If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse at the hands of priests, rabbis, pastors, and other religious workers, do not be afraid to speak up. You do not have to suffer in silence while dealing with your physical, emotional, and mental trauma from being abused by someone you trusted.
Any religious official or worker who sexually abuses their victims can be charged with sexual assault or other sex abuse crimes by their victims. With the help of our reliable and compassionate Oklahoma clergy sexual abuse lawyers, you can hold your abusers accountable for civil damages and recover fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm by calling (800) 219-9622 to discuss how we can help you hold your abuser accountable in criminal and civil court.
Forms of Sex Abuse by Clergy
Sexual violence by clergy is a broad term that refers to any form of sexual contact made by a religious worker without the recipient’s consent. If the victim is a minor, they can still file a sexual abuse claim as any sexual contact made upon them is classified as sexual violence.
The following are some types of sexual abuse by clergy that lead to court claims and personal injury compensation.
- Child Molestation: A religious worker who commits sexual acts on a child under 16 can be charged with child molestation. The perpetrator must be older than the victim by three years.
- Statutory Rape: Any sexual act on a child who is 14 years or below by the defendant who is older than 18 at the time of the sexual act is statutory rape.
- Unwanted Touching: This includes, but is not limited to, flirtatious slap on the behind, mauling or feeling of the body, and unwanted kissing and fondling.
- Lewd or Lascivious Conduct: Any act made in the presence of a minor for sexual gratification, such as ejaculating, urinating, or looking at the child’s naked body, is considered sex crimes.
- Indecent Exposure: Presenting one’s naked body to the child for sexual gratification, or doing it to an adult without consent, is considered a sex crime.
- Sexual Threats or Harassment: It includes lewd or lascivious comments or threats by telephone, email, or other electronic communication to put someone in fear of physical harm or death.
- Sexual assault or Battery: It occurs when a person touches, mauls, or feels the body or private parts of anyone who is 16 years old or older without their consent and in a lewd or lascivious manner.
New state laws are starting to increase restrictions in attempts to reduce sexual crime. According to the Oklahoma Senate, new laws require any registered sex offender residing with a minor to report it to the Department of Human Services, for example.
What You Should Do if You Suspect Sex Abuse in Oklahoma
When you or someone you love is a victim of sexual abuse by clergy or a religious worker, immediately take steps to stop the abuse.
Start by removing yourself or your loved one from the situation where the abuse happens. If you notice that a minor refuses to go to church or social gatherings where the perpetrator is present, do not allow them to go there anymore. The abuse cycle may continue, and the perpetrator may threaten or manipulate the child to prevent them from telling anyone.
Next, call your local police department. Bring your concerns to their attention. Once you make a report, the police can begin a criminal investigation. It is not wise to confront the abuser because they may deny your claims or get angry that you suspect them. Perpetrators of sexual abuse use these tactics to avoid liability.
Damages in Clergy Sex Abuse
Sexual abuse carries criminal penalties, but the perpetrator can also be held liable for civil damages or monetary compensation.
With lawyer’s help, you can recover full and fair compensation for the following:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Being sexually assaulted can significantly impact your mental health, according to the Office of Women’s Health. People who have been assaulted may suffer subsequent changes in their thoughts or behavior, which can interfere with their ability to function daily effectively. They may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as nightmares or intrusive thoughts, feeling that they are always in danger, and they may distrust other people.
- Depression: Victims of sexual assault may also show signs of a mood disorder such as sadness and hopelessness that continue for long periods.
- Other Mental Disorders: Sexual assault victims may suffer from anxiety disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Others may suffer from frequent flashbacks and other psychological issues that make it difficult for them to hold employment.
We Are Here to Represent You
If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse in the clergy or any religious worker’s hands, you could talk to us anytime. We can help you explore your legal options and help you on your road towards healing and recovery.
We at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm value your privacy and take all measures to ensure your safety. Call us at (800) 219-9622 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.