Knowing when you can sue a church leader for sexual assault

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Other Sexual Abuse

Sexual assault is a serious crime that can have devastating effects on its victims. If you have been the victim of sexual assault by a church leader in Florida, you may be considering your options. However, it can be difficult to know when you can sue a church leader for sexual assault.

Criminal charges

The first step in seeking justice for a sexual assault is to report the crime to the police. The police will investigate the case and, if there is enough evidence, you may be able to bring a sexual abuse lawsuit against a catholic priest or other religious organization. If the church leader is convicted, the victim may be able to seek compensation through a criminal court.

Statute of limitations

The statute of limitations is the time period during which you can file a lawsuit for sexual assault. The length of the statute of limitations will depend on the laws of the state where the assault occurred. In some states, the statute of limitations for sexual assault is as short as three years, while in others, it may be longer.

It’s crucial to understand the statute of limitations in your state, as you may lose the right to file a lawsuit if you wait too long.


In some cases, a church may be held responsible for the actions of its leader if it was aware of the leader’s behavior and failed to take appropriate action to protect its members. This is known as negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that the church had a duty to protect its members, that the church breached that duty and that you suffered physical or psychological harm.

Intentional torts

If a church leader intentionally commits sexual assault, the church may be liable for intentional torts. To prove intentional torts, you must show that the church leader intended to harm you and that the leader’s actions directly caused the harm.

Holding clergy members accountable for sexual assault

When you can sue a church leader for sexual assault will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the laws of the state where the assault occurred. Taking legal action can be difficult, but it is important to seek justice and hold those who have committed sexual assault accountable for their actions.