Church Against The Horizon

Clergy Abuse In Arkansas

Arkansas’ Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has faced multiple lawsuits and allegations of clergy abuse. Many of the diocese’s priests have been accused of child sexual abuse.

In 2021, Arkansas lawmakers passed legislation for child sexual abuse survivors, including those abused by priests. The legislation expanded Arkansas’ legal deadline to file civil lawsuits of child sex abuse. Additionally, it created a two-year “look back” window to revive expired civil claims.

The two-year window will open on February 1, 2022. This window offers many survivors of clergy abuse a second chance to seek justice.

Were You Abused by a Clergy Member in Arkansas?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

Arkansas’ Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has faced multiple lawsuits and allegations of clergy abuse. Many of the diocese’s priests have been accused of child sexual abuse.

In 2021, Arkansas lawmakers passed legislation for child sexual abuse survivors, including those abused by priests. The legislation expanded Arkansas’ legal deadline to file civil lawsuits of child sex abuse. Additionally, it created a two-year “look back” window to revive expired civil claims.

The two-year window will open on February 1, 2022. This window offers many survivors of clergy abuse a second chance to seek justice.

Were You Abused by a Clergy Member in Arkansas?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

Arkansas Priest Abuse Lawsuits

Several survivors have filed priest abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of Little Rock. One of the most recent lawsuits was filed in 2019. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of “John Doe 201” against the Little Rock Diocese and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. According to the lawsuit, former diocesan priest, Joseph Correnti sexually abused “Doe” at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. “Doe” was around 14 or 15 years of age at the time of the alleged abuse. 

The lawsuit notes there are five other alleged victims of Correnti’s abuse. Thus, the diocese knew, or should have known, about Correnti’s actions. The diocese did not report Correnti to any law enforcement agency or warn parents of his abusive nature. 

The lawsuit accuses the diocese of negligence with regard to Correnti’s abuse.

Clergy Abuse Settlements In Arkansas

In 2019, the Diocese of Little Rock paid $790,000 to settle clergy abuse allegations with five survivors. The five survivors were abused as children by John J. McDaniel. McDaniel was a former pastor at Our Lady of the Holy Souls, a Catholic church in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

According to the allegations against McDaniels, the abuse took place several decades ago in the 1970s. At the time of the abuse, the victims were between 12 and 15 years old.

McDaniels died in 1974.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes Of Limitations In Arkansas

In 2021, Arkansas lawmakers passed the Justice for Vulnerable Victims of Sexual Abuse Act. It is also known as Act 1036. 

The bill includes two important measures:

  • Act 1036 expanded the civil statute of limitations to file a child sexual abuse claim.
  • Act 1036 created a two-year “look back” window to revive old claims of child sexual abuse.

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. SOLs vary based on the jurisdiction, the crime and the intended legal action (i.e., criminal charges versus a civil claim).

Civil Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In Arkansas

Because of Act 1036, survivors of child sexual abuse in Arkansas may file a civil claim until they turn 55. Under the previous statute, survivors had to file a lawsuit before they reached the age of 21. 

This new statute went into effect on July 31, 2021. The new statute only applies to two groups:

  • Survivors who were 21 years of age or younger on July 31, 2021
  • Future victims

To offer similar legal options to survivors with older claims, Act 1036 also created a legal “look back” window.

Arkansas’ “Look Back” Window

Act 1036 created a two-year, retroactive window. By creating this window, legislators temporarily revived all expired civil claims of child sexual abuse in Arkansas. 

For two years, any child sexual abuse survivor can file a civil lawsuit against an abuser or an organization that concealed the abuse. This applies to all claims, regardless of when the abuse took place. 

The two-year window opens on February 1, 2022. The window will close on January 31, 2024.

You May Have New Legal Rights

Speak With Our Lawyers About Arkansas’ Statutes Today

Criminal Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In Arkansas

In Arkansas, there is no statute of limitations for most felony sexual offenses against a minor.

Some sexual felonies and misdemeanors have a criminal statute of age 28. Learn more about Arkansas’ criminal statutes of child sexual abuse here.

List Of Priests Accused Of Abuse In Arkansas

The list below includes the names of Arkansas priests accused of abuse. It may also contain the names of other Catholic clergy members facing similar allegations in Arkansas. 

It does not include Little Rock Diocese staff members or volunteers accused of child sexual abuse. However, you may still have an eligible legal claim against these individuals. 

If you or a loved one has been abused by clergy members in Arkansas, contact us today about your legal rights. We may be able to help you obtain the justice you deserve.

Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation

Learn About Filing a Claim in Arkansas

There are several reasons you may not be able to find the name of your abuser on our list of abusive priests in Arkansas:

  • There may be no allegations filed against the abuser yet.
  • The abuser may be listed in another diocese or state.

Use our nationwide searchable database of accused clergy members to see if the abuser you are looking for is listed in another state.

You may still be able to file a lawsuit against an abusive clergy member, even if they are not listed in our database. Speak with our legal team today to learn more about your legal options.

History Of Clergy Abuse In Arkansas

As with other dioceses around the country, Arkansas has a long history of priest abuse. In recent times, the Little Rock Diocese has taken steps to document this abuse. In 2019, Little Rock Diocese Bishop Anthony Taylor released an updated list of Arkansas clergy members accused of abuse. 

The update followed a third-party review of diocesan documents. The review identified one priest and a religious brother facing abuse allegations. 

Similar to the diocese, several Arkansas religious orders have conducted external reviews of abuse allegations. Following one such review, the Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas published a list of three deceased monks accused of abuse.  

The review also noted one former monk from the abbey who is facing clergy abuse allegations in Texas.

Arkansas Priest Abuse Victim Resources

Survivors of priest abuse in Arkansas do not have to deal with their trauma alone. There are local and statewide resources available to survivors of sexual violence in Arkansas. 

Find your local sexual violence crisis center here. You may also consider speaking with one of our experienced clergy sexual abuse lawyers to learn more about your legal options.

Arkansas Priest Abuse FAQs

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Priest Sexual Abuse In Arkansas?

Beginning February 1, 2022, any survivor can file a civil claim of child sexual abuse in the state of Arkansas. State lawmakers created a two-year “look back” window that revives child sexual abuse claims. 

The window will close on January 31, 2024. Survivors interested in legal action should consider filing a claim soon. 

Learn more about child sexual abuse statutes in Arkansas here >

How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By A Priest In Arkansas?

If you or a suspected victim is in danger, call 911 immediately.

Report suspected child abuse in Arkansas to the Crimes Against Children Division of Arkansas State Police using the hotline number below. This includes suspected incidents of child sexual abuse. 

Statewide Child Abuse Hotline: 1-844-728-3224

After filing a report with the state police, you may also report priest abuse in Arkansas to the Diocese of Little Rock. Call Laura Gottsponer, LCSW, the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at 501-664-0340, ext. 425 to make a report.

Learn more about reporting suspect sexual assault or abuse here >

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Ron Meneo, Managing Partner at Meneo Law Group.

Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo

Ron Meneo is the managing partner of The Meneo Law Group. With more than 40 years of experience, he represents clients across the country on a variety of complex legal matters, including personal injury due to institutional sexual abuse, unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and other practice areas. He is a recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s prestigious AV® Preeminent Rating. He has also served as an editor and contributor for several legal journals.

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