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News reports have ballooned in recent years which detail out allegations of child abuse, often sexual abuse, by clergy members against the children of unsuspecting members of their church. These claims raised awareness of the increased instance of child abuse which seemingly runs rampant throughout the clergy and has caused many parents to question their children about the actions of various clergy members. Instances of child abuse committed by the clergy should be addressed as soon as possible.
CHILD ABUSE BY THE CLERGY
It is frightening to think about the number of children who suffer abuse at the hands of trusted clergy members. It is important to recognize the initial signs of abuse, and to have ongoing conversations with your children to catch any early instances of abuse. While it may be difficult to imagine your local priest or clergy member behaving in such a manner, it happens more often than you think.
Clergy includes the following members: pastors, preachers, priest, youth ministers, deacons, members of the church or religious organization, church daycare workers, and Sunday school teachers. The church is the umbrella organization for all of these members, and should be held accountable for the actions of their employees and religious members.
CHILD ABUSE CLAIMS
Child abuse claims against the clergy may be brought in both criminal and civil courts simultaneously. The outcome of a criminal charge will not impact or influence the civil court outcome. However, a civil claim does have a lower burden of proof than a criminal charge will have and therefore may have a higher likelihood of a positive outcome for the victim.
It is important to criminally charge any child abuse, but you are also entitled to bring a claim for damages against the individual abuser and the institution. Some claims may be able to be brought years after the abuse occurred. Even if you are an adult at the time of the claim, you may be able to receive compensation for the clergy’s actions so many years ago. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on the limitations period tied to your case, as well as the amount of damages you are entitled to receive for the abuse which occurred. Abuse can have a lasting impact on a child, and the claim will consider the future impact on the child’s life.
MALLEY LAW FIRM | HOUSTON CHILD ABUSE ATTORNEY
If you or your child were the victim of abuse by a member of the clergy, do not hesitate to contact Tony Malley of the Malley Law Firm. Tony Malley has represented the families of victims of clergy abuse and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your family’s injuries. Contact our Beaumont or Houston offices today for your initial free consultation.