Recent news shows that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation opened a full investigation into Kansas’s Catholic dioceses nearly two years ago and has already received over 205 reports of clergy sexual abuse resulting in the opening of 120 cases. This is unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to clergy sexual abuse throughout the country.
The Insurance Journal reports that the largest insurance companies providing coverage to the greatest number of Protestant churches throughout the United States receive hundreds of allegations of clergy sexual abuse every year. If you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 for a private consultation and learn how a Kansas clergy sexual abuse lawyer can work with you to receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Steps to Follow as a Clergy Sexual Abuse Victim
You have the right to justice and possible compensation for the abuse that occurred against you by a member of the clergy. Consider the following steps in order to preserve your legal rights with the understanding that if you have not followed these steps, you still have the legal right to pursue justice for your clergy sexual abuse.
- Do not make direct contact with the religious institution where the abuse occurred
- Do not make direct contact with the individual that perpetrated the clergy sexual abuse
- Seek medical attention if you have not already done so regarding any physical injuries you may have suffered as a result of the clergy sexual abuse
- Seek psychological counseling if you have not already done so regarding any emotional trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, or psychological stress you endured as a result of the clergy sexual abuse
- Try to keep a journal or keep notes regarding what you remember regarding the incident or incidents of clergy sexual abuse
- Keep any personal items, text messages, emails, letters or any other documentation that could possibly have an impact on your case
How a Court Can Help Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse
In many cases, the internal audits done by religious institutions have not adequately addressed and corrected decades of abuse. Allowing a system where faith-based institutions have the ability to simply self-regulate often results in cover-ups and the tolerance of abusers.
If a victim has enough courage and bravery to step forward with respect to their clergy sexual abuse, a court can help provide an environment in which they receive justice. The following shows how a court of law provides a better opportunity for victims of clergy sexual abuse to receive justice and compensation for their injuries and abuse.
Clergy sexual abuse cases inherently require a discovery process in which both parties have the legal right to obtain records from the opposing party. In the case of clergy sexual abuse, victims have the legal right to look at the following from a religious institution:
- Interrogatories. The ability of a victim to write specific questions that will receive answers from either the church institution, those who assisted or ignored the abuse, and from the abuser themselves.
- Depositions. A deposition allows a victim (or the victim’s clergy sexual abuse lawyer) to ask questions in person of any witness they desire with respect to the case. It remains important to understand that a victim does not need to attend these depositions if they wish to avoid any confrontation with their abuser. The party that answers questions will do so under oath and their responses recorded and preserved in the case.
- Production of Documents. Along with answering questions in writing and in person, the victim has the right to request the production of documents from the clergy member or the religious institution regarding the clergy sexual abuse claim.
- Requests for Admission. This process requires that the other side of the case confirm, under oath, that the documents are legitimate, or that their statements are true.
As a result of this discovery process, victims create a solid foundation upon which to build a clergy sexual abuse claim. If you suffered any kind of clergy sexual abuse, and have questions regarding how you have the legal right to seek justice, contact our compassionate legal team for a free and confidential discussion regarding your case. Learn how a Kansas clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help answer your questions and explain your legal rights.
Kansas Deadlines to File a Clergy Sexual Abuse Claim
According to Child USA, the state of Kansas has a statute of limitations to bring a civil case regarding sexual abuse at 21 years of age (age of majority 18, plus an additional 3 years). Additionally, under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5107, there is no statute of limitations deadline to bring a felony rape or aggravated sodomy case in the state of Kansas, and a victim has until the age of 28 to bring a charge for other sexually violent crimes. This same statute provides that victims of misdemeanors related to sexual abuse may bring a sexual abuse charge against a clergy member up to 5 years following the crime.
A Kansas Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
Those victims who suffer sexual abuse from a trusted member of their clergy often have a lifetime struggle with depression, anxiety, isolation, and guilt. In many cases, maladaptive coping mechanisms related to sexual abuse results in drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, and even suicide.
If you suffered abuse at the hands of a clergy member you trusted, talk with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to find out how we can help you ensure your legal rights remain protected.