Most sexual abuse comes from someone the victim knows. Sexual abuse from a clergy member is a betrayal of trust and decency. Predators should pay for their crimes. If a member of the clergy abused you or a loved one, you could file a lawsuit against them to seek compensation for their wrongdoing.
The Catholic Church is under the most scrutiny for sexual abuse from priests and other religious leaders. But sexual abuse by spiritual members happens in many denominations, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Folk religions.
A Chula Vista clergy abuse lawyer can help you seek justice against you or your family member’s abuser. Call the Pintas & Mullins Law team at (800) 219-9622 for more information about financial compensation for sex crimes.
Understanding Sexual Abuse
Abusive sexual behavior takes many forms. It includes rape and molestation, but it can also include other non-physical acts and behaviors, such as:
- Indecent exposure, such as displaying genitals
- Sexual intimidation or groom, particularly children
- Pressuring into sexual activities
- Showing pornographic images or videos
- Filming, photographing, or recording of nudity or sexual or sexualized acts
The effects of sexual abuse can be physical or mental. Abuse by the hands of the clergy can also lead to spiritual and emotional suffering. Common consequences of sexual abuse include the following:
- Mental disorders like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder
- Issues with addiction, self-esteem, and sexual functioning
- Feelings of shame, self-blame, and anxiety
- Actions of self-injury or abusing others
- Thoughts of suicide
- Pain in the pelvis and other areas
Any sexual acts with a child are abuse. The age of consent in California is 18 years. Sex with a minor is unlawful under California Penal Code (PEN) §261.5.
Sexual Abuse Lawsuits & Compensation
In California, an adult who has sexual intercourse with a minor can face a misdemeanor or felony charge as well as a civil fine. The government imposes a civil fine up to $25,000, but the victim can demand compensation for personal injury, pain and suffering, and other damages.
You can sue a sexual abuser for a monetary amount. This compensation can help you and your family recover from the assault by a clergy member. Sexual assault and abuse lawsuits include seeking compensation for:
- Sexual battery
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- False imprisonment
The amount of your compensation will depend on your case. It can be challenging to put a figure on your pain and suffering. Our legal team can assist you in calculating a legally attainable amount. When calculating a compensation amount, consider the following:
- Medical bills and expenses, including mental health costs
- Prescriptions and medications related to abuse
- Lost earnings or potential earnings
You can also ask for punitive damages, which is a monetary punishment. Even if your perpetrator goes to jail and pays a civil fine, you can seek money as penance for damages against you or your loved one. Civil suits like sexual assault may never go to trial because they usually are settled out of court.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Chula Vista, call (800) 794-0444
Who Is Responsible for Clergy Sexual Abuse
It is clear to point to the abuser for being liable for compensating the victim. However, they may not be the only person responsible.
Unfortunately, houses of worship try to hide the abuse. They may move the clergy member to a different area or intimidate survivors into keeping it to themselves. They may even blame the victim for seducing the abuser.
The religious organization and its administration can be liable for not screening its clergy members. They have a duty of care to their spiritual community to stop sexual abuse.
Likewise, anyone who knew about the abuse could be held responsible financially. Even if someone did not have a direct connection to the abuse, they are at fault for not reporting the crime. Because they did not report it, the abuse continued, making them just as responsible as the clergy member who was directly assaulting the victim. The law calls this mandatory reporting.
For instance, individuals who have, had, or knew of photos or videos of child pornography will face similar consequences as the person who took and distributed the material.
Chula Vista Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
How Long You Have to File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
How long you have to file a suit against an attack depends on your or your family member’s age when the assault happened. A Chula Vista clergy abuse lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law can help you determine when and how to begin legal proceedings.
If the victim is a child or was a child at the time of the abuse, you have until their 40th birthday to file a lawsuit, according to PEN §801.1. You also have within five years of discovery of childhood sexual assault, according to the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §340.1. For example, a victim may remember a sexual assault that took place during their childhood during a mental health counseling session. That individual would have five years from that time to seek legal action if they wanted to do so.
If the victim is an adult at the time of the abuse, you have 10 years from the date of the incident to file a suit. You also have three years from the date you discover an illness or injury related to the abuse. For example, a victim can seek compensation if they discover that a sexual assault from 12 years ago caused them to have a sexually transmitted disease.
As of 2020, rape and molestation survivors can file lawsuits against their abuser if their case was previously barred because of the old statute. However, they have only three years to initiate legal proceedings.
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Getting Legal Help
Facing your attacker can be a scary experience. A Chula Vista clergy abuse lawyer can fight on your behalf for compensation. Our team will investigate the case to gather evidence and guide you through the legal process. Let the team at Pintas & Mullins Law help you with your case. Call us at (800) 219-9622.