Clergy abuse is incredibly tragic and much more widely spread than we’d like to imagine. Victims of clergy abuse tend to be minors, and they have a hard time coming forward before adulthood because of this fact. The lack of education about the reality of clergy abuse makes the situation that much more difficult for survivors. To help educate those in the dark, here is a guide that covers everything that you need to know about clergy abuse in 2022:
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Each Case is Different
No two clergy abuse lawsuits or cases are exactly the same. Taking into account the unique situations of each case, and the needs of each individual victim is crucial. Without doing so, the path toward justice cannot be truly completed. Many victims fail to come forward due to stigmas surrounding childhood sexual abuse, and the way their abuse conflicts with their faith. This is the reason that the majority of cases are brought by adults who waited until after they were eighteen to come forward about their abuse. However, with support from a qualified clergy abuse lawyer, victims can finally seek out the justice and compensation that they rightfully deserve.
The Rules of Clergy Abuse Cases are Unique
Unlike other criminal cases and lawsuits, the rules surrounding clergy abuse cases can differ drastically from state to state, and can sometimes be noticeably different than similar criminal law that affects other cases. For example, many states have changed their criminal law to eliminate the statute of limitations for cases involving childhood sexual abuse. Even those that have not outright removed them tend to raise the statute of limitations significantly. Other unique laws can affect the outcome and initial steps of clergy abuse cases as well. Because these laws can differ from one another so drastically from state to state, legal help is highly recommended for victims seeking justice.
Understanding Settlement Expectations
Before victims decide to bring a case against their abuser, they are often anxious about the expectations they have for a case. One of the biggest questions they have is how much they could expect from a potential settlement from the Catholic church. While it’s not common, some high-profile clergy abuse lawsuits lead to settlements in the multi-millions. Even smaller settlements tend to be at least tens of thousands of dollars. If a case is particularly heinous, or if the church is shown to have interfered in a victim seeking justice for their abuse, the settlement amount is likely to be quite high. Finding a settlement that’s appropriate for the suffering you went through is essential, so never settle for an amount that you feel is unjust.
It’s Crucial to Seek Support
When victims decide to confront their abuser, and the powerful Catholic church, they are opening up old wounds. During this trying time, it’s of utmost importance that victims seek out support groups who can help them through their legal efforts. Many groups exist to help clergy abuse victims across the nation, and many of these groups are started by victims themselves. Even after a case is closed, individuals must seek additional mental health and legal support, as the trial process can be traumatizing. If you have a solid support system behind you, it’s easier to take on the burden of a legal trial against your abuser, after all.
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Abusers Can be Tricky
Many accused clergy members try to evade justice, either on their own or through help from the Catholic church. Knowing that members of their faith are helping abuses evade justice, and consequences for their devastating actions, makes the burden victims carry that much worse. Thankfully, laws are being changed to help victims bring lawsuits against clergy members who try to use legal loopholes to evade charges, lawsuits, and other legal consequences. If you’re worried that you cannot find your abuser, you should reach out to victim support organizations that are better equipped to discover where your abuser is currently residing.
Attorneys Can Help You Receive a Fair Settlement
The best way to hold your abuser accountable, and to receive the settlement you deserve for your suffering, is to hire a qualified and highly experienced clergy abuse lawyer. They have the know-how needed to ensure you’re not left without a solid understanding of what the legal process might look like. Additionally, they can help you quickly and effectively gather the evidence and documentation you’ll need to successfully bring a legal case against your abuser in a timely fashion.
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