Church Against The Horizon

Clergy Abuse In Florida

In 2018, a report from the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSP) identified 97 Roman Catholic priests accused of abuse in Florida. To bring justice for these clergy abuse victims, state lawmakers recently passed a law to eliminate the criminal statute for sexual battery offenses against minors.

But, this law does not revive expired cases. Child sex abuse survivors abused by priests continue to advocate for expanded rights on their path to justice.

Were You Abused by a Clergy Member in Florida?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

In 2018, a report from the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSP) identified 97 Roman Catholic priests accused of abuse in Florida. To bring justice for these clergy abuse victims, state lawmakers recently passed a law to eliminate the criminal statute for sexual battery offenses against minors.

But, this law does not revive expired cases. Child sex abuse survivors abused by priests continue to advocate for expanded rights on their path to justice.

Were You Abused by a Clergy Member in Florida?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

Florida Clergy Abuse State Investigation

In 2018, the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSP) launched a clergy abuse investigation. The OSP initiated the investigation shortly after Pennsylvania published its grand jury report

For two years, the OSP collected allegations of clergy abuse from survivors and witnesses. The OSP investigated every reported claim and documented allegation. Additionally, the OSP interviewed survivors, witnesses and church officials.

On November 6, 2020, the OSP released the final report of the investigation.

Key Results Of Florida Clergy Abuse Investigation

  • The investigation found no evidence that any child in Florida “is currently in immediate danger of sexual abuse by priests.”
  • The report identified 97 priests accused of sexual abuse in Florida.
  • The investigation found the Catholic Church relocated many abusive priests from other States to Florida dioceses.

Unfortunately, the OSP is unable to prosecute any of the 97 abusive priests in Florida for one of two reasons:

  • The legal deadline to press criminal charges against the priest is expired. 
  • The priest is deceased.

Although the OSP is no longer able to prosecute these claims, survivors may still be able to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser or the responsible dioceses. Submit a free case evaluation to determine if you have a viable legal claim. 

Florida Priest Abuse Lawsuits

As more cases of priest abuse are uncovered, victims are seeking legal justice. Survivors across the country have filed clergy abuse lawsuits against abusive priests and responsible Catholic dioceses.

Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Florida Dioceses

Lawsuits Against The Miami Archdiocese

In 2015, the Miami Archdiocese faced two sexual abuse lawsuits. The latter of the two lawsuits sought damages of $5 million from the archdiocese.

Lawsuit Against The Orlando Diocese

In 2014, a survivor filed a lawsuit against the Orlando Diocese. The plaintiff claimed he was molested during the 1970s when he was 13 years old. The perpetrator was a priest serving in the Orlando Diocese. The diocese faced nearly 20 priest abuse lawsuits prior to this 2014 claim.

Florida’s Statute Of Limitations For Child Sex Abuse

To press criminal charges against an abusive priest or file a civil lawsuit against said priest or the responsible diocese, a survivor must follow the state’s statute of limitations.

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).

In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for clergy abuse survivors seeking legal action will depend on several variables:

  • The applicable legal deadline will depend on whether the survivor intends to bring criminal charges or a civil claim against their abuser.
  • The applicable legal deadline will depend on when the abuse took place.
  • The applicable legal deadline will depend on the age of the survivor at the time of the abuse. 
  • The applicable legal deadline will depend on the circumstances of the abuse.

The statutes outlined below cover felony sexual battery against victims under the age of 18.

Florida law defines sexual battery as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.” The law excludes an act done for medical reasons.

Florida Child Sexual Abuse Civil Statute

In the state of Florida, there is no civil statute of limitations for sexual battery offenses committed against victims younger than 16 years old.

If a victim was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the abuse, they have until age 25 to file a civil lawsuit. 

You May Have Legal Rights

Speak With Our Lawyers About Florida’s Statutes Today

Florida Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Statute

In 2020, Florida lawmakers passed “Donna’s Law.” This law eliminated the criminal statute of limitations for felony sexual battery against victims under the age of 18. However, this law is not retroactive. Thus, the eliminated statute only applies to cases of felony child sexual battery that occurred after July 1, 2020.

Sexual offenses against minors that occurred prior to July 1, 2020, must follow previous criminal statutes.

Settlements Paid By Florida Dioceses

Florida dioceses have faced clergy child sex abuse claims for decades, resulting in many large settlements:

List Of Accused Priests In Florida

The list below includes the names of clergy members and Florida priests facing sexual abuse allegations. It does not include other diocesan employees or volunteers facing abuse claims. Additionally, the list does not name accused parishioners in the Florida dioceses.

If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a Florida priest or clergy member, you may have legal rights. Our attorneys can help you understand your options for compensation and justice.

Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation

Learn About Filing a Claim in Florida



There Are 5 Accused Clergy Members From The Diocese Of St. Augustine, FL:

There are several reasons you may not be able to find the name you are searching for on our list of priests accused of abuse in Florida:

  • The priest may be listed in another state or diocese.
  • Allegations against the priest may not have been investigated yet.

If you believe the priest you are searching for may be listed under another state or diocese, search our nationwide database of accused Catholic priests and clergy members.

However, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against your abuser, even if they are not listed in our database. Consult our legal team today to learn more about your options.

Florida Priest Abuse Victim Resources

Every county in the state of Florida provides resources for survivors of sexual violence. Use our table below to find victim resources in your county.

Florida Sexual Violence Programs By County

CountyFacility NamePhone Number(s)
AlachuaVictim Services And Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 352-264-6760
Hotline: 866-252-5439

Office: 352-264-6760
BakerWomen’s Center of JacksonvilleHotline: 904-721-7273
Office: 904-722-3000
BayGulf Coast Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 1-866-218-4738
BradfordVictim Services And Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 352-264-6760
Hotline: 866-252-5439
BrevardSexual Assault Victim Services (SAVS)Women’s Center of BrevardHotline: 321-784-HELP (4357)
BrowardNancy J. Cotterman CenterHotline: 954-761-RAPE (7273)
CalhounGulf Coast Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 1-866-218-4738
CharlotteThe Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Inc.Hotline: 941-627-6000
Hotline: 941-637-0404

Office: 941-639-5499
Citrus
*N/A*N/A
ClayQuigley House, Inc.Hotline: 904-284-0061
Office: 904-284-0340
CollierProject HELP, Inc.Hotline: 239-262-7227
Office: 239-649-1404
ColumbiaAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
DeSotoSafe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (SPARCC)Hotline: 941-365-1976
DixieAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
DuvalWomen’s Center of JacksonvilleHotline: 904-721-7273
Office: 904-722-3000
EscambiaVictim Services/Sexual Violence Program
Lakeview Center, Inc.
Hotline: 850-433-7273
Office: 850-469-3800
FlaglerFamily Life CenterHotline: 386-437-3505
Office: 386-437-7747
FranklinRefuge HouseHotline: 850-681-2111
Office: 850-653-3313
GadsdenRefuge HouseHotline: 850-681-2111
Office: 850-627-9377
GilchristAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
GladesAbuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc. (ACT)Hotline: 1-888-956-7273
GulfGulf Coast Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 1-866-218-4738
HamiltonAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
HardeeVictim Services
Peace River Center
Hotline: 863-413-2707
Hotline: 877-688-5077
HendryAbuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc. (ACT)Hotline: 1-888-956-7273
HernandoDawn Center of Hernando CountyHotline: 352-686-8430
Office: 352-684-7191
HighlandsVictim Services
Peace River Center
Hotline: 863-413-2707
Hotline: 877-688-5077
HillsboroughCrisis Center of Tampa Bay, Inc.Office: 813-964-1964
HolmesGulf Coast Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 1-866-218-4738
Indian RiverSexual Assault Assistance Program of the Treasure CoastHotline: 1-866-828-7273
JacksonGulf Coast Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 1-866-218-4738
JeffersonRefuge HouseHotline: 850-681-2111
Office: 850-342-3581
LafayetteAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
LakeHaven of Lake and Sumter Counties, Inc.Hotline: 352-787-1379
Office: 352-315-0591
Office: 352-315-0449
LeeAbuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc. (ACT)Hotline: 239-939-3112
LeonRefuge HouseHotline: 850-681-2111
Office: 850-922-6062
LevyAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
LibertyRefuge HouseHotline: 850-681-2111
Office: 850-627-9377
MadisonRefuge HouseHotline: 850-584-8808
Office: 850-973-4144
ManateeCenterstoneHotline: 941-708-6059
MarionThe Ocala Sexual Assault CenterHotline: 352-622-8495
Office: 352-620-8822
MartinSexual Assault Assistance Program of the Treasure CoastHotline: 1-866-828-7273
Miami-DadeM.U.J.E.R. Inc. (Mujeres, Unidas, en Justicia, Educacion, y Reforma, Women, United in Justice, Education, and Reform)Hotline: 305-763-2459
Office: 305-247-1388
Miami-DadeRoxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center (RTC)Hotline: 305-585-RAPE (7273)
Monroe*N/A*N/A
NassauWomen’s Center of JacksonvilleHotline: 904-721-7273
Office: 904-722-3000
OkaloosaShelter HouseHotline: 850-226-2027
Office: 850-243-1201
OkeechobeeSexual Assault Assistance Program of the Treasure CoastHotline: 1-866-828-7273
OrangeVictim Service Center of Central FloridaHotline: 407-500-HEAL (4325)
Office: 407-254-9415
OsceolaVictim Service Center of Central FloridaHotline: 407-500-HEAL (4325)
Office: 407-483-7386
Palm BeachPalm Beach County Victim Services & Certified Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 561-833-7273
PascoSunrise of Pasco County, Inc.
Domestic & Sexual Violence Center
Hotline: 352-521-3120
Hotline: 1-888-668-RAPE (7273)

