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Clergy Abuse encompasses a wide-range of illegal and unacceptable behaviors frequently commited on kids and tweens by predatory priests or other church members involving sexual abuse of varying degrees. The sexual assault might be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barencounter or it can include numerous assaults within an ongoing interaction. For instance, an ongoing “trusting” relationship with a young child spawned by the predatory behavior of a clergy associate, cloaked by the trust and reverence imputed to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual assault acts of molestation.
Within most alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse scenarios, the failure by the Clergy member’s superior to entirely, adequately and promptly report the offense to police and other authorities, or its continuing failure to investigate, cope with and resolve fully with the situation increases the effects on the abuse survivor, the community and potentially others. Recent Church Sexual Abuse cases covered in the press highlight these short-comings, which includes “pass-the-trash” scenarios when the abuser commonly a priest in the Catholic Church, is secretly re-assigned from one location to another only to continue his predatory, criminal action on an unaware parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Assault and Justice
Not a week goes by without a media headline coverage about sexual abuse and molestation of young children by pedophile clergy, or the aftermath of the abuse on the survivors and their families. If you are a victim of sexual assault from a priest or other clergy member, these articles are most likely to serve as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, shame, guilt and various unwanted thoughts harming your well-being. Encouraged by the social movement and other pathways that encourage survivors to reveal the abuse they suffered, survivors of abuse are more frequently employing the legal system to compensate them for the life-long harm and injury they have experienced.
If you are a survivor of abuse commited by a member of the church, the result of the abuse on your life and core belief system may be immeasurable. Regardless, holding the responsible person and institutions accountable for their crimes and failures can offer an amount of justice and recompense to abuse survivors. Commonly, victims can leverage their legal rights in confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. However, if litigation is required, a motion can be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.
All abusers, to varying degrees, use predatory tactics that are commonly referred to as grooming, targeting a possible assault victim. Following is a list of grooming actions exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate child.
Grooming is a major part of a predator’s strategy. In a church environment, the priest is viewed as God’s representative. Within this environment, the predator often works closely with small numbers of children, identifying each child’s needs, weaknesses and circumstances. Once
long island priest abuse is located, these vulnerabilities – like violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – might be systematically exploited in the following ways:
A predator will initially try to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to notice as church communities are frequently tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the priest can feign genuine interest in the child’s wellness and groeth – both emotional and religious.
As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential victim and oftentimes their family, the child will start to rely more and more on the predator for any need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The victim may devote increased time with the predator, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and relying on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the possible target might receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition.
While grooming progresses, the predator will work to isolate the potential victim. This may result in single counseling sessions, meals or various methods of one-on-one isolated moments.
The predator may begin to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and various actions that lead to sexual interaction. This might begin with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s reaction to the progression. This will continue until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
As the sexual relationship is created, the predator will work to maintain control over the child and the continuing interaction. The priest will likely seek to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the victim by whatever ways needed to maintain the immoral physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The impact of childhood abuse on the victim can be severe and life-altering. Several priest abuse survivors suffer from long-term effects of the assault including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and difficulty creating and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can assist survivors overcome these effects.
Legally, a victim of Clergy Sexual Assault may recover financial compensation from the abuser and, more frequently, from the religious organization for its failure to protect the child from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and resolving to reports of assault. If you are a survivor of Priest or Clergy Sexual Assault and would like to confidentially discuss your experience and your legal options, we are ready to talk with you.