Clergy Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy is no longer a hidden epidemic.  Sexual abuse survivors are coming forward in greater numbers than ever to report the sexual abuse that they suffered in religious institutions and to hold their abusers accountable.  Holding the abusers accountable for their actions will merit support and compensation for the survivors of sexual abuse and will also deter future cases of sexual abuse by clergy.

It has long been well known to all religious institutions that sexual predators are drawn to their ranks.  The predators covet the special relationship created between clergy and their parishioners which provides predators unfettered access to vulnerable children while simultaneously deeming the abusers trustworthy and benevolent by virtue of their esteemed position within the church.  The epidemic of sexual abuse of children by clergy has recently been exposed by the thousands of courageous survivors who have come forward, and who continue to come forward, to report the abuse that they have suffered.  As a result, religious institutions are being forced to implement policies, procedures, and protocols to screen and supervise clergy and other church personnel in order to protect the children who attend and serve at the church. There can be no doubt that the courage of survivors to come forward today will benefit them personally while protecting future generations of church attending innocent and vulnerable children.

Recently enacted state laws have erased once stringent and unforgiving statutes of limitations which would have barred thousands of claims of child sexual abuse by the mere passage of time.  Now, numerous states have opened the window of opportunity for adults to file claims against churches and other organizations for the sexual abuse that they suffered as children, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.  However, unfortunately, not all states have changed their laws to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  Please call Colter Legal PLLC for a simple and clear answer as to whether a claim may be brought for clergy sexual abuse based on the state where the sexual abuse occurred.

We encourage all survivors of clergy sexual abuse to come forward and speak confidentially with the professionals at Colter Legal PLLC.  Your case can be handled in an anonymous fashion and your identity can be kept confidential.  If you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse contact Colter Legal PLLC and speak to an advocate who will listen to you, believe in you, and support you.

Clergy Abuse - Area of Practice for Colter Legal

Child Sexual Abuse

While sexual abuse can occur at any age, children and teens are at the greatest risk of being sexually abused.  The sexual abusers that prey on children are fully aware that their victims are often too young to comprehend the threat posed to them by a sexual abuser, are too young to understand what is happening to them, and lack the physical size and strength to fend off their abuser.  In addition, by virtue of their authority or position within an organization, the sexual abusers often command the trust, obedience, and loyalty of their victims.  The sexual abusers are therefore further empowered by the supporting organization itself to sexually abuse children.

In order to have access to children, and in order to appear to be in a position of authority, chronic sexual abusers of children will often seek out positions, whether paid or volunteer, with organizations created specifically for the benefit of youth.  It is not coincidence that large, national and regional organizations meant to benefit youth are often infiltrated by predators seeking to sexually abuse children.  The predators seek out involvement with such organizations because they know that they will often have unfettered access to children, the children at risk will have actually been encouraged to trust, obey, and remain loyal to their abusers and the organizations, and there will be very little oversight or supervision of the abusers.

For all of the above reasons, the sexual abuse of children in organizations meant to benefit children has escalated to epidemic proportions.  However, the abuse is preventable.  Because it is foreseeable to the organizations that sexual abusers of children will attempt to infiltrate their ranks, the organizations must ensure that appropriate policies and measures are in place to screen applicants who seek to be involved with the organization, to supervise those who join the organization at every level, and to frequently scrutinize the behavior and actions of everyone in the organization.  Those organizations that fail to take the steps to prevent child sexual abuse within their midst are liable to the children their negligence has harmed.  Those organizations are just as at fault as the sexual abusers themselves.

Organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, YWCA, youth sports including Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, US Soccer, US Swimming, churches, temples, synagogues and many other organizations all have responsibility to the children that they solicit to join their programs.  Where child sexual abuse occurs on their watch, those organizations and the abusers are liable and should be held accountable for the harm and loss suffered by the survivor of sexual abuse.  That is what we do at Colter Legal, and it is our pledge to you.  We will hold the abusers accountable for the harm and loss that they have caused.  Call us.

All cases are handled with the strictest confidentiality and survivors’ names are never made public without their express consent.

Child Sexual Abuse - Area of Practice of Colter Legal

Catastrophic Injuries to Children

Colter Legal PLLC accepts cases for catastrophically injured children.  Children that have sustained a brain injury, paralysis, or amputation will require a lifetime of professional medical treatment, rehabilitative and occupational therapies, as well as professional in home nursing care and assistance, often times throughout the day and night.   A lifetime of medical services, therapies, and in home care is essential to the child’s well being and quality of life, yet extremely costly.

Colter Legal PLLC will aggressively, thoroughly, and relentlessly pursue all available avenues of recovery for your child and your family.  At Colter Legal PLLC, cases for children are afforded the utmost attention, diligence, and vigor.  The cases are viewed as opportunities to enhance the injured child’s quality of life and to provide the means to the child’s family to best provide for their child for the short term and for the long term.

Specific examples of cases handled by Colter Legal PLLC’s President and founding Attorney John G. Harnishfeger have included representation of the families of the following severely injured persons:

A baby who sustained oxygen deprivation at birth in a hospital causing cerebral palsy.  The injury was preventable had the baby been timely delivered by the hospital’s resident physician who was left in charge of the delivery.  The child will require a lifetime of medical care and services and his family will require in home assistance to help care for the child.

A twelve year old girl who suffered paralysis while undergoing a surgery in a hospital.  The injury was preventable had the girl’s anesthesia team appropriately monitored the girl’s vital signs during her surgery.  The young girl will require a lifetime of medical care and services and her family will require in home assistance.

A nine year old girl who suffered a leg amputation while a patient in a hospital.  The amputation was preventable had the girl received proper care from the hospital’s emergency department physician.  The young girl will require a lifetime of prosthetic refitting and adjustment as well as related therapies to facilitate her functional improvement.

Sometimes children are not physically injured, but they have nonetheless suffered tremendous loss as in the case of the wrongful death of a child’s parent.  An example of such a case involved the death of a young mother due to postpartum hemorrhage shortly after delivering her baby in a hospital.  The mother’s untimely death was preventable had the physicians and nursing staff charged with her care paid attention to the mother’s postpartum vital signs and taken steps to stabilize her deteriorating condition.

At Colter Legal PLLC our charge is to obtain the maximum recovery to facilitate the quality of life that our clients deserve.  That is what we do.  One case at a time.

Catastrophic Injuries to Children - Colter LegaL

Defective Devices and Products

Defective products can cause serious health problems, injuries, and death.  Colter Legal PLLC is pursuing cases on behalf of consumers who were harmed by defective medical devices and defective products.

Currently, Colter Legal PLLC  is helping our clients with cases harmed by defective and dangerous products including talcum powder (baby powder), mesh used in hernia repair surgeries, metal hip replacement implants, and Allergan breast implants.  These devices and products have known defects which can cause very serious consequences.  Call Colter Legal PLLC for information about the following cases:

Talc (Baby Powder) which is known to cause ovarian cancer.

Mesh used in hernia repair surgeries which is known to migrate from the surgical site and its intended use causing harmful infections.

Metal hip implants which are known to become infected and require additional surgery.

Allergan breast implants which have been prone to failure causing infections and require additional surgery.

Defective Devices and Products - Colter Legal

Dangerous Drugs

Drugs that are unsafe can cause much more harm than good.  Among the drugs that have been recalled and deemed no longer safe for use is Zantac.  Research studies have documented the long term use of Zantac as a cause of cancer.  Colter Legal PLLC is accepting cases where long term users of Zantac, both prescription and the over the counter varieties, have been diagnosed with cancer.  While scientific research and study of the association between Zantac and cancer continues to progress, it is clear that Zantac was comprised of cancer causing agents.  For that reason, the FDA has recalled Zantac and it is no longer available to consumers.  Unfortunately, the harm caused by Zantac endures with hundreds of innocent consumers being diagnosed with cancers caused by Zantac every day.

If you, or someone that you know, was a long term user of Zantac and has been diagnosed with cancer contact Colter Legal PLLC to learn how we can help.

Dangerous Drugs - Colter Legal