Recent news reports about the sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy have put the spotlight on a widespread problem. People who violate the trust that others have placed in them and commit abuse can cause permanent harm to victims and their families.
Sexual abuse can have profound consequences in every aspect of a victim’s life. Survivors of sexual abuse, no matter their age, often experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other damaging psychological effects. Victims may feel betrayed by their abuser and may find it difficult to trust others, which can leave them feeling isolated. Survivors may struggle with substance abuse and may consider committing suicide.
In some cases, sexual abuse involves the use of force. Victims may need to receive treatment in a hospital for injuries sustained in an assault. They may also experience other physical effects, such as sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
Survivors of sexual abuse often suffer financially as well. Costs for mental health treatment and for healthcare-related to physical harm caused by the abuse can easily total tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, the psychological trauma often affects survivors’ ability to pursue an education and hold a job. All these factors may cause victims of sexual abuse to struggle financially.
If you experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a religious figure in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to financial compensation. A Massachusetts clergy sexual abuse lawyer may be able to help you. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm represents victims of abuse across the United States. We may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Call us today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with a member of our staff.
Defining Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse can take many forms, including intercourse and non-consensual touching. An abuser may touch a victim in a sexual way without consent, or a victim may be forced to touch the abuser. A perpetrator may also force the victim to perform or participate in sexual acts or to watch others engaging in sexual acts. An abuser may take photos or videos of the victim in a state of undress or engaging in sexual acts. In some cases, an abuser may share those photos or videos with others.
Reviewing Your Legal Options
You may be able to file a lawsuit against the person who abused you when you were a child. Massachusetts General Law (MGL) C. 260 § 4C states that a victim of sexual abuse must file a lawsuit against the defendant within 35 years of the act or within 7 years of the date on which the victim discovered the emotional injury stemming from the abuse, or should have reasonably discovered it, whichever comes later. However, the time limit is always tolled until the child turns 18.
Under some circumstances, you may also be able to take legal action against the religious institution that employed the abuser. According to MGL C 260 §4C1/2, the same statute of limitations applies when filing a lawsuit against a defendant alleged to have negligently supervised the person who sexually abused the minor, or a defendant whose conducted contributed to the sexual abuse.
MGL C. 260 §2A applies to most other personal injury cases. If you were an adult at the time of the sexual abuse, you will have three years to file a lawsuit.
How a Massachusetts Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Assist You
Our team can investigate the circumstances surrounding your case and gather evidence to bolster your claim.
We can interview you and other people who may have witnessed your abuse or who may be able to provide other forms of evidence to support your allegation. For example, friends or family members may remember conversations they had with you around the time of the abuse or may have noticed something about your relationship with the abuser that did not sit right. They may have realized that your relationship with the abuser changed suddenly but may not have been able to figure out why. Those observations, in hindsight, may support your allegations of abuse.
We may be able to file a lawsuit against the person who abused you, and possibly also against the religious institution, school, or group that employed the abuser. If the organization failed to adequately supervise the perpetrator and allowed the abuse to occur, we may also be able to sue that organization to bring justice to you. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to speak with a member of our staff about your case.
Seek Legal Help as Soon as Possible
Sexual abuse can have devastating consequences, but you are not alone in the fight. A Massachusetts clergy sexual abuse lawyer may be able to help. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand the far-reaching effects of sexual abuse and are dedicated to helping victims seek justice. We are not afraid to stand up against powerful individuals and religious institutions on behalf of victims.
Do not let concerns about legal fees prevent you from pursuing justice. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm operates on a contingency basis. We do not charge clients any money upfront. We cover litigation costs ourselves and only get paid if we obtain a settlement on behalf of a client.
Even if you have plenty of time left before the statute of limitations expires, it may be to your advantage to connect with an attorney as soon as possible. The more time passes, the more difficult it may be to gather evidence. Documents may be lost or destroyed, and witnesses may forget events and conversations, or they may move away, become incapacitated, or die. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 so we can get to work on your case as quickly as possible.