Churches exist as a way for their congregants to enhance their spiritual lives. As communities, they help people who share common beliefs and goals find purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. Leaders should do everything in their power to keep places of worship safe for individuals and families, and if they learn that any congregation member has suffered harm at the hands of the clergy or other church members, they have a responsibility to report the issue to the proper authorities and prevent further incidents to the best of their ability.
Unfortunately, not all churches maintain the safety and wellbeing of those in their congregations; many churchgoers have come forward to report the abuse that they claim some church authorities failed to report for years and even decades. In recent years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, has come under fire for an influx of allegations of sexual abuse, many of which involve clergy or others in positions of power.
If you or your child suffered sexual abuse in such a situation, a Hawaii Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial awards. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with our legal team about your case.
Sexual Assault and Its Effects on Victims
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sexual abuse as any type of unwanted sexual activity, including forced acts, threats of sexual violence, and sex between a perpetrator and an individual who cannot legally consent. Many victims know their abusers, and the abuse can occur once or over an extended period of time. Victims may feel afraid to confront or report their abuser, especially if they have a close relationship with them.
The long-term effects of sexual abuse vary, but they often involve psychological or physical pain. According to the American Counseling Association (ACA), research links childhood sexual abuse in particular with an increased risk of:
- Eating disorders
- Body issues
- Sexual problems
- Relationship problems
In addition to the emotional toll sexual abuse takes on victims, it can also introduce many medical and reproductive concerns, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Many victims of sexual abuse within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have begun to come forward with their stories in an effort to hold their abusers responsible for their despicable behavior.
Of reported cases of sexual assault within the Church, many of them involve the abuse of children. Some parents have come forward on behalf of their children, while others who suffered abuse in the Church as a child have now reported it as adults. The stories come from all over the United States, including Hawaii, where two men claim to have suffered abuse in the 1980s on a Maui pineapple farm run by the Church, according to the Christian Post.
If a clergy member or layperson in the Mormon Church sexually abused you or your child, a lawyer can help you seek financial awards in your case.
A Hawaii Mormon Church Sex Abuse Lawyer May Establish Liability in Your Case
Victims often have difficulty handling their sexual abuse cases on their own, as reliving their trauma can take a serious toll on their mental and emotional health. A lawyer may be able to help relieve some of your burden by advocating for your rights, holding your abuser accountable for the harm they caused you, and seeking financial recovery for you.
Evidence that May Support Your Claim
In civil cases in Hawaii, the victim has the burden of proof, which means they must prove that the perpetrator committed the unlawful act against them. However, a lawyer may be able to help shield their client from revictimization by gathering evidence to support their claim for them. These types of evidence may include:
- Sexual assault evidence collection kits
- Witness testimonies
- Records of phone calls
- Text messages and emails
- Police reports
- Background checks
- Criminal history
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand that you may have difficulty with this process, but we will handle as much of this sensitive information as we can on your behalf. Contact our legal team at any time, and we will respond as soon as possible to help you take the next steps.
Once a lawyer has gathered evidence in your case, they can aim to establish your abuser’s liability by demonstrating that the actions of the perpetrator meet all four criteria for legal negligence. They can do this by proving that the abuser and/or the Church had a responsibility to maintain your safety, they failed to do so through the commission of an unlawful act and/or failure to respond adequately to a harmful situation, and you suffered injuries as a result.
Financial Awards in Sexual Abuse Cases
The types and amounts of financial recovery you may qualify for vary depending on your case, but an attorney may be able to help you seek compensation for the losses you suffered because of abuse. These may include compensation for:
- Emergency medical care, medications, and other healthcare treatments you received
- Lost wages if you had to take time off work to recover
- Expenses for mental healthcare related to the assault
- Pain and suffering
A Hawaii Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may be able to assess your damages and help you seek just compensation for your injuries.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm May Be Able to Help You with Your Case
Whether you suffered sexual abuse in a Hawaii Mormon Church as a child or have discovered that your child was abused, the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you seek accountability and compensation in your case. We do not shy away from difficult cases, and we do not charge you anything unless we achieve financial recovery in your favor. Contact our legal team today at (800) 219-9622 to get started on your case.