People often look to members of the clergy as spiritual leaders and as trusted members of the community that they can turn to for guidance. Unfortunately, members of the clergy are not without fault and there have been countless cases that have come to light over the years of clergy members using their position to commit acts of sexual abuse.
If you or a child believe that you have been the victim of clergy sex abuse in Texas, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced attorney to pursue your case.
The effects of sexual abuse
Many victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member may have been too young to realize at the time that what was being done is a crime. Nevertheless, the effects of sexual abuse can surface or play out over decades. The effects of sexual abuse can vary from person to person, but may include:
- Changes in behavior
- Difficulty concentrating
- Physical injuries
- Aggressive behavior
- Withdrawl from social situations with peers or family
What sexual abuse looks like
Just as it’s important to recognize the effects of sexual abuse, it’s also important for victims to have a clear understandng of what constitutes sexual abuse. This can include but is not limited to:
- Inappropriate touching
- Child pornography
- Sexual assault
- Suggestive text messages, emails or phone calls of a sexual nature
How can victims seek justice?
The state of Texas does not take sex abuse by a member or former member of the clergy lightly. People who have suffered sexual abuse by a leader of the church may not think that they can seek justice for something that happened to them as a child. That’s simply not true. Texas has taken steps to improve its statute of limitation laws and for many victims, this means a chance at justice, even decades after the crime took place.
As of 2021, “there is no statute of limitations for the crime of sexual assault on a child” under Texas law. This includes: aggravated sexaul assault of a child, continous sexual abuse of a child, indencency with a child. It also includes sexual assault of an adult with the presence of DNA evidence. It’s important to recognize, however, that there are circumstances where the law can vary for other sexual crimes. Crimes such as “sexual performance by a child, aggravated kidnapping if the intent is to sexually abuse a child, and burglary if the intent is to sexually abuse a child” have a 20-year statue of limitations from the time of the person’s 18th birthday.
While every case is different, far too many cases involving clergy sex abuse share similar patterns of abuse, coercion, and mental and physical trauma. No one should feel ashamed if they were a victim of abuse, the important thing is taking the proper steps to hold the accused accountable.
If you’re ready to take action and work with a team who will fight for the settlement you deserve, please reach out to our clergy abuse attorney today.