News & Headlines

The Code of Shame

Chicago Tribune. By, Robert Koehler. December 19, 2013

A recent Canadian Public Television film looked much closer at the problems childhood sexual abuse can cause later in life. Read more about this film in this Chicago Tribune article.

“So we need a documentary to break the Code of Shame. It’s called “A Hard Name” and came out in 2009; it ran on Canadian public television. (The film is online but, unfortunately, can’t be viewed in the U.S. “due to rights restrictions.”) Director Alan Zweig found seven ex-prisoners — five men, two women — and just let them speak.”

Click to Read Article

The sexual abuse of children and adolescents

Irish Medical Times. December 6, 2013.

Sexual abuse lawyers understand what a difficult topic childhood sex abuse is. This piece from the Irish Medical Times presents an excellent perspective on the matter from Dr. Muhammad Arshad.

Dr Muhammad Arshad, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Hawkes Bay DHB New Zealand, and Prof Michael Fitzgerald, Professor of Child Psychiatry, TCD, examine the harrowing topic of child sexual abuse.

Some interesting statistics summarized in this article include this:

Out of a random sample of 930 adult women in San Francisco, CSA was experienced by 38 per cent under the age of 18 years and 28 per cent before the age of 14 years. Some 16 per cent reported at least one intrafamilial CSA under the age of 18 years and 12 per cent experienced CSA below 14 years.

Click to read full article.

Pope Francis Avoids Apology For Clergy Sex Abuse

Cardinal Sean O?Malley?s backing sought on bills. Would give victims longer to file cases

Boston Globe? December 9, 2013 "Child welfare advocates are calling on the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to back legislation that would extend the statute of limitations in Massachusetts on cases brought by victims of childhood sexual abuse." "And, Bernier said, the church ?should base its actions on moral reasonings, not on economic ones.? Read full story here.    

Pope Francis Announces Commission To Address Sex Abuse Cases

Daily Beast. December 5, 2013

As sex abuse lawyers, we know victims of clergy abuse simply haven't gotten the attention they deserve, and a Daily Beast piece on the Pope Francis commission makes a stringent examination of the plan:

“On Thursday, Pope Francis agreed to a to appoint a special ad-hoc commission for the protection of minors to address alleged and proven sex abuse by Catholic priests.”

Will this be more coverup or a positive step? Victims groups see this as more of the same.

Another commission surveying bishops and recommending policies is meaningless. “It's like offering a band aid to an advanced cancer patient,” Clohessy said. “These crimes and cover ups have gone on for centuries quietly and decades publicly. Only decisive action helps, not more studies and committees and promises.”

Read full article here.


New Church Document Reveals Predator Priest Lives in San Diego Area

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis recently released a previously secret list of 33 priests theyhave determined to have credible allegations of child sexual abuse. One of the 33 priest lives in the San Diego area.

A national support group for clergy sex abuse victims, SNAP, has called on San Diego Catholic bishop Cirilo Flores to aggressively reach out to anyone who this priest may have hurt while he's been in California.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking Bishop Flores to personally visit each parish where predator priest worked and beg victims, witnesses and witnesses to call police.

The retired priest, Father Palmitessa had been in the Diocese of San Diego since 1982 and retired in 1998 although continued to perform limited ministry until 2012. Fr. Palmitessa's photo and work history can be found on the Minnesota Public Radio website.

Any San Diego area victims are encouraged to call the Zalkin Law Firm for a legal consultation.

Commentary: Lax enforcement of Title IX means schools are not held accountable enough for mishandling sexual assaults

Aljazeera America, Nov. 1, 2013

Commentary by: Alexandra Brodsky

Campus sexual assault attorneys have seen the utter lack of basic protections for students, and the article below highlights Title IX requirements and the lack of protection from sexual assault that universities are giving students now.

“Schools are required to provide support for sexual-assault survivors and establish procedures for reporting incidents underTitle IX, which prohibits gender-based discrimination at federally funded schools. Instead, students across the country have turned to their colleges for assistance, only to be silenced, shamed, forced off campus and even forcibly institutionalized.”

Click here to read full story.

For Roger Mahony, clergy abuse cases were a threat to agenda

Los Angeles Times

December 01, 2013

Clergy abuse attorneys have seen how frequently these cases were coveredup, and a report by the Los Angeles Times indicates that Cardinal Mahony simply didn't want to deal with the reports. Take a look at the frightening reasons behind his decisions:

"From the start of his tenure as the leader of L.A.'s Catholics, Roger Mahony had ambitious plans for the archdiocese. But clergy molestation claims were vying for his attention."

Calculating the risk: child sexual assault

Iowa Now 11/5/13

Not everyone will need the services of a sex abuse lawyer, but some are far more likely to be victims of childhood sexual assault than others. Take a look at this report from Iowa Now for details.

“Affluent girls residing in two-parent homes are much less likely to be sexually assaulted than other female youth, according to a new study from the University of Iowa.”

