Children who grow up in the Roman Catholic Church are taught to revere members of the clergy. Priests are supposed to be trusted adults, there to offer spiritual guidance. For many, it would seem unthinkable that such a respected authority figure could prey on and victimize children.
Sadly, this is the case for thousands of survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members. As adults, these victims are finding their voices and using them to make sure the church and the abusers it harbored are held responsible for the harm they caused.
Huge numbers of victims have continued to come forward since allegations of sexual abuse and cover-ups started coming to light in 2002. In Tennessee, the Diocese of Nashville has published the names of 13 priests accused of sexual abuse. The priests were ordained between 1949 and 1978, according to Tennessean. In the past, the diocese has removed priests accused of sexual abuse, but has not made allegations public.
Sexual abuse may include molestation, exposure to pornography, rape, taking inappropriate photographs, or any other unwanted sexual contact. If you were sexually abused by a priest or other clergy member, consider reaching out to a Tennessee clergy sexual abuse lawyer.
The injuries child sexual abuse victims suffer can impact the rest of their lives. You deserve compensation for what you have endured and the way it has affected your life. Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to discuss how our team can help you stand up for justice.
New Laws Give Survivors More Time to Seek Justice
Tennessee is following the lead of many other states in allowing victims of child sexual abuse more time to come forward and take action against their abusers.
These changes reflect a growing understanding of why victims of child sexual abuse may not come forward for years or even decades. According to Psychology Today, some victims may not remember their abuse until something triggers their memories. This is because victims often using coping mechanisms like denial, dissociation, or repression to protect themselves from the trauma they have experienced.
Children who are harmed by an adult who is close to them may be confused about what is happening. They may not recognize what they experience as abuse until they are adults. Victims may not report sexual abuse because they feel guilty, fearful, or ashamed. When the abuser is someone the child trusts and cares for, like a priest, they might feel a need to protect them.
Regardless of a victim’s reasons for not speaking out, the changes to the law are giving victims a new opportunity to make their voices heard. These laws will allow many victims previously barred from taking civil action the opportunity to pursue justice. If you are ready to tell your story, reach out to a Tennessee clergy sexual abuse lawyer.
The Lasting Harms of Child Sexual Abuse
The damage caused by child sexual abuse does not end when the abuse stops. Children who are victimized often have physical, emotional, and financial struggles throughout their adulthood.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found that victims of child sexual abuse commonly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and a distorted sense of self. Victims often have difficulty in relationships, both sexual and non-sexual. Many victims struggle with substance abuse, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and suicidal thoughts.
Monetary compensation will never remove the harm you have suffered, but it can help you on your journey to healing. You may be able to win a settlement to help with your medical care, both physical and mental. You can also be compensated for the years of suffering your abuse may have wrought. A guilty verdict against the church and/or your abuser may provide closure, as well as potentially help to prevent future abuse.
Though abuses in the Catholic church have been in the spotlight, that does not mean it is the only religion where these crimes have occurred. Nor is sexual abuse by clergy members limited to child victims. If you have been abused by a clergy member from any denomination, at any time, a Tennessee clergy sexual abuse lawyer may be able to assist you with your case.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 219-9622
Finding Legal Help
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has been in practice for more than 35 years. During that time, we have helped thousands of clients achieve a successful verdict. We partner with attorneys from around the country to give your case the personal attention it deserves.
We understand that cases of sexual abuse require sensitivity. You want to know that your case will be handled with care, and you want to know you are working with a lawyer who will be by your side. A Tennessee clergy sexual abuse lawyer will work hard to make you feel comfortable and handle your case with compassion and professionalism.
If you are ready to speak with a member of our team, reach out for a no-cost consultation. Call the offices of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622.