The Catholic Church is not a stranger to accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct amongst priests and church leaders. There is an extensive history of the Church sheltering Catholic leaders who have been charged with sexual misconduct. In the United States, the Catholic Church has required all priests to disclose any cases or occurrences of sexual abuse. Pope Francis has sworn a ‘zero tolerance’ policy regarding sex abuse. However, many go unreported to the Diocese or to law enforcement.
The abuse has occurred in the United States and abroad. Cardinal Pell, a high ranking advisor to Pope Francis is facing accusations of sexual assault as far back as 1961. Bringing cases that address abuse that occurred well in the past are replete with issues, mainly with availability of witnesses.
In the example of Pell, he has returned to his home in Australia, to face criminal charges against him in court. Pell maintains his innocence in the matter, but now with the unexpected death of his accuser, Damian Dignan, the case against Pell could fall short. If the prosecution proceeds without Dignan’s sworn testimony, they can only rely on his sworn statements and evidence given prior to his death which may or may not be enough for the court to further the trial.
Sex abuse victims, especially those harmed by a priest or any other church leader, are following this case very closely. The victims believe Pell’s case could be the turning point society and the church need to change their questionable response to this ongoing calamity.
Pope Francis has yet to make any statement about Cardinal Pell until the Australian court has finalized their verdict of his case.
Being sexually abused or victimized by a trusted person in your community such as a priest is devastating on many different levels and can destroy someone’s life. Most victims are abused when they are children and don’t report the crime until they are well into adulthood because of fear of not being believed and even due to threats they have received by the abuser.
The attorneys at Alonso Krangle LLP know that it isn’t easy to step up and address being a victim of sexual abuse. The first step is to seek a confidential, private consultation to see what your rights are. Let the attorneys at Alonso Krangle LLP listen to you and advise you as to what your rights are. We fight for victims of all types of abuse. Please call 800-403-6191 or contact us through our website www.fightforvictims.com to set up a consultation.