What Do I Do After Being Abused by a Clergy Member?

What Do I Do After Being Abused by a Clergy Member?

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What Do I Do After Being Abused by a Clergy Member?

It’s disheartening but true: if you have been abused by a clergy member, you are not alone. Many people have suffered similar circumstances dating as recently as a few weeks ago or stretching back for decades. Many news stories and high-profile cases have shared the background of victims who have been devastated by clergy abuse. In these circumstances, a clergy abuse lawyer can help answer your questions and give your case the sensitive focus and dedication that it needs. 

So many cases of clergy abuse have been shared in recent years, covering everything from molestation to more serious sexual crimes. All of these crimes have left long-lasting impacts on their victims, burdens those victims have had to carry into their adult lives. If that’s you, only you know how this has affected you. If you want to get closure and support for your claim from an attorney who has helped other victims in similar situations, now is the time to fight for justice and share your story. While there is no way to wind back the clock and erase these events from ever happening, you can take important steps for your own peace and wellbeing now. 

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  • Understanding Clergy Abuse

    Many people are familiar with catholic church abuse but clergy abuse involves any sexual abuse carried out by nuns, lay clergy members, priests, Mormon temple leaders, and other religious organization leaders. Many of these different types of people and entities have been involved in sexual misconduct accusations. 

    Step 1: Get Mental Health Support

    Dealing with clergy abuse is a devastating experience and one that all too often impacts fragile members of society, such as young children. Anyone who is courageously confronting the reality of current or previous childhood sexual trauma will need support from a mental health professional. A mental health professional can help identify the many ways in which the clergy abuse has affected the victim's life and can help them develop coping strategies as well as positive exercises to help them heal from this unfortunate trauma. No victim should have to suffer from clergy abuse but this has happened, it is important to take your mental health seriously. The next step of getting support is to retain a clergy abuse lawyer. 

    Step 2: Getting a Clergy Abuse Lawyer

    It can be difficult to identify your rights and the timelines associated with filing a case. Hiring a clergy abuse lawyer can give you a better perspective on what these cases look like and the steps that you would need to take to protect your rights. It can be extremely brave and courageous to come forward with a claim of clergy abuse and it can also be devastating for the clergy or any other type of religious organization to deny that these activities happened or to downplay the impact this has had on your life. It is not simple to identify how to move forward on your own as the law on this topic has been updating rapidly. 

    The statute of limitations, for example, might vary from one state to another and these issues are often conversations in legislative halls, meaning that further changes could occur too. Hiring a clergy abuse lawyer is the best way to prepare yourself to understand your rights at this present moment in time and to have a relationship with a person who is familiar with filing cases on behalf of victims. Options were very limited in the past for victims of clergy sexual abuse. 

    However, as more victims have come forward to tell their stories, legislators have recognized that victims might need more rights. As legislators and other experts have learned more about how childhood sexual trauma works and the fact that it can be difficult for victims to come forward, laws have been adopted and changed in this regard. However, there are still many different problems associated with how the country is currently dealing with predators or in understanding the legal rights of a victim. If you or a loved one is sharing stories about clergy abuse, it is imperative that you get support properly. 

    A Boston Globe investigation uncovered the terrible truth about the long and rampant history of sexual abuse prevalent in the Catholic church, but this has also prompted many other people to come forward stretching back over decades. While filing a clergy sex abuse lawsuit will never change your past, you do have the power to change your future by retaining a clergy abuse lawyer to hold guilty parties accountable and to potentially even recover compensation if you have suffered. 

    Step 3: File Your Case

    You might think that you are the only person who has suffered at the hands of a clergy member but this is likely not the case. States have been completing reports and investigations about the scope of clergy sexual abuse in recent years in an effort to identify how deep the problem goes in their region. A grand jury report in Pennsylvania, for example, looked at over 1000 abuse allegations that dated back over 70 years and found that more than 300 priests were all linked to cases of clergy sex abuse. 

    Evidence continues to mount against religious organizations as these investigations continue and as dioceses around the country release lists of clergy who have been credibly accused. You might find this information and complete research before speaking with your clergy abuse lawyer to help validate your claim. The information from these various dioceses includes locations at which sexual abusers worked, their known names, and when allegations of sexual abuse were made against them. In filing a lawsuit with the support of a clergy abuse lawyer, you could be eligible for compensation. 

    The physical and mental scars of clergy abuse can last for a lifetime but holding your abuser accountable also opens the door to potential compensation. Certain states have established compensation programs to support victims who are attempting to recover from this lasting trauma and its abuse. Clergy abuse compensation could cover things such as medical prescriptions, pain and suffering, inability to work, physical or mental therapy, and emotional counseling. For survivors, compensation may be obtained through clergy sex abuse lawsuits or verdicts for clergy sex abuse. Contacting an experienced clergy abuse lawyer is the first step in pursuing compensation and justice. 

    These lawyers are dedicated to helping victims and survivors who could be eligible. In divulging this private and sensitive information you need to have confidence that you are retaining the services of an experienced and dedicated lawyer who will take your case seriously.  Your case does represent the possibility of litigation, but many of these cases handled by a clergy abuse lawyer get resolved sooner outside of court. This is because there are so many of these cases and many of the organizations do not want to take the risk of a court jury result or the further press that could come with going through a full trial. That being said, your lawyer should also be ready and willing to continue your case through to a trial case. 

    There are many legal questions to answer in determining the right course of action for you, but the sooner you can get legal help, the sooner you can begin healing this trauma. While it has been hard for many victims of clergy abuse to come forward with their stories and acknowledge how the past has harmed them, some have been able to find the peace they needed.

    One of the most frustrating aspects of these claims for most victims is the fact that the church has downplayed the impact and reach of these issues for decades. This has made it extremely hard for victims to get closure and to process their trauma. That’s to say nothing of getting compensation for damages. 

    Coming forward with your claim of clergy abuse might help you close a dark chapter in your life, but it can also bring light to these serious issues and even pave the way for some other victim to share their story in the future. It is devastating to think about how many people have suffered at the hands of clergy members in trusted leadership positions, but the truth is that you are not alone. You could even be entitled to compensation to allow you to move forward into a better future while also holding individuals who have perpetrated abuse as well as the organizations that employed them accountable. 

    Talk to a clergy abuse lawyer today if you have questions about your eligibility to open a case. Learn more about your rights and discuss next action steps if this might be the right fit for you. A clergy abuse lawyer will listen to your concerns with sensitivity and respect for how hard it is to share this story, no matter how long ago the incident happened. Today is the start of a new day for you as a victim of sexual abuse; a clergy abuse lawyer might be a key part of letting you move on with your life. 

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