Things to know about clergy sexual abuse in California

Sexual assault and abuse have been an ongoing issue for a long time in the United States. The catholic church, in particular, is mainly caught up with sexual abuse controversies. In California, several scandals involve clergy sexual abuse.

There was a high profile of such cases between the 1970s and late into the 90s. For instance, in 1995, former priest Michael S. Baker was guilty of indulging in oral sex with a minor.

Here, we shall look into all that you need to know about ca clergy abuse.

Sexual abuse by clergy is a longstanding problem in California

With California being highly affected, there have been efforts to gather data across all the states of accused priests.

The Database of Accused Priests in the US is searchable, available, and browse-able for free online. You can have a look at it at any time you wish.

In 2002, victims of clergy sexual abuse were allowed to file lawsuits in California. Nearly 800 cases were filed and opened in one year. California is also known for priests’ sexual abuse of minors.

There was such a case closed in early 2017. A plaintiff won a case of sexual child abuse against a priest that had occurred in the 1990s.

The aftermath of sexual abuse

Sexual abuse in itself is very devastating. One that a priest causes is more heartbreaking. It is because these are the people we look up to in society for guidance and counseling. Their effects negatively affect the overall well-being of a victim.

People who have been sexually assaulted by the clergy suffer the following;

  • Suicide ideation
  • Suicide itself
  • Self-injury
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Ongoing depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Unending traumas

Teenage and young children victims often engage in risky behavior, develop negative eating habits, and live an over-sexualized lifestyle.

The statute of constraints for victims of priests’ sexual abuse

A victim of sexual abuse can file an old claim up to December 31, 2022. This time has been prolonged past the old statute of limitation. A day after the legislature changed the statute of limitations, new plaintiffs submitted their lawsuits.

Just like Pennsylvania and New York, California joined them. They changed time restrictions to help child victims to file lawsuits when they become adults.

The changed law extended the minimum age a victim can file a complaint against clergy sexual abuse from 26-40 years of age.

There is also a three-year window for sexual abuse victims of any age to reopen a claim.

Victim-blaming shames keeps victims silent for ages

The church has hidden evidence involving clergy sexual abuse for a long time now. They want to ‘safeguard’ their good and clean reputation. Whenever victims come forward with allegations of being sexually assaulted by priests, they are shut down.

They are left to deal with the burden of shame and religious victim-blaming from congregants.


Nobody is above the law. Any person who conducts sexual abuse against another should be dealt with accordingly.