- Places of worship exist for the purpose of spiritual growth, and clergy have an obligation to make their churches safe havens for their congregants. Those who attend should not have to worry that they will experience any type of mistreatment at the hands of authorities or other members, and if it does occur, those in charge should properly handle the situation to prevent further abuse and help the victim heal.
Unfortunately, corrupt leaders sometimes abuse churchgoers, and victims often find it difficult to hold someone in a position of power accountable for the harm they caused. If you or your child suffered sexual abuse within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called the Mormon Church, a Wyoming Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial recovery. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with our legal team about your case.
Defining Sexual Abuse
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), sexual abuse involves any type of unwanted sexual activity, including forced acts, threats, and sexual contact with someone who cannot legally consent, such as a minor or someone under the influence of alcohol. In many cases, victims of sexual abuse know their abuser, and it may take place more than once.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) describes the potential physical, psychological, and emotional effects on sexual violence victims. They may include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
- Substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Sexually transmitted infections
If you or your child suffers from these or other effects resulting from sexual abuse, seek the assistance of a medical provider right away, and then contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at any time for help with your case.
Sexual Abuse within the Mormon Church
In 2018, Wyoming Public Media reported one of many instances of abuse involving the Mormon Church, which involved students in the Indian Student Placement Program. The program, which ran from the 1940s through 2000, placed Navajo children with Mormon foster families to provide them with new cultural, social, and educational experiences. Several of those children, now adults, have filed claims of sexual abuse, alleging that the Church failed to report these incidents to proper authorities.
Many more individuals and families have spoken out against the trauma they have suffered as a result of sexual abuse within the Church, and an attorney may be able to assist you in seeking financial recovery in your case, as well.
How a Wyoming Mormon Church Sex Abuse Lawyer May Be Able to Help You in Your Case
Taking sexual abuse cases to court can make the victim feel scared, alone, and intimidated. Healing takes time, and reliving the abuse on a daily basis often makes the process more difficult. A lawyer may be able to handle your case on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery. They will keep you updated on the progress of your case and answer any questions you have throughout the process, which typically requires a few important steps.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim
Unfortunately, the legal system often saddles victims with the responsibility of proving their sexual abuse claims. This task may have an especially traumatizing impact on victims, so their lawyers often handle as much of it as they can for the mental and emotional protection of their clients. Types of evidence that can support a sexual abuse claim may include:
- Text messages or call logs
- Witness statements
- Sexual assault evidence collection kits
- Medical records
While civil cases do not involve criminal charges, your sex abuse lawyer can work with law enforcement to collect police reports, criminal records, and other documentation that may help build your case.
Establishing Liability of the Abuser
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a responsibility to its members, who should feel safe and not fearful of sexual assault within their Church community. An attorney may be able to help you establish the liability of the abuser or the Church by proving that their actions meet the criteria for legal negligence.
- Duty of care: the abuser had a duty to keep you safe from preventable harm.
- Breach of duty: the abuser breached that duty through unlawful acts and/or the Church failed to react appropriately to a harmful situation.
- Causation: the breach of duty caused your injuries.
- Damages: your injuries resulted in physical or emotional damages.
Once a lawyer has proven negligence in your case, they can assess your damages and seek fair financial compensation for you.
Negotiating for Just Compensation
Negotiating a settlement often involves a complex process that may feel overwhelming to victims, especially when multiple agencies have involvement in the proceedings. In some cases, insurance policies cover all or a portion of the damages in sexual abuse claims. In others, the abuser or the Church itself must provide compensation for the victim. Your lawyer can determine how you may receive financial recovery and seek a fair settlement amount on your behalf.
Lawyers generally prefer to settle cases out of court when possible, as going to trial may involve a long, trying process for the victim. However, if they cannot achieve a fair settlement amount for you, they may go to trial to fight for your case.
Wyoming Statutes of Limitations
According to Child USA, Wyoming does not have a statute of limitations for pursuing criminal charges against the person who sexually assaulted you. However, you do have a certain amount of time during which you can file a civil claim against your abuser for compensation in your case. If you miss your deadline, you may forfeit your opportunity to pursue financial awards.
In Wyoming, victims who suffered sexual abuse as an adult usually have up to four years from the incident to file a civil claim, while victims who suffered abuse as a minor may have up to eight years from their eighteenth birthday to seek compensation, per Wyoming Statutes (WY Stat) §1-3-105.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
You did not deserve what happened to you, and you do not have to suffer in silence. The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you hold your abuser accountable for losses you incurred, and you do not owe us anything unless your Wyoming Mormon Church sex abuse lawyer achieves financial recovery for you. Contact our legal team today at (800) 219-9622 for your free case evaluation.