The abuse of minors is a serious offense. When abuse is perpetrated by a member of the clergy, it can be very hard for the parents or guardians of the victim—and the victim themself—to come to terms with the reality of the situation.
Priests and spiritual leaders hold a special place of privilege, respect, and even power in the community, but they are sometimes guilty of taking advantage of the pedestal that they are placed on.
Clergy abuse is often thought of as somehow linked to the Catholic Church, but it is an unfortunate reality that goes beyond denomination and institution. It can affect anyone from any walk of life and all too often goes unreported and unpursued.
If you or someone you know or love was abused by a member of the clergy, there are people who can help. Contact the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to see how an Arkansas Clergy abuse lawyer can help you by calling (800) 219-9622.
Abuse and the Church
Abuse within the ranks of the church has gone on for a very long time. The social stigma and mental trauma faced by the victims of the abuse made it difficult for them to seek help or reparations of any sort from anyone.
However, when looked at from a legal standpoint, it can often be proven that a church or the members of a religious institution knew about certain acts or instances of abuse and let them continue without consequences.
If you suffered clergy abuse, you are not alone. Churches and many other religious institutions spent the better part of the last several decades protecting predators from within their ranks by refusing to divulge the details of the abuse to the wider public. However, with the sharp and alarming rise in reported cases of abuse, change has long been overdue.
The official website of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has a list of clergy that sexually abused minors, and who have credible accusations against them. There are 27 clergy members on that list. However, child abuse, and sexual abuse, specifically, goes underreported, according to Mayo Clinic. A study from 2011 showed that 10% of the child abuse and neglect victims reported to the Children’s Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services were sexually abused, and most were under 12 years old.
Compensation for Clergy Abuse
Arkansas Code § 12-18-103 provides clear definitions of child abuse. There is no amount of compensation that can undo the trauma, loss of innocence, stigma, and emotional scarring that abuse of any type can render on a victim.
However, seeking compensation can help you to cover the financial cost of any hardships you have faced in the past, including the inability to work, medical bills, and therapy costs. You can also seek non-economic damages for your emotional suffering.
Again, no monetary payout is worth the damages an abuse victim suffers, but compensation can help, and you may be entitled to awards to compensate you or pay for all of the following:
- Mental and emotional therapy or counseling.
- Medications and prescriptions.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Compensation for your inability to work.
- Punitive damages against the clergy member(s) who abused you.
There are many other forms of compensation you might be able to recover from a sexual abuse lawsuit against a clergy member. An Arkansas clergy abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you with specifics that pertain to your case and can evaluate your damages to give you a better idea of what you could be entitled to.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations of any case is the official deadline by when a victim or a representative of a victim must press charges or file a suit against the individual or the party whom they deem responsible for their damages. In the past, many states set statutes of limitations, which prevented child victims from filing lawsuits when they were older.
However, due to the public outcry seen in the wake of so many abuse cases being uncovered, some states have revised their statutes to give survivors and victims of child abuse more time to bring a claim forward. In New York, for example, the limit is by the time the victim reaches their 55th birthday, and for one year, they allowed victims to file lawsuits no matter when the abuse happened.
There are various statutes of limitations for Arkansas, which be found in Arkansas Code § 5-1-109, but for child sexual abuse, there are no filing limits.
Filing a Clergy Abuse Suit
If you were a victim of child sexual abuse by clergy, and are ready to step forward and hold them accountable for their actions, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wants to help you. We understand the difficulty of doing so after all that you endured ever since first being abused.
An Arkansas clergy abuse lawyer can evaluate your case free of charge and will discreetly and privately discuss with you everything you need to know about what kinds of evidence clergy abuse cases require, what your filing timelines are, the kinds of compensation these cases typically involve, and the important next steps you must take if we are to bring your abusers to justice and extract whatever awards the law may entitle you to.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we do not take a fee up front or out of pocket. We only take our payment when we win your case for you, so please call the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622.