Abuse Should Not Get Swept Under the Rug
Clergy abuse of vulnerable members of the congregation has long been a problem in the Catholic Church and other religions. That’s not to say every member of the clergy in all religions is guilty of abusing their members, and a majority of religious leaders are worthy of the trust of their congregations. However, religious hierarchies were reluctant to discipline their abusive members and opted to reassign them to other parishes instead of turning them over to law enforcement agencies. Fortunately, those who suffered physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member can take action with the help of a clergy abuse lawyer. Here’s what you should know about clergy abuse and your rights.
Defining Abuse by Clergy
Most forms of abuse dealt by religious clergy comes in the form of sexual interactions. A clergy member gains the trust of a young parishioner and slowly introduces the idea of sexual intercourse to their chosen victim. The clergy member manipulates the parishioner into thinking that the acts are OK, that no one will believe them if they talked to others about the abuse, and takes advantage of their position as a respected member of the community to hide their acts.
A Lack of Punishment Means a Lack of Resolution for Victims
The Catholic Church is the most notorious for ignoring the cries of victims of clergy abuse and moving abusers from parish to parish. However, other religious organizations have also shuffled their clergy members to different locations in order to avoid exposure. Religious organizations should have done the right thing and turned over their abusers to the authorities for prosecution. Unfortunately, these organizations decided it was better to avoid the spotlight and the fear of a loss of reputation amongst their parishioners. Instead of removing abusers, they relocated them to other parishes, essentially signaling to the abuser that they were free to do as they pleased once more.
What You Can Do if You’ve Experienced Abuse From a Clergy Member
Finding resolution for the abuse you’ve suffered at the hands of a clergy member can be difficult, but not impossible. Retaining a clergy abuse lawyer who has experience with pursuing lawsuits against abusive clergy members is one of the best courses of action you can take for yourself. However, it’s important that you take action quickly as statutes of limitations can prevent you from finding resolution and closure through legal means.
You can learn more about your legal options from a clergy abuse lawyer who’s handled many of these types of cases and won. You don’t have to suffer in silence, and you don’t have to think that somehow you were at fault for what happened. Legal options are available to help you overcome what happened to you or your loved one.