Places of religious worship should be safe spaces for practicing your beliefs. Sadly, this is not always the case. In recent years, many members of the clergy have had lawsuits filed against them for sexual abuse.
If a clergy member sexually abused you, your life likely was forever changed. While nothing can take away the pain and suffering you have experienced, you could have legal options available to pursue justice and even financial compensation.
To discuss your case with a Delaware clergy sexual abuse lawyer, call the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622. A team member will explain your options during a free, no-obligation consultation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines sexual abuse as any sexual activity without consent. Just because a victim of sexual abuse does not explicitly decline sexual activity does not mean they have given consent.
In many cases, perpetrators target vulnerable individuals for abuse. These vulnerable people can include those with physical or mental impairments, senior citizens, and minors. Children sometimes do not fully understand the concept of sexual activity, which some perpetrators exploit for nefarious reasons.
CDC research found that nearly 20 percent of all women have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime, sometimes occurring at an early age. The CDC also reported that approximately 1 in 38 men will become a sexual abuse victim during their lifetime.
Sadly, sexual abuse can even occur in a place of worship that should be a safe haven for minors. If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse related to the clergy, you could be suffering as a result of this traumatic experience.
The prevalence of clergy sexual abuse might astound you. If you suffered from clergy abuse, you indeed were not alone. According to the John Jay Report, almost 4,000 clerics—equal to four percent of all priests in ministry—faced sexual abuse accusations during the 52 years of the study. This figure does not account for the many abuse cases still unreported, meaning this already startling figure might even be significantly higher.
The Effects of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse completely devastates its victims and their families. Some of the ways in which sexual abuse could impact your life include:
- Emotional trauma: Sexual abuse, especially at an early age, can haunt victims emotionally. Victims can experience a wide range of disorders: stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, fear, and even PTSD. Any of these can impact your life permanently and affect your ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Victims of sexual abuse are also more likely to become substance abusers, which impedes the ability to lead a healthy life.
- Physical injuries: Not only is sexual abuse emotionally damaging, but you could also have experienced physical injuries from your abuse. Common injuries from sexual abuse include damage to the pelvic region, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and sexually transmitted diseases. Some victims are reluctant to see a medical professional about their injuries because of the fear or anxiety related to the nature of the abuse. Not seeing a doctor could worsen an injury and prevent effective recovery.
- Financial suffering: Experiencing the trauma of sexual abuse can impact your life financially. You could require years of ongoing therapy and medical treatment that can become a financial burden. The emotional effects of the abuse could also keep you from working and earning wages.
The effects of sexual abuse on its victims are astounding, especially when the abuse comes at the hands of a clergy member, someone you once trusted. You deserve justice for your suffering. While legal action is not for everyone, it could help bring closure to this episode while ensuring that no one in the future suffers at the hands of the perpetrator who unfairly caused you pain.
To learn more about how a Delaware clergy sexual abuse lawyer could help you take legal action as the victim of sexual abuse, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today. The initial consultation is free.
Compensation Available for Victims
The repercussions of abuse can haunt you for a lifetime, and no amount of compensation can make up for the pain you might endure. Some victims find that taking legal action helps bring them a sense of justice and closure to past trauma while easing their financial burdens. Victims of clergy sexual abuse can sometimes collect compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to physical injuries suffered from sexual abuse.
- Counseling and psychological therapy bills associated with the traumatic impact of the abuse.
- Reduced earning capacity if the trauma has affected your ability to work.
- Pain and suffering for the distress you experienced because of the abuse.
- Punitive damages to punish the clergy member, the diocese, and the religious order.
As you consider whether to file a clergy abuse lawsuit, keep in mind that Delaware Code 10 § 8145 permits sexual abuse victims to sue at any time for the heinous acts done to them. A Delaware clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help you understand your possible next steps.
Contact Us Today
Getting legal help can feel intimidating, especially if you have lived with the pain caused by abuse for a long time. The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understands the trauma that victims have experienced and stands ready to answer your questions so that you can determine the best path forward.
While filing a legal claim is not for everyone, understanding the process is essential to determine whether legal action is right for you. Pick up the phone and call (800) 219-9622, so that you can put this difficult chapter behind you and focus on the brighter future ahead. You deserve justice for the suffering inflicted upon you by a clergy member. Call today to get started.