Sexual abuse is not something that everyone is willing to talk about. In many situations, the victims themselves are reluctant to report the abuse, particularly when the offenders are people they know well or in a position of power. Sadly, sexual abuse can cause not only physical harm but emotional damage as well. It is not uncommon for survivors to face inner turmoil when dealing with feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, shame, and depression. Thus, it is understandable when abuse victims are hesitant to talk about what they have been through.
However, holding offenders accountable for their inappropriate actions is critical to move forward and begin the healing process. If you or your loved one is ready to take legal action, an Ohio clergy sexual abuse lawyer can offer advice. Seeking compensation for your suffering may not be enough to erase painful memories, but it is one way to attain justice and prevent future abuse. Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to set up your free consultation.
Legal Options for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Any non-consensual or unwanted sexual activity can be considered sexual abuse. It follows that engaging in sexual conduct with a child is unlawful since children cannot consent legally to sex. Unfortunately, minors can easily fall prey to sexual abuse because they find it difficult to resist the advances of individuals in positions of authority. They are often easily frightened and tend to keep unpleasant experiences to themselves. Clergy members are among those who have taken advantage of children’s vulnerability and other people under their charge.
In some instances, survivors of abuse cannot talk about the traumatic episodes until years later. Victims deal with distressing situations in their ways, but they must realize that it is not their fault. If you or someone you care about endured clergy abuse, you may have the right to pursue justice using criminal or civil proceedings. Whether or not there were criminal charges against the abuser, it is still possible to file a civil action. This enables you to hold everyone who was involved in your abuse liable for damages.
Civil Cause of Action for Sexual Abuse Cases in Ohio
Under Section 2305.111(C) of the Ohio Revised Code, a civil cause of action can arise from sexual abuse incidents involving children and minors. Even if the court does not find the abuser guilty of a criminal offense, you may still file a civil claim. Sexual conduct against a minor is already grounds for a civil action for sexual abuse. Be aware that the law also views sexual battery and sexual assault as abusive conduct. To make certain that you have the basis for a civil suit, you should consider working with an Ohio clergy sexual abuse lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
Ohio allows children and minors who were victims of clergy sexual abuse to file a civil action until they reach 30 years of age. This is because often, abused minors are unable to face the issue until they are older. Like many other states, Ohio recognizes that this can hinder victims’ access to justice. Therefore, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse is much longer than for other civil actions. In certain cases, like when there is fraudulent concealment of facts, the legal deadline can be even longer.
Remember that speaking up about your abuse allows you to stand up for your rights and fight for institutional improvements that will hopefully prevent others from going through what you did. An Ohio clergy sexual abuse lawyer can help you establish liability and decide on the best course of action to take.
Available Compensation for Sexual Abuse Victims
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse often undergo devastating behavioral changes that can last a lifetime. These can include suicidal tendencies, depression, self-harm, low self-esteem, sleep disorders, and substance abuse. Financial compensation may not do much in healing wounds of abuse, but it allows victims to pay for present and future treatment that facilitate recovery.
Some common examples of compensation that victims can obtain in a civil action for sexual abuse include the following:
- Medical and therapy expenses
- Mental health counseling costs
- Pain and suffering
- Impaired personal relationships
- Lost wages
- Punitive damages
Remember that every case is different, and money damages available to you may not be available to others and vice versa. An Ohio clergy sexual abuse lawyer can give you a hand in identifying which financial compensation applies to your situation.
Your Lawyer Will Be There to Support Your Decisions
Taking legal action is a serious and personal decision for survivors of sexual abuse. A certain degree of commitment and resolution goes with filing a suit, and most cases are highly emotional. When you hire an attorney, it does not necessarily mean that you have to take legal steps right away. You must be mentally and emotionally prepared to confront your abuse and abuser. An Ohio clergy sexual abuse lawyer can offer legal guidance and advice as you consider pursuing justice and damages.
If you wish to move forward with your suit, your attorney will work with you to gather evidence that can support your potential claim. Generally, your options depend on your case’s circumstances, and your legal counsel will explain any complication you might encounter and who may share legal liability. Expect to hear a reasonable assessment of damages and an outline of legal steps you need to take.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Stands with You
When you turn to us, we first listen to your abuse story and how it has impacted your life. You can count on our firm to place your needs above everything else and give you the power to be in charge of your life once again. We know the decision to seek legal remedy is never easy, so our Ohio clergy sexual abuse lawyer is committed to protecting your rights and determining if you have a viable claim once you make an appointment.
Call our office today at (800) 219-9622 for a free case evaluation or tell us how else we can assist.