credibly accused. This list is updated as new credible allegations come forward.
If no allegations have been made against the priest or clergy member who abused you, you may not find their name in the database.
This doesn’t mean you don’t have a claim. You may still be able to file a lawsuit against your abuser.
Contact our clergy sex abuse attorneys at 1-800-748-7115. We can help you understand whether you may have a case.
If you or a suspected victim is in danger, call 911 immediately.
Incidents of child abuse, including child sexual abuse, can be reported to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Call the department’s reporting hotline at 855-4LA-KIDS (52-5437).
Another option is to report incidents of clergy abuse to individual Louisiana Dioceses using the contact information below.
|Name of Diocese||Contact Person||Phone Number|
|New Orleans Archdiocese||Victims Assistance Coordinator||504-522-5019|
|Alexandria Diocese||Dr. Lee Kneipp, Clinical Psychologist||318-542-9805|
|Baton Rouge Diocese||Amy Cordon, Child and Youth Protection Officer||225-242-0202|
|Lafayette Diocese||Joseph Pisano, Jr., Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator||337-298-2987|
|Shreveport Diocese||Mary Katherine Arcement, Victim Assistance Minister||318-584-2411|
If you or someone you love suffered abuse from a priest or other clergy member in Louisiana, the experienced clergy sex abuse lawyers at Saunders & Walker P.A. may be able to help.
Contact our law firm today for a free clergy abuse case review.
Your confidentiality is our number one priority. Our priest abuse attorneys understand how difficult it can be to come forward regarding sexual abuse—especially in cases where abusers threaten their victims.
The shame, guilt, and fear survivors of clergy sexual abuse live with can feel overwhelming. We will treat you with the care, respect, and privacy you deserve.
There is no substitute for sound legal advice when you have been the victim of past abuse by a trusted religious figure. Time is limited to file a claim under HB 492. Contact us today at 1-800-748-7115 to speak to one of our experienced team members.
We can help you understand whether you have a claim now or in the future and provide meaningful feedback for your situation.