Office: 352-521-3358
PinellasSexual Assault Services of Pinellas County
Suncoast Center, Inc.
Hotline: 727-530-7273
PolkVictim Services
Peace River Center
Hotline: 863-413-2707
Hotline: 877-688-5077
PutnamFlorida Department of Health in Putnam CountyHotline: 386-983-1358
Office: 386-326-3200
St. JohnsBetty Griffin CenterHotline: 904-824-1555
St. LucieSexual Assault Assistance Program of the Treasure CoastHotline: 1-866-828-7273
Santa RosaVictim Services/Sexual Violence Program
Lakeview Center, Inc.
Hotline: 850-433-7273
Office: 850-469-3800
SarasotaSafe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (SPARCC)Hotline: 941-365-1976
Office: 941-365-0208
SeminoleVictim Service Center of Central FloridaHotline: 407-500-HEAL (4325)
Office: 321-972-4465
SumterHaven of Lake and Sumter Counties, Inc.Hotline: 352-787-1379
Office: 352-315-0591
Office: 352-315-0449
SuwanneeAnother Way, Inc.Hotline: 1-866-875-7983
TaylorRefuge HouseHotline: 850-584-8808
UnionVictim Services And Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 352-264-6760
Hotline: 866-252-5439
VolusiaVolusia Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 800-503-7621
Office: 386-236-3123
WakullaRefuge HouseHotline: 850-681-2111
Office: 850-926-9005
WaltonShelter HouseHotline: 850-226-2027
Office: 850-243-1201
WashingtonGulf Coast Sexual Assault ProgramHotline: 1-866-218-4738

*We were unable to identify sexual violence resource programs in the Florida counties of Citrus and Monroe as of December 21, 2020. Please call or visit centers in the surrounding counties to seek help. You may also call your local law enforcement agency if you are in danger.

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

Reporting Child Abuse To Law Enforcement Or State Officials

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

You can report suspected child abuse, including child sexual abuse, to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) by calling 1-800-962-2873. You can also make a report online at myflfamilies.com.

Although the OSP completed its initial clergy abuse investigation, the state Attorney General’s Office is still accepting tips about clergy sex abuse. You can report suspected abuse to the hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or submit an online complaint.

Visit our resource page for more information about reporting sexual abuse or assault. For additional assistance, our experienced attorneys can support you throughout the reporting and legal claims process.

Reporting Clergy Abuse To Individual Florida Dioceses

Each diocese has its own process for reporting sexual abuse.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The Miami Archdiocese

    To report sexual abuse to the archdiocese, victims or witnesses can call the Archdiocese of Miami’s Office of Safe Environment Hotline at 1-866-802-2873.

    Visit the Archdiocese of Miami’s website to learn more about reporting suspected abuse.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The Orlando Diocese

    Randy Means is the Orlando Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator. To speak with him directly about sexual abuse in the diocese, call 407-246-7179.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The Palm Beach Diocese

    Lisa Linnell is the Palm Beach Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator. Contact her directly by calling 561-775-9558.

    For more information about reporting sexual abuse to the diocese, visit the Palm Beach Diocese’s website.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese

    To report sexual abuse committed by a priest, deacon or administrator of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, call the Diocesan Abuse Reporting Hotline at 850-435-3536. You can also make a report by emailing [email protected].

    Visit the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese’s website to learn more about reporting sexual abuse.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The St. Augustine Diocese

    Tina Nugent is the St. Augustine Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator. To speak with her directly about sexual abuse in the diocese, call 904-208-6979 or email [email protected].

    Visit the St. Augustine Diocese’s website to learn more about reporting abuse.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The St. Petersburg Diocese

    To report sexual abuse committed by church personnel within the St. Petersburg Diocese, call the Victim Assistance Hotline at 1-866-407-4505. 

    Learn more about reporting abuse by visiting the St. Petersburg Diocese website.

  • Report Sexual Abuse To The Venice Diocese

    Susan Benton is the Venice Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator. You can report sexual abuse committed by a clergy member, diocesan employee or volunteer of the Venice Diocese by calling her at 941-416-6114.

    Visit the Venice Diocese’s website to learn more about reporting sexual abuse.

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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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