Thousands of people become victims of sexual abuse or assault every year. It is also among the most underreported crimes because of the stigma victims might experience. Apart from their physical injuries, most sexual abuse victims suffer from long-lasting psychological and emotional trauma. It usually takes years for victims to recover, and for children, they might have an even longer healing period.
Sexual offenders often have one thing in common—they hold a position of authority and trust, such as priests, deacons, and other church officials. The John Jay Report outlined the prevalence of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. Over the years, reports of sexual abuse by clergy members have flooded into public attention, yet many victims have not come forward.
If you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and don’t know where to turn, you can talk to a North Dakota clergy sexual abuse lawyer for advice. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with a team member and gain a better understanding of your legal options for pursuing relief from those liable.
Sex Offenders Have a Civil Liability
When convicted on criminal charges, sexual abusers receive punishment such as prison time and hefty fines, but that offers no compensation for their victims. Fortunately, many states, including North Dakota, allow victims to seek monetary compensation from their abusers. They can file a civil case to recover damages from liable parties.
Abusers should have to pay financially for their crimes, and members of the clergy are no exception. They should have to make their victims whole again through monetary payouts to recover from what they have experienced. During this time, you might find it beneficial to work with a North Dakota clergy sexual abuse lawyer. As the one pursuing recovery, you must establish their liability for their abuse.
You will base your pursuit of a personal injury claim on intentional wrongs—the other party acted purposefully to harm you by sexually assaulting you. It is different from legal theories of negligence and strict liability, where injuries resulted from accidents. If the abuser intentionally hurt you even once, you could seek compensation for what they did.
Sexual Abuse Victims Deserve Compensation
Beyond broken bones, wounds, and bruises, sexual abuse results in long-term psychological injuries and emotional distress. Most abused victims require intensive therapy and counseling to overcome the pain, shame, guilt, anxiety, fear, and other negative emotions stemming from their experience.
Sometimes, it takes years and numerous sessions to relieve their suffering, making treatments expensive in the long run. Adequate compensation would cover these abuse-related medical expenses, including hospitalization, procedures, therapies, and future treatments.
Besides medical treatment for injuries, you can also recover damages such as lost earnings, future economic losses, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Since sex-related crimes cause significant trauma to their victims, you could also receive compensation for pain and suffering.
A North Dakota clergy sexual abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm could help you calculate the full extent of your damages. To get started, call us today for your free case review.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
States have different statutes of limitations for every civil case. These time limits prevent others from exploiting the law for their gain with stale claims. It can also become a source of confusion, mainly for those who do not understand the law. If you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the clergy member who sexually abused you and their religious organization, you could consult a North Dakota clergy sexual abuse lawyer to understand what statutes apply to your case.
N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-25.1 applies to adults who suffered sexual abuse when they were children. Victims have 10 years from when they “knew or reasonably should have known that a potential claim exists resulting from alleged childhood sexual abuse” to file a lawsuit.
In many sexual abuse cases, the statute of limitations can prove a primary obstacle to the abused. Once the deadline has elapsed, victims can no longer initiate an injury claim against their perpetrators, unless other circumstances apply.
Consider a Class Action Lawsuit
Many sexual abuse victims remain unwilling to recount what they had experienced when someone they trusted—like a priest, pastor, or rabbi—hurt them. So, when they finally tell their story, it can become a painful experience for them. They could alleviate some of the trauma by connecting with others who suffered a similar plight.
In many clergy sexual abuse cases, victims of the same perpetrator might file a class action lawsuit instead of pursuing individual claims. This legal recourse strengthens every individual’s accusation against the perpetrator by demonstrating the severity of the abuser’s misconduct.
If you decide on this legal route, you might want to work with a legal team well-versed in class action and sexual abuse suits. They can gather relevant evidence, such as written statements, medical records, and police reports, to build a case against the abuser and any organization that aided their criminal acts.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
Even when sexual predators receive punishment with prison time, their victims often continue to suffer. One way to help victims and possibly bring closure to their ordeal could come from receiving compensation for their pain and suffering.
If you or your loved one experienced abuse and suffered injuries, you might want to work with a legal professional during this challenging time. You could consult a North Dakota clergy sexual abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Our team can help you through this difficult process by investigating and gathering information to demonstrate the abuser’s liability. To get started, call (800) 219-9622 today for your free case review.