Survivors of clergy sexual abuse often keep their secret shrouded for years due to embarrassment, shame, or the unwillingness to make their experiences public. In many cases, these victims suffer in silence, afraid that to come forward, or that doing so will never result in any actual justice for the abuse that they suffered. Clergy members have a unique duty and responsibility to protect their congregants and provide a comforting source for advice and guidance.
Clergy sexual abuse can lead to a lifetime of challenges for the victim. If you suffered any sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member, consider speaking with our compassionate legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622. An Indiana clergy sexual abuse lawyer can work with you to receive the justice you deserve.
The Catholic Church’s Role in Clergy Sexual Abuse
The Roman Catholic Church remains one of the largest abusers of congregants according to Child USA. One state alone reports more than 1,000 minor children suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priests, according to a Grand Jury Report in the case. Reports from the Holy See, the governing body of the Catholic Church in the Vatican, indicate that over 3,000 priests have pending investigations involving sexual abuse cases that occurred within the past five decades.
Other Religions’ Roles in Clergy Sexual Abuse
The Roman Catholic Church is not the only religion or faith in which clergy sexual abuse occurred. The nightmare of clergy sexual abuse against minors appears to exist in almost every single religion and faith. Recent reports from both the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church indicate that their clergy members have acted inappropriately towards minors and other congregants, rising to the level of sexual abuse.
In fact, the largest three insurance companies that have the responsibility to insure most Protestant Christian churches throughout the United States continue to receive hundreds of accounts of sexual abuse by clergy members (and other members of churches) according to the Insurance Journal. Christian faiths are not alone in experiencing clergy sexual abuse. Both Jewish clergy members and Muslim clergy members also have substantial reporting against them with respect to clergy sexual abuse of minors and other congregants.
Understanding Clergy Sexual Abuse
If a sexual abuse victim is a minor when the abuse occurs, they may not have the true understanding that what they experienced was actual sexual abuse. Unfortunately, in some cases, victims have a misunderstanding that actual sex must occur in order for the actions to be considered clergy sexual abuse.
It remains critical to emphasize that sexual abuse never needs to include the actual act of intercourse or other sexual acts. Some of the following are examples of clergy sexual abuse that can establish a foundation upon which a clergy sexual abuse claim can occur:
- Fondling or simple touching with or without clothing without consent
- Lewd or lascivious acts
- Sexual harassment or sexual threats
- Indecent exposure
Indiana Deadline to File a Clergy Sexual Abuse Case
Because many victims have waited years, or even decades, following their abuse by a clergy member to come forward, many states have taken the step to increase the deadline by which a victim may file a claim against a clergy member for their actions. These deadlines, called statutes of limitations, will allow victims several years from the date of the crime to bring their case to a court to receive justice. Every state has a different set of guidelines and statutes of limitations regarding how a victim may file a clergy sexual abuse case.
According to Child USA, the state of Indiana has a statute of limitations to bring a civil case regarding sexual abuse at 25 years of age (age of majority 18, plus 7 years). Additionally, under Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-3.5-1.3, there is no statute of limitations for human trafficking. However, under Ind. Code Ann. § 35-41-4-2(e), the age by which a sexual misconduct with a minor, child solicitation, child seduction, child molesting, or incest charge must be submitted to a court in Indiana by a victim is by age 31.
If you are a victim of clergy sexual abuse, learn how an Indiana clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you understand how these deadlines may impact your case. Call today for your free case review.
How Clergy Sexual Abuse Victims Receive Justice
There is literally no amount of compensation that would ever truly make a victim whole again after a sexual abuse experience at the hands of a trusted clergy member. However, the courts attempt to provide some semblance of justice through both economic and non-economic damages. Some of the damages that a victim of sexual abuse can receive include the following:
- Compensation for any medical bills, physical therapy, psychological counseling, or other medical costs associated with the clergy sexual abuse
- Compensation for the pain and suffering experienced as a result of the clergy sexual abuse
- Compensation for the lack of enjoyment of life, or inability to form or maintain healthy emotional relationships
In many cases, while victims appreciate the financial compensation they receive, having injunctive relief from a court means that they are a pivotal part of ensuring that this type of clergy sexual abuse never occurs again to others. This entire process can prove both comforting and cathartic to victims who make the brave decision to come forward regarding their clergy sexual abuse experiences.
How an Indiana Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help You With Your Case
You have the legal right to pursue justice regarding your clergy sexual abuse suffered years ago. Consider calling Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to find out how an Indiana clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and ensure they remain protected.