The sexual abuse of a child by a trusted adult can have far reaching and devastating consequences that will last well into a person’s adult life. Psychological problems like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder can wreak havoc on a victim’s life, to say nothing of the loss of trust and self-esteem. It is not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to have substance abuse problems, problems in their marital life and problems in their sex life. Unfortunately, most victims of abuse are too ashamed, embarrassed, confused and fearful to report their abuser or even tell a family member or friend about their ordeal. Very few victims ever report their abuse to the authorities. Sexual abuse is the perfect crime because it often silences the victim, allowing the perpetrators and those who employed them to escape responsibility.
Michael Dowd has been a tireless advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. He understands that while filing a lawsuit will not erase the trauma and pain of abuse, the civil justice system is the best method we have as a society to hold the perpetrators and those who employ them accountable. To that end, Mr. Dowd has not only represented numerous victims of abuse by Catholic priests and Catholic school employees, but as well as victims of the Jewish Community, and victims in the Boy Scouts of America.
If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual abuse, please call the office of Michael Dowd for a free consultation.
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 also often experience a profound loss of faith. In fact, for many victims, this loss of faith creates a wound that never heals.
Michael 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, Michael Dowd sued the Archdiocese of New York on behalf of a boy who had been molested by a Catholic elementary school principal. The case was settled two days after the trial started.
After the 2002 abuse scandal broke out in the Catholic Church, Michael 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, Michael Dowd’s office took the first sexual abuse case against the Catholic Church in New York to trial. After seven weeks, the jury awarded his clients a joint total of $11.45 million dollars.
Michael 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 they can receive justice.