St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church—Clergy Sexual Abuse in Encino, CA
The St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church, in Encino, California, was the subject of a clergy sexual abuse scandal involving Father Clinton Hagenbach in the 1960s. For many years, the extent of Hagenbach’s abuse was not made known to the public. However, in the early 2000s, it came to the forefront when a survivor of his abuse came forward and settled a lawsuit for $1.5 million.
According to later reports, Hagenbach was accused of molesting at least 18 children between his first priesthood assignment at St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church and his last three decades later. It is important to understand that there may be more than one individual liable for the abuse. Of course, it is a given that Father Hagenbach himself is responsible for his deplorable actions. However, a claim can go far beyond that. In this particular instance, Hagenbach died in 1987, and any claims against him specifically died with him. However, if other individuals knew or should have known about the abuse, they may be held liable for what happened. This may mean other church employees, volunteers, or even the Archdiocese itself may be held accountable for Hagenbach’s abuse.
If you believe you may be a survivor of church sexual abuse that involved Father Hagenbach or another clergyman at St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church in Encino, CA, contact us at Boucher LLP as soon as possible. Although decades have passed, you may still be able to file a claim to seek the justice you have long deserved.
Statute of Limitations for Clergy Sexual Abuse Claims
Generally, most claims have what is known as a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the timeframe in which a lawsuit must be brought—otherwise, you lose your right to pursue it. Before January 1, 2020, claims by childhood abuse survivors were capped at the arbitrary age of 26 or within three years of the person realizing their psychological injury was caused by the abuse (whichever came later).
California Child Victims Act
Post-January 1, 2020, California expanded childhood sexual abuse survivors’ rights and remedies. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Child Victims Act is that it expanded the timeframe in which survivors can initiate a lawsuit. Now, the statute of limitations for commencing a civil action as a result of childhood sexual abuse increases to the age of 40 or within five years of the date a survivor discovers that psychological injury was caused by the abuse, whichever is later.
Three-Year Grace Period
The Child Victims Act opened a three-year window from the date enacted—January 1, 2020—for survivors of any age to pursue the justice they deserve. No matter how old they are, when the abuse occurred, or if the perpetrator is dead or alive, they can still bring a civil action for damages.
This Act is imperative because, often, survivors either repress their memories or are not ready to come forward with their stories right away. These new parameters truly empower survivors to fight for the justice they deserve.
Church Sexual Abuse Claim Attorneys
At Boucher LLP, our attorneys are compassionate and understanding but also fierce advocates. We have dedicated a large portion of our practice to representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse. No matter how much time may have passed, we are here to listen to your story and guide you moving forward. If you are unsure if you are eligible to file a church abuse claim, don’t worry—our attorneys will answer your questions and put your mind at ease. If you believe you are a victim of abuse from Father Hagenbach or another clergyman at St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church in Encino, CA, contact us through our website or over the phone to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your options!