Churches should provide their members with a safe, caring community where they do not have to worry about becoming victims of assault. Unfortunately, some churches do not provide their congregants with protection from harm, some of which even come from their own clergy. Many reports of sexual abuse in churches also allege that churches not only had a hand in the abuse but actively covered it up to avoid expensive lawsuits.
The Mormon Church has sexual abuse claims dating back from the 1950s through the present, and the number of victims rises. Some adults have filed claims for the abuse they suffered as a child, while others have pursued legal action on behalf of their minor children. If you or your child suffered sexual assault in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church), a Montana Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can help you with your case. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with our legal team.
How Sexual Abuse Affects Victims
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sexual abuse as any form of unwanted sexual activity, including forced intercourse, assault threats, and sexual acts with someone who cannot legally consent, such as a minor. In many cases, the victims know and may even have a close relationship with their abuser, who may assault them on one or more occasions.
Effects on Health and Wellbeing
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual assault can take a physical, psychological, and emotional toll on victims. In addition to physical conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, victims also have an increased risk of developing many other types of issues, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Insomnia or sleeping for long periods of time
Appropriate forms of treatment may help victims manage the struggles they have encountered as a result of their abuse, and a lawyer can help them pursue financial awards for the losses they incurred as a result of the Mormon Church’s negligence.
If you or your child suffered sexual abuse in an LDS church, a Montana Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer can help you hold the Church accountable. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for more information about building your case.
Sexual Abuse in the Mormon Church in Montana
Although the Mormon Church has a home base in Utah, instances of abuse within the Church span the United States and even extend overseas. According to Restore Our Humanity, a study conducted on instances of sexual abuse in the LDS church from 1959 through 2017 revealed the details of hundreds of claims, including two in Montana.
The Billings Gazette reported another Mormon Church sex abuse case out of Montana that involved four Native Americans. The victims allege that they suffered sexual abuse in a Mormon church foster program that no longer exists. Dozens of other Native Americans have filed complaints of sexual abuse with the LDS church in other states, as well.
It does not matter whether you have pursued criminal charges against the perpetrator who abused you; you may still qualify for compensation in a civil case against the Mormon Church, and a lawyer can help you pursue it.
A Montana Mormon Church Sex Abuse Lawyer Can Establish the Liability of the Church in Your Case
Civil cases require that that victim prove that, more likely than not, the perpetrator did, in fact, commit the act in question. Unfortunately, victims of sexual assault often find shouldering the burden of proof traumatizing, and it may deter them from seeking the financial recovery they deserve. If you or your child suffered sexual abuse in the Mormon Church in Montana, a lawyer can collect evidence to help you prove your case, which may include:
- Sexual assault evidence collection kit
- Witness testimony
- Phone call records
- Text messages and emails
- Police reports
- Criminal history
- Background checks
Once they have gathered this evidence, they can use it to establish liability in your case, which involves proving that the actions of the Church meet the four criteria for legal negligence.
- Duty of care: The Church had a responsibility to keep you safe from preventable harm.
- Breach of duty: The Church breached its duty of care by acting unlawfully and/or failing to react properly to a harmful situation.
- Causation: You suffered injuries as a result of the breach of duty.
- Damages: Your injuries led you to incur significant damages.
Once your lawyer has established liability in your case, they can pursue legal action against the Church.
Financial Awards in Mormon Church Sexual Abuse Cases
The types and amounts of financial recovery you may qualify for in your case vary depending on the circumstances and the extent of your losses, but they may include compensation for:
- Medical care
- Mental health treatments
- Lost wages if you had to take time off work to recover
- Pain and suffering for your physical, emotional, and psychological distress
A lawyer can assess your damages and seek just compensation on your behalf.
The Statute of Limitations
According to Montana Legislature §27-2-216, a child sexual abuse victim can file a lawsuit for sexual abuse by their 27th birthday. Alternatively, they have three years to file after they have reasonably discovered they had suffered sexual abuse as a child. If you do not file within this time frame, then you may not be able to collect compensation.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today to Get Started on Your Case
You do not deserve the pain you endured as a victim of sexual abuse, and you have a right to hold the Mormon Church responsible for their failure to keep you safe. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our attorneys do not shy away from tough cases, and we do not charge you any fees unless we achieve financial awards for you. Contact us today at (800) 219-9622 to discuss your free case evaluation with our legal team.