Click here to read article.

New Study Findings Show Severe Chronic Depression More Likely in Child Sex Abuse Victims

Almost any sexual abuse lawyer will paint the rough path victims have ahead, and medical science is backing that up as reported by Science Daily below:

“Nov. 6, 2013 - A new study reveals the highest risk variables of chronic depression in the population, such as having suffered previous episodes of depression, delayed treatment, whether it is related to other physical or mental health problems, or having suffered sexual abuse during childhood.”

Click here for the full story.

A Victorian Parliamentary inquiry has released a scathing report accusing the Catholic Church of a systemic cover up of child sex abuse cases over years.

Clergy abuse lawyers have seen the problem of sexual abuse within the church go global over the last few years, and it certainly extends to Australia, as the report below suggests:

” It was another day of reckoning for the Catholic Church today with the Victorian parliamentary inquiry releasing a scathing report accusing the Church of a systemic cover-up of child abuse cases over many years. Other churches and institutions were also slammed for failing in their duty of care to children. The findings could open up hundreds of claims for financial compensation in the courts, as national affairs correspondent Heather Ewart reports.”

Full Story and video here.

NJ.Com Editorial - Extend statute of limitations for child victims of sex abuse

Sex abuse law varies from state to state, but in New Jersey, the statue of limitations is just two years. One editorialist points out the problem with numbers like those:

” In New Jersey, sex abuse victims have just two years to sue after linking abuse to other problems, such as depression, addiction or divorce. That's not enough.

Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) has proposed a bill to extend that to 30 years. How do we know it would make a difference? Because the church has fought so hard to kill it, with powerful lobbyists and competing legislation.

When the new legislative session begins in January, Vitale's bill should be a priority.”

Click here for full story.

When sex meets NCAA athletics

As a sex abuse law firm, Zalkin knows just how deep the problem of campus sexual assault is. It's not confined to one area of campus, and it most certainly extends to athletics. Take a look at an excellent report by Aljaseera America on the issue.

“In the only comprehensive national study conducted on the prevalence of sexual assault among male student-athletes, researchers found in the mid-90s that even though male student-athletes made up just 3 percent of the male student population, they were responsible for close to 20 percent of the reported sexual assaults on campus.See this story on NCAA athletics and the problems of sexual assaulton campus.”

Click here for story.

Sex Crimes on Campus Town Hall: These people in one room

Campus sexual assault lawyers are starting to take center stage as more reports are revealed about the ongoing nature of these problems. In a Town Hall format, the deeper problem of campus sex crimes is revealed:

“In the last few years, campus sexual assault has emerged as a national issue. Students at dozens of colleges and universities have filed civil rights complaints against their schools, claiming that the problem is so silenced, underreported and grossly mishandled that it violates federal laws that prohibit the discrimination of women.

On Friday, Nov. 1, America Tonight is taking on the issue in a special live town hall program airing at 9 p.m. ET. We’re bringing together students, professors, experts, activists and parents to take a hard look at the campus culture that may fuel assaults, the latest research on college rapists, the role of alcohol and how colleges and universities are dealing (or not dealing) with the problem.

Serial rapists commit 9 of 10 campus sexual assaults, research finds

Most sex abuse lawyers will tell you that offenders often have more than one victim. New research reveals this is just as true on college campuses as it is anywhere else.

This is the second report in America Tonight's Sex Crimes on Campus series. October 28, 2013

“Occidental College, a private and pricey school in Los Angeles, is known for its commitment to social justice. With that in mind, it's striking that this campus is riven by reports of rape and sexual assault, much of it allegedly committed by repeat offenders.”

To see the report on Occidental College Click Here.

Meet the women taking on their universities over sexual assault

As campus sexual assault attorneys, we know the current reports are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the greater problems at hand. These reports reveal exactly how deep the problem might be:

Aljazeera America Tonight, October 23, 2013

“The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights enforces Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits gender discrimination in education. It has open investigations on sexual assault at 25 colleges and universities over whether they have mishandled sexual assaults and done enough to fulfill their legal obligations to protect students.”

To view full story click here.


Abuse Allegations Leave Twin Cities Archdiocese In Turmoil

From NPR News, October 24, 2013

Increasingly, clergy abuse attorneys are seeing abuse allegations from every corner, and in the Twin Cities, those allegations created extensive controversy. NPR has the story:

“The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been rocked in recent weeks by revelations from a top-level whistle-blower. The former official says church leaders covered up numerous cases of sexual misconduct by priests and even made special payments to pedophiles. The scandal is notable not only because of the abuse but also because it happened in an archdiocese that claimed to be a national leader in dealing with the issue.”

