Sexual abuse has profound, long-term consequences. If a church’s clergy victimized you or someone you love, the victim deserves justice. Clergy members who violate their roles as trusted, moral leaders should be held accountable. Their victims endure physical, psychological, and spiritual pain that no one should ever experience.
No settlement can undo the damage of sexual abuse, but an Oxnard clergy abuse lawyer may be able to help you seek financial recovery that could bring some peace of mind. There are countless ways sexual abuse affects an individual, including therapy bills and the reduced ability to work. It also sends a message to the abuser and the institution that protected them. They were corrupt, irresponsible, and unjust, and they now have a responsibility to help individuals who endured clergy abuse to recover. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to set up a free consultation at (800) 219-9622.
Clergy Sexual Abuse
Clergy sexual abuse happens when a member of church leadership sexually abuses a parishioner. The victim might be a child, teen, or even an adult. Members of the clergy have a unique position of power, and it is a heinous abuse of their influence when they sexually abuse their victims. Victims are unable to properly consent to sexual activity because of the imbalance of power. Even individuals over age 18 cannot always give proper consent to the clergy. Victims may endure lasting damage to their faith because they trusted their clergy members to guide them.
Types of Clergy Abuse
Clergy members have access to many different people. There are many ways they can abuse their position and harm others. Some of these include:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse is usually violent and involves physical harm, such as whipping, slapping, kicking, and punching. It is different from sexual abuse.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse means inappropriate sexual interaction. Sexual abuse may involve groping, kissing, speaking in undesirable, sexual ways, showing pornography, and flashing oneself. Sexual abuse and sexual assault overlap in many ways. It can also involve the use of force, rape, and blackmailing for sexual favors.
- Emotional abuse: Members of the clergy can emotionally abuse members of their congregation. As spiritual mentors, victims are vulnerable to clergy who misuse their powers of authority. Emotional abuse comes in many forms, such as bullying, harassment, and humiliation.
- Child abuse: Experts say some predators choose positions of power, like teaching and priesthood, to have better access to juveniles. There are many children in church settings. It is child abuse whenever a person under age 18 is abused.
There are many ways clergy can harm members of their church. That is why it is imperative that they take their roles seriously and that people hold them accountable when they do not. Often, abuse cases never get reported.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Oxnard, call (800) 794-0444
Who Commits Acts of Clergy Sexual Abuse
The Catholic Church has a complicated history with cases of sexual abuse. There are many documented cases where the church removed a priest only to restate him elsewhere to harm even more victims. There are other clergy ranks within Catholicism, such as cardinals and bishops, and instances of sexual abuse involving these positions.
Beyond Catholicism, there are other religious organizations, Christian and otherwise, that have leaders. These leaders have the potential to abuse their power in the same way. Regardless of religion, sexual abuse is never OK. Perpetrators should be brought to justice for their actions, whether they are priests, rabbis, or ministers. An Oxnard clergy abuse lawyer can help fight for your justice. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to review your legal options during a free case evaluation.
The prevalence of clergy sexual abuse is challenging to study, as most cases are not criminally prosecuted. However, the organization Bishop Accountability attempts to compile the data. It currently states that 6,721 priests and personnel have faced accusations of sexual abuse. Bishop Accountability believes there are more than 100,000 cases of clergy sexual abuse involving children since 1950.
Victims often do not report their abuse for a multitude of reasons. Even if a victim came forward to a trusted adult, it still does not mean the adult handled the information correctly. As stated earlier, there have been cases where the church decided to reappoint a clergy member to another parish instead of adequately reporting the crime and removing them from their position.
Often, adults will come forward later in life about sexual abuse in their childhood or younger years. We see many cases brought to light in the media, which may help protect future generations. Abusers will become aware of the public and personal consequences and may choose not to commit their crimes. Each case brought forward helps the momentum of the public discourse of sexual abuse in churches.
Oxnard Clergy Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
California residents have more time now to file civil claims against their abusers. The new law is the Child Victims Act, which became effective on January 1, 2020. This law changed the maximum age at which someone may claim sexual assault in childhood from age 26 to age 40. Speak with your lawyer to determine if this law applies to your situation.
Statute of Limitations
The time limit to file your claim is complicated and depends on several factors. While you do not have unlimited time to file, you still might be able to bring a claim that happened to you in childhood. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can confirm if you are within the state’s statute of limitations. The closer to an incident, the better, so do not hesitate to call us. We do not shy away from complicated cases.
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The Value of Your Case
If you are considering filing a case against a clergy member or an organization, you may wonder what your case is worth. Your case’s monetary value depends on many factors, such as the age you were during the sexual abuse and the extent and type of abuse. To discuss the value of your sexual abuse case, you can speak to an attorney who can help you calculate your damages and losses accurately. You might recover more damages if an institution failed to protect you from abuse.
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Know Your Rights
Sexual abuse has an immeasurable negative impact on a victim’s life. Their self-esteem, trust in others, and faith may feel broken for a long time. Some laws protect you from sexual abuse. To find out how to bring a sexual predator to justice, set up a consultation with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today. If a clergy member from any religion abused you or your child, we could advise you on how an Oxnard clergy abuse lawyer may be able to help you. Call (800) 219-9622 today.