The number of sexual abuse cases reported against clergy members has grown significantly over the years. More victims are speaking out about their abuse and seeking legal recourse. If a church member sexually assaulted you or a loved one, you also have a right to come forward. Regardless of the victim’s age or when the assault occurred, a Babylon clergy abuse lawyer can help you fight for awards and hold all parties involved in the assault accountable for their unlawful actions.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand that sexual assault can cause lifelong trauma. When the perpetrator is a member of a church or religious institution, the pain inflicted upon sexual abuse victims extends beyond physical and emotional injuries, creating a spiritual wound that leads them to question their faith and trust.
We know you have suffered immense anguish and are committed to helping you obtain justice. Call (800) 219-9622 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our firm who can review your case and explain your legal options.
Defining Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse encompasses a wide range of unwanted and unsolicited actions of a sexual nature. Often, perpetrators use force or violence when sexually assaulting victims, but this is not always the case. Coercion, intimidation, deceit, and threats are common tactics a sexual perpetrator may employ when seducing a victim into performing sexual acts against their will.
The following are examples of sexual abuse, as defined by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), as well as specific incidents that may relate to members of the clergy, church, or other religious institution:
- Sexual touch of any kind, including kissing, fondling, or groping of the genitals, breasts, or anus
- Sending victims unsolicited sexual media, such as “sexts” or explicit videos
- Forcing victims to watch pornography or recording the victim engaged in sexual activity without their consent
- Exhibitionism (exposing oneself to another person without their consent)
- Voyeurism (watching others undress, take a shower, or engage in sexual activities)
- Manipulating the victim into performing or engaging in sexual activities by misconstruing the meaning of religious texts
- Coercing the victim into believing they must partake in sexual activities as a duty to their church or higher power
- Quid pro quo (this for that) requests for sexual favors in exchange for something else, such as forgiveness for the victim’s sins
- Threatening the victim’s membership in the church, their reputation, their safety, or the safety of their loved ones unless they partake in sexual activities
- Rape or attempted rape
Sexual assault can take many forms, so it is important to understand that you have the right to speak with an attorney if you believe you were sexually abused. An attorney can help you determine if you are eligible to pursue legal action, and if so, can help you fight for just compensation.
Recognizing the Signs of Sexual Assault in Children
As a victim of sexual abuse, it is important to understand you did nothing wrong or welcomed any perpetrator’s advances or actions. Victims may not even realize they were sexually abused. This is especially true when victims are children.
It is difficult for children to comprehend what is happening to them and differentiate right from wrong. The abuse becomes even more complicated to decipher when the perpetrator is a trusted member of their church or religious institution. The perpetrator may tell children that the sexual acts are perfectly normal and even a sign of affection. For these reasons, it could take longer for children to report the incident.
However, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) shares warning signs that can help parents or caretakers determine if a clergy member sexually abused a child. These include:
- Sudden changes in behavior or attitude, such as becoming withdrawn or aggressive
- Showing signs of hesitation or refusing to go to church
- Unexplained bruises
- Changes in apparel, such as wearing clothes that cover up the body completely
- Reverting to outgrown behavior, such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting
- Increased anxiety or fearfulness
- Changes in appetite or weight
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Babylon, call (800) 794-0444
The Impact of Sexual Abuse
When someone experiences sexual abuse, even if they were not subjected to physical penetration, they suffer a deep personal injury that can take years to heal — if ever. Regardless of the victim’s age, sexual abuse trauma can result in a lifetime of devastating consequences, including anxiety, shame, and guilt.
If the perpetrator is a clergyman or other religious institution member, the victim may also suffer a profound spiritual conflict. They trusted the church to be a place of safety and acceptance, not one of fear or potential for harm. The abuse may result in a victim questioning their beliefs or even completely relinquishing their faith. Moreover, the victim’s ability to trust others may never be regained.
No sexual abuse incident is too small to report. A Babylon clergy abuse lawyer can help you understand your options as far as pursuing a case in court and if you are eligible for awards. Give Pintas & Mullins Law Firm a call today to schedule a free case evaluation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start working for you or your loved one.
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Why Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse Should Come Forward
Sexual abuse is both a crime and a personal injury. As such, victims may be eligible for compensation, regardless of age or when the incident transpired. Understandably, sexual assault victims are often hesitant to come forward out of fear that people will not believe them. They may also feel embarrassed (even though the abuse was not their fault), or the perpetrator may have threatened their well-being or that of their loved ones if they reported the incident.
When the perpetrator is a clergyman or other member of a religious institution, attempts may be made to deny or cover up the incident to protect the church’s reputation. However, the laws are on your side. New York takes sexual abuse and assault allegations very seriously, particularly when it comes to children. State Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the Child Victims Act in 2019 to help minors who experienced sexual assault obtain justice and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes, including clergymen.
As a victim, you may qualify for awards, including compensation for any physical injuries that resulted from the sexual assault, medical costs related to costs for exams and treatment after the abuse, and monetary damages for general pain and suffering.
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Take Action with the Help of a Babylon Clergy Abuse Lawyer
Reports of sexual abuse among clergymen in New York have increased throughout the years, as victims become more empowered to seek legal counsel. Sexual crimes can occur at any religious institution and are not limited to any faith. If you were sexually assaulted by a clergy member or suspect a loved one was sexually attacked, a Babylon clergy abuse lawyer can help you fight for damages.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we do not shy away from any sexual assault or harassment case. Our team will work diligently to hold perpetrators accountable and do everything in our power to help you obtain justice for the wrongs you have suffered. Contact us today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with a member of our team about your case during a free consultation.
Call or text (800) 794-0444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form