Sexual abuse by a clergy member against a minor or another congregant results in the infliction of emotional distress, physical harm, and spiritual wounds. Many survivors of clergy sexual abuse suffer as a result of their experience throughout their lifetime and have challenges both psychologically and emotionally. As a result, many victims have difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with others, suffer from anxiety and depression, and often succumb to self-harm or even suicide.
However, the legal options available to victims of clergy sexual abuse continue to grow, and many of those that suffered at the hands of clergy members now have the ability to hold their abusers accountable for their actions. If you suffered sexual abuse by a clergy member, consider contacting our compassionate legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622. There will be a private and confidential consultation to learn how an Iowa clergy sexual abuse lawyer can work with you to receive the justice you deserve.
Lifetime Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse on Victims
The devastation caused by clergy sexual abuse can be in any way overstated. Unfortunately, in many cases, clergy sexual abuse of a minor or of a congregant can cause permanent and life-long challenges for the victim. Some victims suffer from extreme depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
As a result, they often suffer from sleeping disorders, drug and alcohol addiction problems in an attempt to numb the pain, destructive behaviors, self-harm, and even suicide. Minor children that are victims of clergy sexual abuse often become sexual too early, leading to additional psychological and physical harm. Many victims fail to have the ability to create, develop, and maintain meaningful and healthy relationships in their lives.
Seeking Legal Recourse for Clergy Sexual Abuse
Making the decision to expose a secret hidden for years can take a substantial amount of emotional strength. In many cases, victims of clergy sexual abuse seek comfort and support in mental health counselors and a strong support system. When a victim feels emotionally strong enough to do so, they consider the following steps to seek justice and legal recourse for their abuse.
Visiting with an Iowa Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer
It is important to note that hiring a lawyer to represent you in a clergy sexual abuse claim is not a requirement under the law. You have a legal right to represent yourself in any type of legal matter. When a victim does make the difficult decision to come forward regarding past clergy sexual abuse, they often visit with a clergy sexual abuse lawyer to help them understand their legal rights.
This visit is always strictly confidential and the victim will retain all of their privacy rights unless and until they make the decision to move forward with their clergy sexual abuse claim. These meetings with a sexual abuse lawyer are typically free of charge and allow a victim to understand their legal rights and ask questions regarding the specific circumstances of their case.
Gathering Evidence for a Clergy Sexual Abuse Claim
If a victim makes the brave decision to move forward with their clergy sexual abuse claim, and they make the decision to hire legal counsel, they will need to work alongside their clergy sexual abuse lawyer in order to gather evidence regarding the sexual abuse claim. In some cases, this can prove to re-open old wounds, and having an emotional support system can dramatically help a victim during this time.
Determining a Claim
After gathering and investigating all of the evidence with respect to the sexual abuse claim, a victim may have the legal right to pursue monetary recoveries for mental health bills, psychiatric care, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to form and maintain healthy relationships, and injunctive relief. Every case of clergy sexual abuse will have different sets of facts and circumstances, and therefore the claims will also always be different. It always remains within the complete discretion of a victim of clergy sexual abuse to move forward with respect to their claim.
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The State of Iowa’s Deadline to File a Clergy Sexual Abuse Case
Every state has a different set of statutes of limitations (deadlines to file a civil case) regarding how a victim may file a clergy sexual abuse case. According to Child USA, the state of Iowa has a statute of limitations to bring a civil case regarding sexual abuse at 19 years of age (age of majority 18, plus 1 additional year). Unfortunately, the state of Iowa has not updated its civil statute of limitations deadlines since 1990, 30 years ago. As a result, if you suffered any kind of clergy sexual abuse, time is of the essence to bring your abuser to justice.
Additionally, under Iowa Code § 802.2, a victim must file criminal charges of sex abuse of a minor and incest or sexual exploitation by the age of 33, and file trafficking or other felonies and sexual offense charges by the age of 28. If you are a victim and suffered from clergy sexual abuse, learn how an Iowa clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you understand these deadlines and how they relate specifically to your case.
We Can Help You With Your Case
You have the legal right to learn how you have the ability to pursue justice regarding your clergy sexual abuse suffered years ago. In Iowa, time is of the essence regarding some of these cases, and therefore, you should consider calling Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to find out how an Iowa clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.