Child abuse by church clergy can be difficult for victims to identify. Because the abuse is carried on by a person of authority, younger victims might not understand a religious leader or member of the church is actually breaking the law. If you feel you or your child is a victim of church clergy abuse, here is everything you need to know.
What is Clergy Sex Abuse?
Clergy sex abuse is committed by a member of the church on a minor child and can include:
- The clergy exposing themselves
- Inappropriate fondling
- Sexual intercourse
- Clergy masturbating in front of the minor or forcing the minor to masturbate for them
- Phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction of a sexual nature
- Sharing pornographic images/movies of children with a child
- Vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a minor
- Sex trafficking of a minor
The conduct results in mental, emotional, or physical suffering that can take years to surface.
When Can Victims Take Action Against Clergy Sexual Abusers?
The Child Victims Act now allows victims of sexual abuse to seek compensation as far back as 30 years. This is because it often takes decades for a child sexual abuse victim to come to terms with what happened. The increased timetable makes it easier for victims to come forward as adults and seek damages from their abusers and the Catholic Church.
How Can Victims Seek Damages?
You can seek damages from the diocese and parishes where the abuse happened with the assistance of a Church Clergy Abuse attorney. With the extended timing, you can decide when you wish to pursue litigation. You can receive some form of settlement that can be used towards treatment to help you come to terms with your sexual abuse. Settlements with the diocese are becoming prevalent sadly because the cases themselves are becoming more and more public.
Who to Turn to as a Victim of Church Abuse
You can speak to a clergy sexual abuse attorney. You need not feel embarrassed or ashamed to speak to these specialists as they are there to protect your rights. They take their time to ensure you are comfortable discussing your case and will take every step to help seek retribution for the physical and mental abuse you’ve suffered.
Why is the Church Involved in the Process?
The church and church leaders have a legal and moral duty to ensure its members are supervised. In clergy sexual abuse cases, the church failed to address sexual abuse, allowing legal claims to be filed against the church as well as the institutions that it falls under.
How Do I Know If My Child Is a Victim of Church Abuse?
Although it can be difficult to know for sure, there are some warning signs of sexual abuse including:
- Changes in behavior, including becoming more aggressive
- Withdrawal from the family and social situations
- Losing interest in their favorite activities
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Moodiness, anger, depression, or sadness
- A preoccupation with sex
- Engaging in harmful behaviors
The experts at Malley Law Firm understand the emotional sensitivities of your case. Speak to our clergy abuse attorney for sexual harassment by a clergy today to learn how you get the compensation you deserve.