The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church, has come under fire in recent years for sex abuse allegations. Sexual abuse is a serious crime in Washington and all other U.S. states. If you were an abuse victim, you might feel ashamed or uncomfortable speaking out against your abuser. While it might be difficult, you have a right to seek justice for what happened to you. Fortunately, you are not alone. A Washington Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you with your case. To get started, call (800) 219-9622.
How the Mormon Church Deals with Sexual Abuse of its MembersWhether it is emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual, the Mormon Church has decried all forms of abuse and has publicly asked its members to report any abuse cases to their bishop or another authority figure. The Church has also assured victims that they are not to blame for their sexual abuse.Nonetheless, there have been numerous reported instances where alleged victims have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of clergymen, only to have the Church fail to report the abuse to the proper authorities. With potential outcomes like this, it could feel intimidating to speak up about your abuse. You might think that no one will believe you and that you may be ostracized or even ridiculed for the abuse you suffered. While the Church might recommend speaking to a bishop or other clergy member, you may also choose to confide in someone outside of the Church whom you can trust, like a close family member or the police. You could also speak directly to a legal professional who can offer support and guidance.
Keep in mind that the law will protect you, but you will need to present a sound case. You will need to prove that you were indeed a victim, and the accused person is your abuser. A Washington Mormon Church sex abuse attorney from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you get compensation as well. For a free case assessment, contact us today.
Washington Has Sex Abuse Laws that Protect Victims
Revised Code of Washington (RCW) §70.125.030 defines the different aspects of sex crimes and sexual assault. As a victim, you could file a civil lawsuit for compensation against a perpetrator of various sex offenses. As listed in RCW §9A.04.080, some of these offenses include:
- Rape in the first degree: this is the most severe and occurs when the abuser uses force such as a deadly weapon or kidnapping to violate someone sexually.
- Rape in the second degree: this can happen when the victim is physically helpless such as being mentally incapacitated or asleep.
- Rape in the third degree: often used in “date rape” situations where the victim did not consent to intercourse according to the state’s terms.
- Indecent liberties: this abuse typically happens to mentally challenged individuals who are coerced into sexual contact.
- Child molestation: this occurs when a victim is under the age of 18 and someone forces them to have sexual contact with a person who is at least three years older than them.
These are some of the instances that could apply to your case. However, a thorough evaluation and consultation with a legal professional may help you clarify the crime committed against you. Your Washington Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may also help you devise a course of action for getting justice.
When to Bring a Lawsuit Many who have suffered sexual abuse at clergymen’s hands wait too long to deal with the matter. Remember, the abuse is not your fault. Even if the clergy member was someone you respected and trusted, they are not above the law and can be held accountable for their crime. However, the sooner you come forward, the easier it may be to gather critical evidence to support your case. A Washington Mormon Church sex abuse attorney may be able to help you secure evidence from photographs, video, and eyewitness testimony among other strategies to make a convincing case on your behalf in a court of law.
With the passage of Washington Senate Bill 5649 in 2019, the statute of limitations for criminal sex abuse charges in Washington was eliminated in some cases and extended to either 10 or 20 years in other situations. However, according to Child USA, the statute of limitations for civil child sex abuse cases in Washington is typically capped at age 21. That means if someone abused you when you were a child, you typically only have three years after you turn 18 (or three years after discovering the connection between your injuries and the abuse) to file a lawsuit in civil court against your abuser. This is why it may be important to act quickly if you wish to seek compensation.
How Pintas & Mullins Law Firm May Be Able to Help
Our sex abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have handled these types of cases for decades. We understand what you or your loved one is going through after being sexually violated. Even when the physical scars go away, the psychological pain can stay with you for a lifetime. A Washington Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may be able to help you get properly compensated for the crime perpetrated against you and see to it that the offender or offenders receive appropriate punishment.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we have helped numerous clients navigate the legal process with successful outcomes. When you are ready to seek justice, our lawyers are here to offer support and legal help. Call us at (800) 219-9622, or complete our form via this website.