Children who suffer sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member often face a lifetime of challenges and struggles with unwarranted guilt, isolation, and depression. When clergy members abuse their position of trust and power against the most innocent of their congregants, the psychological and physical damage can be permanent.
If you suffered sexual abuse from a clergy member, you have the legal right to pursue justice to hold those abusers accountable for their actions. If you were a victim of clergy sexual abuse, consider how an Idaho clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help ensure you receive the justice you deserve. Call for a free consultation at (800) 219-9622.
Victims Often Have a Lifetime Struggle
Though the sexual abuse by a clergy person occurred at a young age, the aftermath of the traumatic experience often causes a lifetime of severe depression and anxiety. In turn, this can affect a person’s ability to have normal and healthy relationships with others, and other physical challenges.
Some victims struggle with severe fears, anxiety, sleeping disorders, destructive behaviors, alcohol and drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, self-harm, and suicide. Victims that experience sexual abuse may enter sexual relationships at too young of an age following the abuse. The suffering and struggles of these children often last a lifetime.
How Clergy Members “Groom” Victims
Clergy members are adults, and therefore have not only an advantage over children due to their age but also a unique position of authority and power as a representative of a spiritual organization. As a result, they have a unique ability to visit with children and act as a counselor or mentor which can be unfortunately twisted to their advantage. Sexual abuse of children often begins when a predator “grooms” their victim, essentially using their position of power to slowly wear down the inhibitions and natural defenses of a child.
Types of Sexual Abuse
It is incredibly important to note that sexual abuse does not just include the physical act of sex. There are many ways that a clergy member could use their position of trust and authority to sexually abuse a child including the following:
- Sexual threats or harassment
- Touching with or without clothing without permission
- Lewd comments or acts
- Sharing of any pornographic images or videos
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual assault or battery
If you suffered any kind of sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member, understand that if you visit with our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our Idaho clergy sexual abuse lawyers will keep your visit completely confidential and private. Our legal team can help you understand how you can receive justice for your unique situation of clergy sexual abuse.
Idaho Statute of Limitations Laws
Every state has a deadline by which a victim may file a civil claim against a clergy member for sexual abuse. According to Child USA, the civil statute of limitations in the state of Idaho requires that a victim of clergy abuse file a case by the age of 23 (age of majority 18, plus 5 years). However, under Idaho Code § 19-401(3), there is no statute of limitations (deadline to bring a criminal charge) for rape, sexual abuse of a child, or lewd conduct with a child. Other felonies involving child sexual abuse have a statute of limitations deadline of 5 years after the abuse or 3 years after the report to law enforcement, and misdemeanors have a statute of limitations deadline of one year after the offense.
Civil vs. Criminal Prosecution
Some victims of clergy sexual abuse remain confused regarding how charges occur against clergy members who perpetrated sexual abuse upon them.
- Civil Cases. Civil cases are cases in which the victim may bring a claim against a clergy member for sexual abuse in the attempt to receive compensation, statutory damages, or injunctive relief.
- Criminal Cases. Criminal cases are always prosecuted by the state, and the victim will be a part of a larger criminal case in which they may also have the responsibility to testify regarding their abuse. These are the cases in which a clergy member may receive jail time as a punishment.
Understanding How Victims Receive Justice and Legal Recourse
Many victims have no desire to simply receive compensation for their abuse, as no amount of money could ever truly compensate them for their horrific ordeals involving clergy members. However, courts attempt to provide justice to victims in many ways. This includes providing compensation for their mental health therapy and counseling, and pain and suffering they endured over the last few years or even decades. Additionally, many victims receive justice by simply filing a claim against their abuser, and attempting to see justice finally served against them.
The cathartic act of simply filing a claim against an abuser can bring an incredible amount of power back to victims who suffered sexual abuse from a person they trusted. Additionally, victims can receive possible statutory damages. This is the type of compensation that a court grants in order to effectively punish the wrongdoer and make an example out of them for future persons who would consider such illegal actions. Finally, a court may offer injunctive relief, which is particularly satisfying for victims. Injunctive relief is a court order that requires a church organization or a clergy member to participate in certain, specific steps to prevent and avoid the occurrence of this type of sexual abuse in the future.
Learn How an Idaho Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
If you suffered abuse resulting from a clergy member, you have the legal right to pursue justice against your abuser. Consider speaking with our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to find out how an Idaho clergy sexual abuse lawyer can work with you to receive the justice you deserve.