For decades, the Catholic church deliberately covered up clergy sex abuse. More than 300 clergy members have already been brought to justice. More importantly, thousands of victims have received compensation for their pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has endured sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic chirch, My Case Helper can directly connect you with a clergy abuse lawyer to help you.
My Case Helper works directly with clergy abuse lawyers currently taking calls. Dozens of dioceses including Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton have been involved in coverup scandals. My Case Helper is actively taking calls for victims. My Case Helper connects you with a clergy abuse lawyer to either make an anonymous tip or file a lawsuit.
Any recent abuse should be reported to the authorities immediately. If you’re not ready to make a police report, consult with a lawyer to privately investigate, collect records, and make sure the victim is safe. You only have a small window of time to press charges against an accused perpetrator. If the statute of limitations runs out, you may not be able to press civil charges against the abuser.
Trigger Warning: This page includes content and subject matters that may be upsetting and disturbing for some viewers. If you need emotional support, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673.
Also Read: How To Report Child Abuse Safely And Anonymously
Catholic Church Sex Scandal History
Pennsylvania’s 2018 grand jury report investigates six dioceses, but there are likely more areas outside of Pennsylvania involved in the Catholic church sex scandal. After reviewing witness testimonies as well as the internal diocesan documents, the grand jury could credibly identify over 300 predators within the Catholic church. Even more disturbing, over 1,000 victims were identified from the church records. There are likely even more unidentified victims who likely have yet to step forward.
Victims’ advocates suspect that the Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton parishes along with other dioceses rely entirely on a self-reporting system. Each diocese creates a “standard” by which a clergy member can be “credibly accused,” according to the grand jury report. It’s clear that victims have been left voiceless by the system for decades in several ways:
- Avoiding any kind of sexual misconduct euphemism in their documentation.
- Neglecting to let outside trained personnel handle investigations.
- Using fellow clergy members to conduct the internal investigations.
- Evaluating and diagnosing pedophilic behaviors at church-run psychiatric treatment centers.
- Allowing psychiatric experts to base their diagnosis’ off of the accused’s “self-reports.”
- Misinforming parishioners on the circumstances of an accused clergy member’s leave.
- Continuing to provide guilty clergy members with housing and living expenses.
- Transferring exposed clergy members to a new location with no repercussions.
- Neglecting and failing to make any reports with police and keeping all investigations “in-house.”
Since this scheme has been going on for years, many of the abusers are now dead or “too old to be prosecuted” according to the grand jury report. Although many dioceses, priests, and other clergy members have been convicted of sexually assaulting children, there are likely more incidents as the investigations continue. Regardless, for almost an entire century, the Catholic church protected abusive clergy members without any punishment.
Clergy Abuse’s Impact On Survivors
Clergy sex abuse didn’t just involve young boys. Victims include young girls, teens, and even infants. According to Pennsylvania’s grand jury report, many victims were groomed with alcohol and pornography. The abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to rape and sodomy. Regardless of the circumstances, all victims deserve to have their voices heard.
Having to endure sexual abuse during childhood can have life-long, irreversible effects that can impact a victim’s ability to function as a normal adult. Survivors often endure both physical and psychological hardships due to the abuse. Common symptoms of abuse include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Chronic pain
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Relationship and intimacy issues
- Sleep disorders
In studies, survivors were also more likely to experience other physical health problems. Survivors often have to navigate cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and weight issues for the rest of their lives.
Most of these survivors had to grow up alongside their abusers. These abusive clergy members and complacent by-standers teachers, nurses, caretakers, and even mentors to the victims.
It’s very lonely- especially when it’s your word against God’s.Carolyn, 37, Catholic church survivor
Many priests mentioned in Pennsylvania’s grand jury report are now dead. However, many more victims are still alive today. The report suspects that even more victims have unreported incidents. All victims should know they are not alone. They have the support of both a grand jury and many other survivors. If you’re a victim who’s unsure about speaking up, please do not hesitate to call My Case Helper to speak directly with a clergy abuse lawyer to consult a lawyer for free.
Also Read: Filing a Restraining Order Against Your Abuser
Statute of Limitations in Clergy Abuse
Consulting with a lawyer is super beneficial for victims of sexual abuse. Consulting a lawyer allows victims to understand what options they have without having to make an official report. Victims can still remain anonymous and get information or advice on pressing charges and how the statute of limitations affects their case.
In most states, rape and sexual abuse claims have a statute of limitation of around 10 years. The statute of limitations determines the time victims have to press civil charges against their abusers. This, of course, changes depending on what state you live in and where you need to press your civil charges. The best way to get advice on your particular case is to consult with a clergy abuse lawyer in your state.
Since some incidents of clergy sex abuse happened over 70 years ago. This does not mean you don’t have a case. Your experience is still valid. The court recognizes that a victim can be manipulated and silenced for years even after the abuse ends. If your case is beyond the statute of limitations, you can still press civil and criminal charges. Since your testimony can offer information to the clergy sex abuse scandal, you still have a valid legal claim to press charges against your abuser. You will need the help of a clergy abuse lawyer to press charges.
Average Settlement For Clergy Abuse
It can be difficult to say exactly how much a victim can receive in settlements from clergy sex abuse. Upon consultation with a lawyer, you’ll have a clearer idea of how much settlement money you can expect.
Victims joining the New York compensation fund received an average of $200,000 settlements each. Although the compensation fund is closed, you can still receive substantial compensation for your pain and suffering by working with My Case Helper’s clergy abuse lawyers. The court will consider several things when assessing a settlement, such as the:
- Extent of harm
- Nature if the abuse
- Victims’ age
- Medical bills from physical and mental hardships
Some cases do not make it to trial. This can be beneficial, as trials can be prolonged and are often quite expensive. For sexual abuse victims, it’s painful to relive the trauma while also under the stress of a trial. Victims often take settlements from the Catholic church. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a settlement to end a lawsuit. However, you should always consult a lawyer before accepting any offers.
In many cases, victims don’t realize the impact of abuse until a clergy abuse lawyer assesses their pain and suffering. Victims can have difficulty working, paying for therapies, and more from the abuse. Your lawyer will know the long-term effects and costs of your pain and suffering. If your initial settlement offer is sub-par, your lawyer will know exactly how to negotiate a better settlement. To get in contact with a clergy abuse lawyer, call My Case Helper at 1(844) 934-2387.
Also Read: The Myth of Frivolous Lawsuits