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Sexual Abuse by Clergy Causes Injuries to Children

Sexual Abuse by Priests, Rabbis, Ministers, and Other Clergy Endangers and Injures Children of All Faiths

It is no longer a secret that sexual abuse of children occurs at the hands of clergy members of all faiths. Catholic priests, Orthodox rabbis, Mormon leaders, and others have all been accused of sexually abusing young congregation members. As more and more allegations come to light, it is clear that the harm caused to childhood sexual abuse victims can last a lifetime.

If you have been the victim of child sexual abuse, causing physical or emotional injuries, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the people or institution responsible. People across the country are filing claims against some of the following:

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • The Southern Baptist Church
  • The Catholic Church
  • Orthodox Jewish Rabbis
  • Greek Orthodox Clergy
  • Catholic Priests
  • Episcopal Ministers
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Watchtower

If a religious school teacher, pastor, youth minister, priest, rabbi, or another member of your congregation sexually abused you, protect your legal rights, and hold your abuser responsible. Contact Alonso Krangle, LLP for more information about filing a clergy sex abuse claim.

Update: NYS Extends Deadline To File Cases Until August 14, 2021

Clergy Sex Abuse of Children Causes Immediate Emotional Injuries

Child sexual abuse by members of the clergy causes emotional injuries that are both immediate and long-term. While the exact nature of the injuries can vary from child to child, many victims of clergy sexual abuse experience some of the following injuries right away:

  • Grief
  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Denial
  • Confusion
  • Sadness or grief
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

During a time when life should be carefree, sexual abuse can destroy any chance of the victim enjoying a “normal” childhood and bring on a myriad of other problems that can have long term effects.

Injuries Caused by Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children May Worsen Over Time

Because children are still developing, sexual abuse can have significant adverse repercussions on their development. It can have negative, long-term effects on cognitive, behavioral, and emotional development. As children grow into adolescence, sexual abuse may cause some of the following:

  • Self-mutilation
  • Inappropriate, early sexual behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Delinquency
  • PTSD-nightmares, flashbacks, fear, distress, lack of interest in activities, problems concentrating

Harm From Child Sexual Abuse by the Clergy Can Last a Lifetime

As child sexual abuse victims enter adulthood, the injuries from abuse can invade every aspect of life. Clergy abuse can cause harm in the physical, emotional, financial, and relational areas of life.

Some of the physical injuries caused by clergy sexual abuse:

  • Chronic pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual pain
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Chronic illness
  • Health effects of risky behavior such as alcohol and drug use
  • Risk of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Poor perception of personal health
  • Chronic headaches

Psychological injuries include:

  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Self-harm such as cutting
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Dissociation

Relational injuries can include:

  • Fear of intimacy
  • Lack of trust/paranoia
  • Commitment issues
  • Domestic violence
  • Isolation
  • Relational instability
  • Marital discord

Financial injuries can result from childhood sexual abuse due to any of the above psychological and emotional harm that can emerge at any time after childhood sexual abuse. A disruption in the cognitive development as a young child, or drug addiction, for example, can cause multiple problems such as; the inability to hold a job, homelessness, debt, criminal behavior and other situations that can result in financial harm. The costs of psychological care for victims can also be significant and a major burden on victims of sexual abuse.

According to some studies, victims of childhood sexual abuse have more difficulty holding jobs as their not-abused co-workers. Authority can be a trigger for some abuse survivors, which can make taking direction from a supervisor challenging. To a victim of clergy abuse, a supervisor at work can remind him of an authoritative priest or church leader. Also, depression, anxiety, drug abuse, and PTSD can negatively impact the ability to retain employment and can result in decisions that lead a victim into debt.

Children Who Were Abused by Clergy May Be Able to Hold Churches and Religious Institutions Liable

Were you sexually abused as a child by a leader in your church or a member of your religious congregation? How do you identify what constitutes sexual abuse by a clergy member?

Sexual abuse occurs when there is non-consensual sexual activity. There cannot be consent when there is an imbalance of power between the abuser and the victim, the abuser uses force on the victim, or the victim is unable to consent because of their age or impairment. Children cannot legally agree to participate in sexual activity with an adult.

The sexual abuse of a child by a clergy member may include:

  • Exposing the child to pornography or sexually charged language
  • Taking or requesting inappropriate photographs of a child for personal use (or distribution)
  • Removal of child’s clothing by force or coercion
  • Unwanted fondling or touching of the body, including private parts
  • Rape
  • Exposing oneself
  • Sexual intimidation or threatening comments
  • Any type of sexual stimulation

If any of these situations sound familiar to you, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages for any injuries you have experienced. You might be able to hold the institution responsible for the actions of the priest, rabbi, minister, or another religious figure who sexually abused you as a child. There may be evidence that the church, temple, or another religious facility:

  • Did not perform due diligence or background checks before hiring your abuser
  • Failed to warn or act reasonably with regards to the dangers of the abuser
  • Did not conduct a proper investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by the clergy member
  • Failed to follow policies and procedures on how to handle allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy
  • Concealed known sexual abuse of children
  • Should have known about the sexual abuse of children by clergy
  • Failed to supervise

Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse by a Priest, Rabbi, Minister or other Clergy

Call us to find out if you still have time to file a civil lawsuit to collect damages to compensate you for the suffering you have endured because of childhood sexual abuse. The New York Child Victim’s Act gives child sex abuse survivors ample time to file claims – even if the abuse occurred decades ago – but we can’t know how much time you have left until we hear the facts of your case. The window of opportunity to file a case is limited, and you need to take action today.

Contact Us for Help if You Were the Victim of Child Sexual Abuse

The child sexual abuse attorneys at Alonso Krangle, LLP can provide you with a free, confidential consultation of your claim. Please don’t wait to get help. Call us today at 516-350-5555 and find out if you can file a complaint. You may be eligible to collect monetary damages for injuries caused by sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

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