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Priest Abuse comprises a range of immoral and unacceptable actions frequently perpetrated on young children and teens by predatory priests or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying degrees. The assault might be a one-off, non-consensual scroll barevent or it can include many acts within a continuing interaction. For instance, a continuing “trusting” interaction with a child created by the predatory intent of a clergy member, cloaked by the trust and reverence provided to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.
new york priest abuse claimed Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Clergy member’s superior to completely, adequately and promptly disclose the crime to law enforcement and other authorities, or its further failure to research, cope with and deal fully with the situation amplifies the harm on the abuse survivor, the community and potentially others. Current Priest Sexual Assault cases covered in the press uncover these short-comings, including “pass-the-trash” situations when the predator oftentimes a clergy in the Catholic Church, is silently transferred from one location to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an innocent parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse & Justice
Not a day goes by without a news headline reporting about sexual abuse and molestation of young children by pedophile priests, or the effects of the assault on the victims and their families. If you are a victim of sexual assault from a priest or other church member, these reports are most likely to serve as an echo chamber, replaying the horror, embarrassment, guilt and other unwelcome thoughts staining your well-being. Encouraged by the societal movement and other pathways that encourage them to reveal the abuse they suffered, victims of assault are increasingly turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifelong harm and injury they have suffered.
If you are a survivor of assault perpetrated by a member of the church, the result of the abuse on your life and core belief system can be incalculable. Regardless, holding the responsible priest and institutions accountable for their crimes and indifference might provide a measure of justice and recompense to assault survivors. Frequently, survivors can leverage their legal rights through confidential mediation therein avoiding the need for litigation. However, if litigation is necessary, a case can be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.
All abusers, to varying degrees, use predatory methods which are commonly known as grooming, tracking a possible assault victim. Following is a list of grooming actions exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority relative to the subordinate child.
Grooming is a major piece of a predator’s strategy. In a church environment, the priest is revered as God’s representative. Within this setting, the predator frequently works closely with small numbers of children, identifying each child’s needs, weaknesses and situations. Once a target is identified, these vulnerabilities – like violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically leveraged in the following ways:
A predator will first try to get the child’s trust. This step is most difficult to notice as religious communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the priest can feign sincere interest in the child’s wellness and development – both emotional and religious.
As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family members, the child will begin to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the predator is exploiting and fulfilling. The victim will spend more time with the priest, feeling more and more comfortable with the relationship and relying on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the possible victim may receive presents from the priest, including valuable, intangible gifts like blessings and special recognition.
While grooming escalates, the predator will try to isolate the potential victim. This could result in individual counseling meetings, meals or various methods of one-on-one isolated encounters.
The predator may begin to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and other actions that lead to sexual interaction. This might begin with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s reaction to the progression. This will escalate until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
As the sexual relationship is created, the predator will try to keep control over the child and the continued interaction. The predator may likely seek to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the target by whatever means needed to maintain the immoral physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The effect of childhood assault on the victim can be overwhelming and life-changing. Several priest abuse survivors suffer from long-term effects of the abuse including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and problems creating and keeping vibrant relationships. Individualized treatment and support groups can assist survivors overcome these effects.
Legally, a victim of Priest Sexual Assault can recover financial compensation from the abuser and, more commonly, from the religious organization for its failure to protect the child from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its process of reviewing and resolving to reports of assault. If you are a victim of Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse and would like to confidentially discuss your experience and your legal options, we are prepared to speak with you.