Sexual abuse victims often struggle to be heard, and to have their rights protected by authority figures, and this is even more likely when they face child sex abuse at the hands of a trusted religious figure. Recent changes in the statutes of limitations in some states are allowing many survivors to bring their abuser to justice with the help of a California clergy abuse lawyer or trusted local attorney.
Every 9 minutes an incident of child sexual abuse is reported to authorities,1 but while abuse by strangers or family acquaintences is usually reported quickly, studies show that victims of clergy abuse are often unable to report what happened for 20 years or more.2 Even when this type of abuse is reported early, it is often contested or denied by church authorities who seek to protect priests accused of abuse in California and around the nation.
As a parent or family member of someone who may have been the victim of clergy sex abuse in California or elsewhere, it is important to trust your instincts. This list of warning signs might help you to recognize the symptoms of clergy sex abuse1:
As many as 93% of sexual abuse victims know their abuser,1 and in most cases their family has the opportunity to interact with that person. While Catholic priest abuse in California is well documented, and a list of Catholic priests accused of abuse in California is available, until someone recognizes the behaviors of an adult abuser, they may continue to victimize children.
Some of the signs an adult may be a sexual predator include:
Clergy abuse in CA and across the nation has a devastating impact on individuals and families of faith. The betrayal of trust is only one aspect, and survivors may need years of counseling, therapy, and support to recover. Speaking up and taking action is one path to reclaiming some of what was lost.
The clergy abuse statute of limitations in California has recently changed, allowing victims of abuse to report the crime for criminal prosecution or civil legal action, even if it occurred long ago or the abuser has died. Survivors who file a personal injury lawsuit often receive settlements from the diocese, who are motivated to avoid a sex abuse scandal.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of CA clergy abuse, you might benefit from a free consultation with a clergy sexual abuse lawyer from Saunders & Walker. You can file a civil suit and criminal charges if you wish, helping to prevent future abuse of children and possibly receiving compensation for some of the pain and suffering you or a loved one experienced.
Childhood sexual abuse can lead to a lifetime of challenges for survivors. Because they may be subjected to repeated abuse and threats or intimidation to remain silent, survivors of clergy abuse may not report the trauma for a very long time, which prevents them from seeking treatment for these types of conditions1,2,3:
Many victims are reluctant to file sexual abuse cases against their abusers because they fear the public exposure of their private pain and trauma. Feeling afraid and disempowered by their experiences, survivors may not know where to turn for confidential and compassionate support.
Choosing an experienced law firm for sound legal advice will help you decide between the many options available to you. Whether you choose to file a claim for compensation or seek criminal charges, or both, is a personal decision that a California clergy abuse lawyer can help you make.
Having an experienced sexual abuse lawyer to advocate for you and guide you through the process could result in a settlement offer and no need for a court trial. At every step of the way, your attorney will follow your wishes and help you achieve the closure to which you are entitled.
As experienced SoCal clergy abuse attorneys, we have helped many survivors find closure, settlements, and compensation for their injuries. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team of legal professionals are standing by to help you get started on the path to a more complete recovery.
Don’t let feelings of depression, anxiety, or the symptoms of PTSD keep you from talking about your experience with a caring and empathetic group of people who are on your side and ready to advocate for your rights. Legal representation is often the first step to taking control of your life and holding your abusers accountable.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of clergy abuse in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, no matter how long ago, please contact us today. Even if you have been told in the past that it is too late to file a claim, the situation may have recently changed. Saunders & Walker P.A. is ready to help you move forward with appropriate legal action, so call today for a consultation at (727) 579-4500.