Archdiocese of Baltimore Close to Reaching Child Sex Abuse Settlement with Maryland Family

In Maryland, the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a former Catholic priest are reportedly close to reaching a settlement agreement with the family of a man that the priest is accused of sexually abusing 17 years ago.

Jerome Cliffe died in February 2005 when he was 22-years-old of a drug overdose. His parents, Harry and Cathy Cliffe, filed a $2 million wrongful death lawsuit against the archdiocese and former priest Steven P. Girard last year.

The Cliffe family’s lawsuit claiming that Girard’s actions toward Jerome when he was an 8-year-old caused their son to experience post-traumatic stress syndrome and subsequently abuse drugs. The sex abuse allegedly started while Girard was a pastor at St. Clement Church and supervised the Catholic school in Lansdowne where Jerome was a third grader.

The suit contends that Jerome was sexually abused in a classroom and a confessional. The complaint accuses Girard of keeping Jerome quiet by threatening to hurt his family if he reported the abuse incidents. His parents say that Jerome experienced physical pain and mental anguish because of the abuse. Girard denies the abuse allegations.

The archdiocese has distanced itself from Girard’s alleged actions and said they had no knowledge the abuse was taking place. While the settlement amount is not final, the Cliffes’s legal representation has said that a settlement worth $200,000 is being discussed.

Child Sex Abuse

Sexually abusing or assaulting anyone is a crime and punishable by law. The victim and/or his family may also be entitled to personal injury compensation for the harm suffered.

Many times, the aftereffects and trauma of child sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Emotional trauma, psychological issues, trust issues, eating disorders, drug problems, and other injuries that are very difficult to recover from can result.

In Maryland and Washington DC, an experienced child sex abuse lawyer can help you file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party.

Church close to settling abuse case, The Daily Record, August 6, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Child Sexual Abuse

Abuse in the Catholic Church, The Boston Globe

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