Victims of clergy abuse often suppress their experiences for years or even decades. The horror of the abuse often results in repressed memories and emotional challenges throughout a person’s life. Changes to New York law now allow survivors of clergy abuse to come forward, even if the abuse happened years ago. While attempting to relive these experiences can prove painful, the truth is that you may still have the ability to hold your abusers accountable. Additionally, coming forward may help others and prevent the same type of abuse from occurring again. While this may be a difficult decision, consider hiring a Queens clergy abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Call (800) 219-9622 to better understand all of your legal options.
Child Victims Act in the State of New York
In August 2019, the Child Victims Act (CVA) went into effect. According to the New York City Bar, this act extended the statute of limitations for those who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members, teachers, and youth counselors. The previous statute of limitations deadline to file a claim (which was one to five years after the victim turned 18) no longer applies. Instead, the new law indicates that any victim can file a civil claim related to child sexual abuse until they reach the age of 55. This new law gives a voice to those previously silenced due to the deadlines imposed under the law.
Steps to Take as a Victim of Clergy Abuse in New York
You now have several options as a victim of clergy abuse in the state of New York. Here are some of the actions that you may choose to take:
- Consider contacting the New York Attorney General (AG) to visit with an investigator regarding your clergy abuse allegations. It is important to note that you will need to enter your name and contact information if you proceed through this avenue.
- Consider visiting with a legal professional at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation to learn about your legal options and what types of compensation you may have a legal right to pursue with the assistance of a Queens clergy abuse lawyer.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Queens, call (800) 794-0444
Clergy Abuse Against Adults
It is critical to note that clergy abuse can occur against adults as well as children. While the CVA only applies to child victims of sexual abuse, you may still have a legal right to pursue justice as an adult. Clergy members are typically considered the trusted leaders of the faith-based community that they lead. In some cases, they may use this additional level of trust to harm congregants. Many church members feel an implicit and inherent trust in clergy, and religious leaders may use this trust to their advantage to manipulate and coerce congregants into forced sexual acts or behaviors. Remember, you have the legal right to pursue justice if you suffered any form of clergy member abuse.
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Religious Organizations and Institutions and Clergy Abuse
While many reports have occurred in recent years regarding clergy abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, unfortunately, this is not the only religious organization that is to blame for clergy abuse. Shockingly, clergy abuse occurs in a multitude of faith-based organizations and institutions, including the following:
- Greek Orthodox churches
- Islamic mosques or centers
- Jewish synagogues
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) churches
- Other denominations of Christian and non-Christian churches
Both males and females, adults and children, have experienced clergy abuse as members of a religious organization or institution. While many people have challenges with bringing a claim against their religious organization, remember that victims are not making a claim against their faith. Instead, they are seeking justice against a horrific act that likely causes substantial physical, psychological, or even financial harm and losses. While filing a claim against a clergy member or religious institution may prove emotionally challenging, victims who do so ultimately prevent these types of horrific acts from occurring again, and the cycle from continuing.
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Liability Following Clergy Abuse
You may have the right to file a claim against the clergy member or the religious institution that employed the clergy member, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
If the abusive clergy member is still alive, you may have the legal right to pursue a claim against them even if they are no longer an active member of the religious institution.
Religious Organization or Institution
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the clergy abuse case, victims may also have the legal right to pursue justice against a religious organization or institution that negligently hired and/or supervised an abusive clergy member. Some of the circumstances in which a victim may have the legal right to pursue a claim against a religious institution or organization may include:
- Negligence in any part of the hiring process
- Failing to check backgrounds of clergy members for any criminal activity or previous allegations of sexual abuse
- Negligent supervision
- Overt concealment and the failure to investigate any reported or identified abuse
- Failure to have an established protocol or plan to handle any allegations of abuse within the religious organization or institution
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Consider Hiring a Queens Clergy Abuse Lawyer
We understand that making the difficult decision to come forward encompasses a lot of raw emotion and pain. Coming forward with a sexual abuse claim from childhood against a clergy member can prove even more complicated. If you are in the process of considering whether or not to file a claim against a clergy member or a religious institution as a result of your abuse, we understand and applaud the courage it takes for you to come forward. Our consultations are always completely private and confidential. When you decide you want to learn about your legal options, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 219-9622 to discuss your next steps.