Many people immediately think of the Catholic Church when they hear of clergy sexual abuse. However, the Catholic Church is not the only faith-based institution or religious organization in which victims suffered at the hands of clergy members that held a position of trust or authority. In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutherans, Methodists, Southern Baptists, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam all have claims against them from members that suffered abuse from clergy members.
If you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of revisiting your sexual abuse. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 for a private consultation and learn how a Kentucky clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help you receive the justice you deserve.
Warning Signs of Clergy Sexual Abuse in Minors
If you are a parent, one of the most horrific scenarios imaginable is that someone would ever abuse or harm your child. In the cases of clergy sexual abuse, parents often feel guilt regarding the fact that they left their child alone with a person who commanded a position of authority and trust, and used that to manipulate and harm a child.
If you remain unsure if your child suffered any type of clergy sexual abuse, consider visiting with a mental health professional or psychiatrist as well as a medical doctor. Some of the warning signs of clergy sexual abuse in minors include:
- Sexually transmitted infection or disease
- Physical trauma in the genital area, including bruising or lacerations
- Mistrust or fear of authority figures
- Fear of remaining alone anywhere for any length of time
- Fear of going to the place of worship where the sexual abuse may have occurred
- Confusion or anger towards religion or faith
- Sexual behavior at a young age
- Discussions and obsessions with sexual issues and concepts that seem too advanced for their age
These are not the only warning signs of clergy sexual abuse in a minor, and some children may not exhibit any symptoms. However, as a parent, if you feel that your child’s behavior is markedly out of character, remember, you know your child best. It always remains important that you talk to them and seek the physical and emotional help they need.
Kentucky Sexual Abuse Laws
In 2017, the state of Kentucky finally extended the deadline to file a claim against an abuser to 28 (age of majority 18, plus 10 additional years), or 10 years following the conviction of the clergy sexual abuse defendant for child sexual abuse or assault. It is important to note that the statute of limitations clock in the state of Kentucky stops when a sexual abuse perpetrator leaves the state, attempts to conceal him or herself, or attempts to obstruct the case in any way.
Additionally, under Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 500.050(1), any felony criminal charge related to a sexual crime has no statute of limitations deadline. Also, a victim of any misdemeanor criminal charge related to a sexual crime of a minor must file their criminal charge by the age of 23. If you believe your minor child suffered sexual abuse from a clergy member, or if you, yourself suffered abuse at the hands of a clergy member, a Kentucky clergy sexual abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can protect your rights.
How Clergy Sexual Abuse Victims Receive Justice
If you or your child suffered abuse from a clergy member in a position of trust and authority, there is no amount of compensation that could ever completely heal that trauma and tragedy. However, because there is no way for a court to remove the experience, the result is that the legal system attempts to compensate a victim for their economic and non-economic damages. Also, in some cases, the court provides injunctive relief to attempt to prevent the same types of abuse from occurring in the future. Some of the ways in which a sexual abuse victim of a clergy member may receive justice and compensation includes:
Economic damages refers to actual attributable costs that occurred as a result of the clergy sexual abuse. For example, if there was any physical harm, the victim may have medical costs, surgeries, hospitalizations, physical therapy, psychological counseling, or other medical bills. Additionally, if a person that suffers clergy sexual abuse remains unable to work, or they need to take off of work in order to care for their child suffering from the aftermath of clergy sexual abuse, they may have the ability to file a claim to include lost wages and potential loss of future wages as well.
While non-economic damages are often more challenging to quantify in financial terms, courts will often offer compensation for pain and suffering, psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, the inability to enjoy life, the inability to form and maintain healthy relationships, and more.
In some cases, a court will have guidelines to follow regarding statutory damages and compensation they must provide to a victim of sexual abuse.
Coming forward with a clergy sexual abuse case can cause victims additional distress and anxiety. However, in many cases, sexual abuse victims make the brave decision to do so due to the fact that a court may provide injunctive relief. This is when a court orders the clergy member or the religious institution to create a plan to ensure that this type of clergy sexual abuse never occurs to another victim in the future.
A Kentucky Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
You likely have many questions regarding your legal rights if you or your child suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member. The Kentucky clergy sexual abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can answer your questions and ensure your legal rights remain protected throughout the process. Call for your free case review today at (800) 219-9622.