Holy Family Catholic Church—Clergy Sexual Abuse in Artesia, CA
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse often experience devastating consequences to their sense of security, spirituality, and self. They may develop debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, suffering from panic attacks, flashbacks, and depression. Sadly, many may turn to drugs, alcohol, or suicide to attempt to alleviate the anguish they endure because of what happened to them.
If you suffered abuse at the hands of clergy members, know that you are not alone.
Boucher LLP is here to help you reclaim your voice and agency. Our team is prepared to help you hold those accountable for the clergy sexual abuse you experienced at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia, California.
Background Information on Clergy Sexual Abuse at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia, CA
Reverend Clinton V. Hagenbach served as an Associate Pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia, California, from March 8, 1973, to January 6, 1974.
Hagenbach died in December 1987, but the crippling effects of the atrocities he committed live on in the memories of those he abused. Brave young men have come forward, recounting sexual abuse, even torture, that they endured at the hands of Clinton Hagenbach.
These young men described harrowing events of being “threatened at gunpoint,” lured into Hagenbach’s quarters by soda and candy laced with drugs, and made to watch “dirty videos.” Hagenbach was allowed to take a small group of children on an overnight desert camping trip via motorcycle, where he and the boys discharged guns. During this trip, Hagenbach forced these children to endure sex acts with him after plying them with marijuana, alcohol, and candy.
Leaders in the Church claimed to have not known that this occurred and to be saddened to hear that the boys suffered such atrocities. Yet, they merely recommended counseling and refused to disclose the abuse to police, misleading survivors and their families about the Church’s ability to speak out.
But we’re here to let them know that survivors cannot be silenced any longer.
The Church tried to hide from the law in 2007, but we ensured they paid. We helped nearly 400 survivors of clergy sexual abuse reclaim their power and hold the Church and its predatory priests accountable. We can help you too.
A Long Time Has Passed Since the Church Sexual Abuse Happened. Is It Too Late to File?
First, know that you are not alone. It’s common for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to stay silent out of fear of the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Abusers commonly engage in practices to keep those they victimize from speaking out about what happened. Survivors may block out the memory of what happened, only to have it resurface years or decades later.
But California law has a statute of limitations that expands the time in which you have to file a civil lawsuit against the Church and the perpetrator responsible for what happened to you. Childhood sexual abuse survivors typically have 22 years from when they turn 18 or five years after they realize they suffered psychological injury from the abuse in which to file.
A crucial exception may apply that can lengthen the deadline. If survivors can show that the Church knew that the perpetrator posed a risk to the community and did nothing, they can file a claim past their 40th birthday. Other exceptions may apply.
Can I File a Church Abuse Claim If There Isn’t a Criminal Lawsuit?
Often, clergy sexual abuse claims don’t result in criminal charges or result in charges that are dismissed because of a lack of evidence. But California law seeks to compensate for this by allowing survivors to file a civil lawsuit.
The burden of proof is much lower in a civil lawsuit than in a criminal case, so many survivors can achieve justice in this fashion. In contrast, prosecutors may never be able to bring criminal charges against the priest or Church responsible.
Boucher LLP—We Fight for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse in California
Our firm finds its strength in the stories of survivors and their family members. We devote ourselves to making sure that survivors feel heard and helping protect their legal rights. When you choose Boucher LLP, you call on a law firm of compassionate advocates who care about you and your story. We understand that your journey to get here has not been easy, and we will respect that every step of the way.
In 2006, Raymond Boucher received the Project Sister Family Services Justice Armand Arabian Award for his work fighting for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Since then, he and the firm have worked tirelessly to continue that legacy of lifting up survivors and their families and holding wrongdoers responsible.
If you or your loved one suffered clergy sexual abuse at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia or another church in California, call our office today at 818-340-5400 or contact us online.