Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Have More Time to File Claims Against Clergy and Church
Any time we hear of a child being sexually abused, it is upsetting. But it is particularly disturbing when we find out that priests, rabbis, and other religious leaders use their positions of authority and trust to commit atrocious acts of abuse against children.
It is well-known that reports of sexual abuse by religious clerics are emerging nationwide. Several states have established funds so that victims can collect compensation from the Catholic Church for decades of hiding and committing abuse. Thousands of victims are filing lawsuits with the help of their lawyers who understand the complexities of sexual abuse claims.
One of those complexities exists because it is often years, sometimes decades, before an adult remembers and comes forward with allegations of sexual abuse they endured as a child. The inability to come to grips with abuse can linger long into adulthood, and this highlights the profound nature of the emotional trauma sex abuse causes. Luckily, New York state acknowledges this and now provides victims of childhood clergy sexual abuse ample time to recover their memories and file claims.
If you were sexually abused by a priest, rabbi, pastor, imam, youth leader, preacher, bishop, elder or religious teacher, call our lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP for help. We can provide you with the experience, skill, and sensitivity clergy sexual abuse cases require. Let us help you collect monetary damages the law allows and seek the justice you deserve.
Long Lasting Injuries Result from Clergy Sexual Abuse
When a child is sexually abused by someone they trust, the harm lasts forever. Many victims are simply too young when the abuse occurs to understand the true nature of the harm that they are experiencing. Often, children are manipulated into believing that what is happening is normal. When religious authorities are the abusers, they may even convince the kids that they are doing God’s work. Some of the common conditions adults face after being victims of sexual abuse by trusted clergy members include:
- Self-harm, cutting
- Difficulty working
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Relationship dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction and confusion
- Abusing others
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Why Don’t Children Come Forward Immediately After Clergy Members Sexually Abuse Them?
All of the conditions above demonstrate just how harmful childhood sexual abuse can be. When a clergy member is a perpetrator, it can become extraordinarily difficult for a child to come forward and report the incident or ongoing behavior. A family might hold such deep faith that makes it hard for them to believe or support their child’s allegations. A child might fear being shunned by their community or family or expelled from their church.
Because of these factors and others, many children try to ignore what happened. When they do, the ramifications of sexual abuse often manifest in dangerous, harmful ways.
Why do Adults Have Difficulty Reporting Childhood Sexual Abuse?
According to Psychology Today, there are several reasons why adult victims of child sexual abuse do not come forward. They include:
- Feeling a need to protect the perpetrator
The emotions surrounding these reasons are nearly impossible to process without therapy and support. Unfortunately, many adults who were victims of sexual abuse as children never get the help they need.
It Is Not Too Late For Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Seek Accountability and Compensation
There has always been a statute of limitations on filing legal claims against sexual abusers. Recently, due mostly to the astounding number of allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Church, states have amended their statutes to give victims more time.
New York is one such state that has recognized that it can take years for victims of clergy sexual abuse to come forward. Whether they have been in denial for decades or afraid to share their secrets, it is clear that the journey of a child sex abuse victim is long and arduous. New York passed the Child Victim’s Act (CVA) that now allows adults to file claims against their abusers, even when the abuse happened many decades ago.
The CVA does three main things to help victims of child sexual abuse:
— Extends New York’s statute of limitations to allow for criminal charges against sexual abusers of children until their victims turn 28 for felony cases, up from the current 23.
— Will enable victims to seek civil action against their abusers and institutions that enabled them until they turn 55.
— Opens up a one-year, one-time-only period to allow all victims to seek civil action, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Contact Our New York Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyers to Find Out if You Can File a Claim
At Alonso Krangle, LLP, our lawyers are handling claims for adult victims of childhood sex abuse by priests and other clergy. If you want help from professional, experienced, sensitive lawyers with the skill and tenacity to secure the outcome you deserve, look no further than Alonso Krangle, LLP.
Call us today at 516-350-5555 for a free, confidential evaluation of your clergy sexual abuse claim.