Church Against The Horizon

Clergy Abuse In Washington, D.C.

In the last two decades, Catholic dioceses in the United States have been the subject of a nationwide clergy abuse scandal. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is one of many dioceses facing allegations of sexual abuse within its ranks. The diocese now faces lawsuits and the financial consequences of decades of priest abuse.

Were You Abused by a Priest in Washington, DC?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

In the last two decades, Catholic dioceses in the United States have been the subject of a nationwide clergy abuse scandal. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is one of many dioceses facing allegations of sexual abuse within its ranks. The diocese now faces lawsuits and the financial consequences of decades of priest abuse.

Were You Abused by a Priest in Washington, DC?

You May Have Rights to Legal Compensation

Washington, D.C. Clergy Abuse Investigation

In October 2018, the Archdiocese of Washington released a list of Catholic priests credibly accused of sexual abuse in the diocese. Several days later, Washington, D.C.’s attorney general began an investigation to determine whether the archdiocese played a role in concealing child sex abuse allegations.

The investigation was also prompted by the results of a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report. The Pennsylvania grand jury report named two former archbishops of the Washington Archdiocese for their role in the clergy abuse scandal:

  • Former archbishop and ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick was accused of sexually abusing two seminarians.
  • Former archbishop and current cardinal Donald Wuerl was accused of concealing abuse and moving abusive priests to new assignments. 

Child Sexual Abuse Statutes Of Limitations | Washington, D.C.

Survivors of child sexual abuse must seek legal action before the state’s statute of limitations expires. Unfortunately, many survivors miss their opportunity for justice because of legal time limits. State-specific statutes may require victims to take legal action before they are ready or able to.

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

To give survivors more time to seek justice, lawmakers in the District of Columbia passed the Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act of 2018. This law amended civil and criminal statutes for sexual abuse and opened a two-year “look back” window.

D.C. Child Sexual Abuse Civil Statute

Under the District of Columbia’s most recent law, survivors of child sexual abuse must file a civil lawsuit before they reach 40 years of age.

Survivors may also file a civil claim within five years of discovering their abuse. This discovery rule may allow some survivors, who are older than 40, to seek justice if they discovered their abuse in late adulthood. 

To determine if you have a viable legal case under the District of Columbia’s legal deadlines, get a free, confidential case review today.

You May Have Legal Rights

Speak With Our Lawyers About Washington, DC’s Statutes Today

D.C. Child Sexual Abuse Criminal Statute

Under the District of Columbia’s most recent law, there is no criminal statute of limitations for the majority of child sexual abuse felonies. 

D.C. Child Sexual Abuse “Look Back” Window

Washington, D.C.’s Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Act of 2018, created a “look back” window to revive older cases of abuse. The “look back” window allowed many child sex abuse survivors to seek legal action against abusers, other responsible individuals and responsible institutions.

Several other states, including California, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina, have opened “look back” windows as well. 

The two-year window opened on May 3, 2019. The window closed on May 2, 2021. 

DC’s “Look Back” Window

Learn More About the Former Sexual Abuse “Look Back” Window

Clergy Abuse Settlements In Washington, D.C.

1988 | Washington Archdiocese Pays Six-Figure Settlement

In 1988, the Washington Archdiocese paid a six-figure sum to settle a case of clergy sexual abuse. The plaintiff was the victim of Rev. Peter M. McCutcheon.

By the archdiocese’s request, the presiding judge signed an order prohibiting the “public disclosure of the plaintiff’s evidence or the settlement amount.”

2006 | Washington Archdiocese Pays $1.3 Million Settlement

In 2006, the Archdiocese of Washington paid $1.3 million to 16 survivors of priest abuse. The 16 sex abuse victims were abused by eight different priests in the archdiocese. The abuse occurred between 1962 and 1982.

List Of Accused Priests In Washington, D.C.

Several prominent clergy members accused of abuse have served in the Archdiocese of Washington, including Theodore McCarrick and Urbano Vazquez.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of clergy members and priests accused of abuse in Washington, D.C. This list may include priests, nuns, brothers and other clergy members facing abuse allegations. However, this list does not include archdiocesan staff, volunteers or congregation members accused of abuse. 

Many abusive clergy members in the Catholic Church were moved between parishes and dioceses to conceal abuse. If you are unable to find your abuser’s name on this list, use our nationwide, searchable database to identify your abuser in another diocese. Our database of accused priests evolves as more cases of abuse come to light. If you are unable to find the name of your abuser within our database, you may still have legal rights.

Our law partners at The Meneo Law Group can help you determine your legal options. Submit a free case review today to learn more.

Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation

Learn About Filing a Lawsuit in Washington, DC

D.C. Priest Abuse Victim Resources

There are many resources for survivors of sexual violence in the District of Columbia. Below, we’ve compiled a list of organizations that provide help to sexual assault and abuse survivors in the Washington, D.C. area.

Facility NamePhone Number(s)
DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC)Hotline: 202-333-7273 (RAPE)
Office: 202-232-0789
Safe Shores—The DC Children’s Advocacy CenterHotline: 1-202-671-7233 (SAFE)
Office: 202-645-3200
The Women’s CenterOffice: 202-293-4580, ext. 100

If you were sexually assaulted in the Washington, D.C. area and need a forensic medical exam, call the Sexual Assault Crisis Response and Advocacy Program at 1-800-641-4028.

Washington, D.C. Priest Abuse FAQs

How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By A Priest In D.C.?

Emergency Call Icon

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

Report any suspected sexual abuse of a minor by calling the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency at 202-671-7233 (SAFE). You can also report child sexual abuse to the police by calling 911.

In the District of Columbia, anyone over the age of 18 is legally required to report suspected cases of sexual abuse against minors under the age of 16. D.C. law also specifies certain professions as mandated reporters.

For more general information about reporting sexual abuse or assault, visit our resource page here >

Reporting Abuse To The Washington Archdiocese

To report abuse to the archdiocese, survivors or witnesses can fill out a suspected child abuse claims form here.

Additionally, you can call Courtney Chase, the Executive Director of Child Protection & Safe Environment with any questions at 301-853-5302.

Should I File A Washington D.C. Clergy Abuse Lawsuit?

Currently, because of the two-year “look back” window, any survivor of sexual abuse under the age of 40 in Washington, D.C. can file a civil lawsuit. Any survivor over the age of 40 who discovered their abuse in the last five years can also file a claim during the “look back” window. 

Once this window closes on May 2, 2021, older survivors of sexual abuse will no longer have these legal options available. 

If you were abused by a clergy member in Washington, D.C. and are eligible to file a lawsuit under the “look back” window, you should speak with a clergy abuse attorney today. Our legal team can help you determine your options and file a claim before the deadline passes.

Learn more about hiring an experienced clergy abuse lawyer 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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