With the filing of six new lawsuits, Berman & Simmons has now 30 civil cases pending against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland on behalf of survivors of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Maine.
The assaults that form the basis for the complaints occurred in a variety of venues, including at churches and diocesan schools, over decades, stemming from 1954 to 1988. Two of the survivors attended an emotional news conference where they shared the lifelong effects of the abuse and their desire for the Church to be held accountable.
The Diocese knew about sexual abuse by priests and nuns
Each case outlines the abuse of power by priests and nuns against minors across Maine. They demonstrate that the Maine diocese knew about rampant sexual abuse by its priests and other clergy for decades, chose to not stop it, and failed to warn parishioner families of the allegations. The Portland Diocese sent some of the priests named in these latest suits to “rehabilitation programs,” places where abusive priests were sent from across the American Conference of Bishops jurisdiction for decades.
With no statute of limitations, survivors can come forward when they are ready
Some of the six survivors were unable to come forward to pursue legal action until the statute of limitations was lifted in 2021; others are still within the former time limit. At the news conference, attorney Timothy Kenlan cited research that shows the average age for survivors to come forward is 52. These six survivors are aged 52 and older and some said they came forward when they learned of the change in the law.
Survivor stories continue to garner media attention and prompt new inquiries
- Bangor Daily News – 6 more people sue Maine Catholic Diocese over child sex abuse allegations
- Newscenter Maine – Six new childhood sexual abuse lawsuits filed against Portland diocese
- Portland Press Herald and family of papers – Maine Catholic Diocese faces 6 more childhood sexual abuse claims
- WGME and Fox Portland – Six new lawsuits filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland over alleged abuse
- WMTW – More lawsuits filed against Roman Catholic Clergy in Maine alleging sexual abuse
- WVII Bangor – Six new lawsuits filed against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland