This is a case study of a successful sex abuse claim that we recently made against a catholic school on behalf of an abuse victim.
Rachel Thain, a leading lawyer in our specialist sex abuse team, agreed to represent a man who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest during his time at a prestigious private catholic school.
The man's claim was funded under our popular No Win, No Fee scheme.
It was a historic claim, involving sex abuse which had taken place in the 1980's. There had been a significant breach of duty, involving a man in a position of authority (as both an employee of the school and a Catholic priest) using his status to sexually abuse our client and other boys at the school.
The abuse perpetrated by the priest went unpunished at the time. However, following a criminal investigation many years later the man was convicted of his crimes and sentenced to serve a prison sentence.
When dealing with the compensation claim the timescales involved and the availability of evidence was of key importance. Whilst the priest had been brought to justice and a criminal conviction had been achieved, it was over a decade prior to the compensation claim being made and therefore 'limitation' still presented a challenge in this case.
However, our thorough investigations meant that key documents were obtained and could be relied upon in support of the claim.
We alleged 'vicarious liability', which means that the school could be held responsible for the abuse perpetrated by their employee.
The abuse had a significant impact on our client and it was clear this needed to be explored in detail to ensure he received the right amount of compensation. As is often the case in abuse claims, it had affected both his career and relationships. He only felt able to come forward and consider a legal claim after receiving extnsive counselling which was aimed at addressing the psychological difficulties he had faced over many years.
We also had to identify and locate relevant records, which is always a challenge in historic cases because paperwork is often lost or destroyed. However we were successful in obtaining some highly relevant and useful material.
Specialist medical evidence was obtained to enable an accurate valuation of the claim to be made. The expert made recommendations for further specialist treatment for our client to undergo on a privately paying basis. The cost of this treatment was included in his compensation claim.
Once the case had been thoroghly investigated and the evidence pieced together we presented the claim to the defendants. This led to negotiations taking place, resulting in offers and counter offers being made by both parties. Eventually an out of court settlement was agreed, with our client receiving a substantial compensation payment.
If you have suffered sex abuse in connection with the catholic church or at school - even if that abuse occurred many years ago - and wish to know where you stand then call our Free and CONFIDENTIAL legal helpline on 0808 139 1597 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org