$1.5 Million Settlement in Priest Sex Abuse Lawsuit

by | Apr 10, 2018 | Blog Posts | 0 comments

Sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church are continuing around the country. Many of these cases are difficult to litigate because the abuse occurred years ago. In a recent case involving the Buffalo Diocese, the abuse dated back almost 40 years. Under the current law in New York, the case would have been time-barred. Attorneys Michele M. Betti and Jared A. Washkowitz were able to file the case in Hawaii against the Diocese of Buffalo and the Diocese of Honolulu because the abuser, James A. Spielman, also had served as a priest in parishes on the islands of Molokai, Maui and Oahu. After more than 2 years of litigation, the parties settled for $1.5 million. The settlement is the largest that has come to light so far in the Buffalo Diocese for a clergy sex abuse case.

The settlement is not the first one involving a molestation claim against Spielman. The Buffalo Diocese paid $150,000 to settle a claim by a former altar boy accusing the priest of molesting him in the 1970s. The Buffalo Diocese has paid out about $1.2 million in compensation to sex abuse victims over the past two decades, not including payments made to victims by the diocese’s insurance plans.

These cases are heart-breaking, but it’s important for victims to come forward and have their day in court. They need attorneys willing to take their cases despite the risks. We see attorneys every day who take challenging cases not knowing whether they will prevail, and if they do win, when they may get paid. In the meantime, they have a practice to run and bills to be paid. Waiting several years for a settlement leaves firm’s vulnerable and some may need to turn down cases that will take a long time to resolve because they cannot afford to wait. That’s bad for lawyers and clients.

Attorneys who struggle with cash flow issues can turn to post-settlement legal funding to obtain money they need to run their practice. In legal funding, the funder buys a portion of your legal fee from settled cases. Virtually any type of contingency fee case can meet the requirements for funding. To learn more about how post-settlement funding can help your firm, visit RapidFunds® Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Sherry Foley, Esq. at sfoley@rapidfunds.com for more information.

Congratulations to the exceptional attorneys involved in this case.