The emotional devastation resulting from sexual abuse by a clergy member often results in permanent physical, psychological, and spiritual wounds. Many survivors of clergy sexual abuse trauma face a lifetime of unimaginable challenges and distress.
Unfortunately, many of these victims remained shrouded in silence, unable to come forward or confused regarding how they could bring their abusers to justice. However, the brave survivors of clergy sexual abuse now have legal options available to hold both clergy members and church organizations legally responsible for their abusive behavior.
If you suffered any sexual abuse from a clergy member, learn how a Georgia clergy sexual abuse lawyer could help you receive justice. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to find out more from a team member.
More Than Just the Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church has received much of the spotlight regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors by the clergy. However, the Catholic Church is not the only faith whose clergy members have engaged in sexual abuse of children.
In June 2019, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) released a report that detailed increasing sexual abuse rates among congregants by clergy members nationwide. Additionally, the United Methodist Church (UMC) has also reported sexual misconduct by its clergy members against its church community.
According to the Insurance Journal, the three largest insurance companies that insure most U.S. Protestant churches receive over 250 reports yearly regarding the sexual abuse of minors by clergy members or other church staff, congregation members, or volunteers.
Extension of Deadlines to File Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases
As the outcry for accountability grows, many states enacted legislation that enabled those abused by clergy members to bring both civil and criminal action to receive justice and compensation for their sexual abuse. As many abuse episodes occurred decades ago, some states enacted legislation to extend the statute of limitations (deadline) by which a victim could file a legal claim against an abuser.
The psychological damage and trauma caused by the abuse often result in victims attempting to forget their abuse. When a victim does bring a case that reveals sexual abuse by a clergy member, it often revives their emotional pain and spiritual challenges. While the trauma to reopen these psychological wounds seems challenging, with states enacting legislation that “revives” the ability for victims to seek justice in both civil and criminal court, victims now see a way forward to actually receive not only justice but a resolution to their years of trauma.
Georgia Statute of Limitations
According to Georgia Code § 9-3-33.1, the statute of limitations requires that a childhood victim of clergy sexual abuse file a case by the age of 23 or within two years that they “discover” the abuse “as established by competent medical or psychological evidence.” This provision allows victims who had repressed memories of the abuse surface to pursue a case against their abuser.
If you suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member, a Georgia clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm could help you understand how to take legal action and whether the Georgia statute of limitations might impact your case. Call us today to learn more.
Legal Recourse by Clergy Sexual Abuse Victims for Justice
No amount of compensation will ever replace what you inarguably lost when a clergy member sexually abused you as a child. However, many clergy sexual abuse victims feel a desire for closure to their psychological trauma and the desire to see justice finally done. In most cases, victims also feel a strong urge to ensure that their abuse does not happen to anyone else.
Filing charges against a clergy member or church for sexual abuse can bring the issue of clergy sexual abuse to the forefront and possibly prevent future abuse of minors. Every victim of clergy sexual abuse has their reasons to pursue legal action. The types of compensation available to clergy sexual abuse victims include:
- Reimbursement for mental health therapy and counseling bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages
A court could also provide injunctive relief by ordering church organizations or clergy members to take proactive steps to prevent future sexual abuse occurrences.
Some cases of clergy sexual abuse can result in criminal charges against the clergy member or church organization. In some cases, these criminal charges extend to those people who might not have abused the victim but helped the abuser commit or hid their crimes.
It remains essential to understand that if a victim decides to assist a criminal investigation, it does not prevent them from also seeking compensatory damages for their losses through a civil case. In many cases, coordination will often occur between a criminal prosecutor and the civil legal team to ensure that the victim of clergy sexual abuse receives the maximum amount of justice possible.
Victim’s Right to Privacy
If a victim makes the difficult emotional decision to visit with a clergy sexual abuse lawyer, they will have full rights to complete privacy regarding the matter until they decide to move forward with a legal case. However, if they move forward with a civil case, they often must testify regarding the clergy’s sexual abuse. Visiting with a Georgia clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help ensure that your legal rights remain protected.
Learn How a Georgia Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help You
The bravery and courage shown by those victimized by clergy members when they resolve to seek justice are incredibly profound. If you suffered any sexual abuse from a clergy member, you have the right to seek justice for your abuse. In doing so, you could also potentially prevent your pain from happening to others.
Consider visiting with our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm by calling us today at (800) 219-9622. We can explain how a Georgia clergy sexual abuse lawyer can work with you to fight for the justice you deserve.