See full story here:

Access to Justice Denied By Governor's Veto of California Victims Rights Act SB 131

Veto Protects Institutions That Harbored Sex Abusers and Destroys Victims Hopes for Justice

SAN DIEGO, CA (Oct. 12, 2013) Victims rights attorney Irwin Zalkin expressed extreme disappointment with the Governor's veto today of SB 131 by Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and pledged to continue to stand by the victims of childhood sex abuse who were victimized in their childhood at private institutions such as the Catholic Church.

Governor Brown's veto of SB 131 is a devastating blow for childhood victims of sexual abuse because the veto in effect continues to protect institutions such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, Jehovah's Witnesses and Swim USA that have been shown to have shielded sexual predators in their ranks from proper accountability and for years did little to address concerns.

“ On behalf of hundreds of victims who had hoped to access justice under this bill, I am deeply disappointed by the Governor's action, said Zalkin. This legislation was thoroughly analyzed and refined over months of hearings by the legislature was carefully drafted to finally give victims of childhood sexual abuse their day in court.”

The Catholic Church and other organizations hit by molestation scandals had heavily lobbied in opposition to SB 131 with a church-affiliated group hiring a half dozen expensive lobbying firms to lead their fight. The effort by the church included visits by bishops to the Capitol as well as advocacy by priests from the pulpit to turn parishioners against the bill.

“ The Catholic Church spared no expense to keep the doors of justice closed to victims of sexual abuse in their fight against this bill,” said Zalkin. Maintaining their veil of secrecy over the abuses of the past was more important to the church than a fair and open path to justice for the victims harmed by the perpetrators who were protected for years by the church.

Over the past decade, California's Catholic dioceses have paid $1.2 billion in settlements and released thousands of confidential documents that showed church leaders conspired to shield admitted molesters from law enforcement

The key provision of Beall's bill would have re-opened the window on the statute of limitations in molestation claims for another year, but only for a group who were 26 or older and missed the previous deadline because of abuse-related psychological problems. Advocates say loosening time limits is crucial in sex-abuse cases because it often takes decades for victims to realize or publicly admit that they were molested and seek legal recourse.

Zalkin pledged to continue working with victim�s organizations to find alternative justice options through legislation or in the courts for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

The Truth is That the Effects of Child Abuse are Long-lasting

Any sex abuse lawyer can tell you that childhood sexual abuse is a global problem with long-term effects. This article from Australia only highlights that fact. Read on to learn more:

“Research published in the journal Economic Record and conducted by Dr Kees van Gool and myself at the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation shows that in addition to the human cost of child abuse there are lasting health effects for victims and therefore substantial and very long-term costs for the health system.”

Read more:

Nationally Recognized Sexual Abuse Victims Attorney Endorses "Truth Be Told"


October 9, 2013

Contact: Irwin Zalkin

858-259-3011 office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nationally Recognized Sexual Abuse Victims Attorney Endorses New Documentary Film “Truth Be Told”

SAN DIEGO, CA - October 9, 2013 – SMITHKRAFT PRODUCTIONS, LLC has announced the endorsement by Irwin Zalkin, Esq., a nationally recognized childhood sex abuse victims attorney, of the new documentary film “Truth Be Told“.

Mr. Zalkin and members of his firm viewed “Truth Be Told” at a San Diego premiere in September and were moved by the stories in the film told by former members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) religion. Mr. Zalkin has stepped forward to endorse this powerful film on behalf of his clients and others who have suffered under the control of the JW religion.

“This powerful documentary shines a light on the extreme control of church elders over the lives of JW congregants,” said Zalkin. “It exposes the controlling environment that our JW clients lived under when they became victims of sexual abuse during their childhood.”

“Truth Be Told” is a new feature-length documentary that lifts the veil on the seemingly benign Jehovah's Witnesses religion to expose a profit-driven, isolationist culture characterized by fear, totalitarian corporate leadership and improper handling of physical and sexual abuse allegations within the church. This expos – the title of which refers to the Jehovah’s Witnesses' perception that their beliefs are ‘the truth’ – is the first feature-film directed by Gregorio Smith. Trailers, excerpts, production stills and other content are available on the official TRUTH BE TOLD website:

Irwin Zalkin has distinguished himself as an attorney representing the rights of victims of childhood sexual abuse. His firm, The Zalkin Law Firm, is one of the premier sexual abuse and personal injury firms in the country. Under his leadership, The Zalkin Law Firm has achieved groundbreaking settlements and verdicts in high-profile sexual abuse cases, personal injury cases against large corporation, and medical malpractice cases. ?The Zalkin Law Firm represents several former Jehovah's Witnesses who have alleged sexual abuse while they were children and members of Jehovah's Witnesses congregations.

About The Zalkin Law Firm

With offices in San Diego and New York, The Zalkin Law Firm ( is one of the premier sexual abuse and personal injury law firms in the country. The firm’s lawyers have represented hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and achieved groundbreaking results in numerous high-profile clergy abuse cases across the United States. The firm has negotiated over $200 million in settlements in sex abuse cases.