The sexual abuse of a child by a member of the clergy is the ultimate betrayal of trust. Children who are sexually abused by a priest, minister, deacon or rabbi not only must cope with the vast array of problems typically felt by other victims of abuse like embarrassment, confusion, anger, anxiety and depression but they often experience a profound loss of faith. In fact for many victims this loss of faith creates a wound that never heals.
Mike Dowd has been a pioneer in the effort in New York state to get religious institutions to be held accountable to victims of sexual abuse. In 1995, fully seven years before the Catholic Church scandal broke in 2002, Mike Dowd sued the Archdiocese of New York on behalf of a boy who had been molested by a Catholic elementary school principal. Thecase was settled two days after the trial started.
After the 2002 abuse scandal broke out in the Catholic church, Mike Dowd’s office was flooded with calls from victims seeking justice for the injuries they received from abusive priests. Mr. Dowd was one of the first attorneys in New York to file a lawsuit against the various dioceses in the New York metropolitan area. He represented almost two hundred victims in lawsuits against the Brooklyn Diocese, the Rockville Centre Diocese and the Archdiocese of New York.
In 2007 Mike Dowd’s office took thefirst sexual abuse case against theCatholic Church in New York to trial. After seven weeks the jury awarded his clients a joint total of $11.45 million dollars.*
Mike Dowd knows how emotionally difficult and painful it is for survivors to come forward and confront their abusers. His goal in representing victims is to prepare them for the challenge and vigorously and tirelessly protect them so that they can be justly compensated for the wrongs done to them.