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Church Abuse comprises a range of illegal and unacceptable actions commonly commited on young children and teens by pedophilic clergy or other church members involving sexual assault of varying degrees. The sexual assault can be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barencounter or it might include numerous acts inside an ongoing interaction. For example, an ongoing “trusting” interaction with a young child spawned by the predatory intent of a church member, cloaked with the trust and respect provided to a member of the clergy, leading to non-consensual sexual abuse acts of molestation.
Within all alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Church member’s employer to fully, adequately and immediately disclose the offense to law enforcement and other authorities, or the continuing failure to investigate, cope with and resolve fully with the occurrence increases the effects on the assault survivor, the community and potentially others. Current Church Sexual Assault cases reported in the media highlight these short-comings, which includes “pass-the-trash” scenarios when the predator frequently a clergy in the Catholic Church, is quietly transferred 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 day goes by without a media announcement coverage about sexual abuse and molestation of children by pedophile priests, or the effects of the assault on the victims and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual assault from a priest or other clergy member, these stories are likely to serve as an echo chamber, replaying the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwanted emotions hurting your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other channels that encourage survivors to disclose the assault they suffered, survivors of abuse are more frequently turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifelong damage and injury they have experienced.
If you are a victim of abuse perpetrated by a member of the clergy, the impact of the abuse on your life and core belief system may be incalculable. Regardless, holding the responsible church and institutions accountable for their crimes and failures can provide a measure of justice and recompense to assault survivors. Oftentimes, survivors can assert their legal rights through confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is required, a case can be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.
All predators, to varying degrees, use predatory tactics that are commonly known as grooming, aiming at a possible assault victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate young child.
Grooming is a significant piece of a predator’s ploy. In a church environment, the clergy member is viewed as God’s representative. Within this setting, the predator frequently works closely with small amounts of children, understanding each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and circumstances. Once
priest lawsuit Pennsylvania is located, these vulnerabilities – like tumultuous family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically exploited in the following ways:
An assaulter will first work to gain the child’s trust. This step is most difficult to discern as church communities are frequently tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the assaulter can feign sincere interest in the child’s wellness and groeth – both emotional and religious.
As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential child-victim and oftentimes their family, the child will begin to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The victim will spend increased time with the priest, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and relying on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the potential victim might receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents such as blessings and special recognition.
As the grooming continues, the predator might try to isolate the potential target. This may result in single counseling sessions, meals or various methods of one-on-one isolated moments.
The predator may start to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and various behaviors that lead to sexual interaction. This may start with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to determine the victim’s reaction to the progression. This will escalate until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
Once the sexual relationship is established, the predator will work to maintain control of the child and the continued interaction. The priest may likely want to manipulate the child by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the target by whatever methods needed to maintain the immoral physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The impact of childhood assault on the survivor can be severe and life-altering. Many priest assault 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 maintaining vibrant relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can help victims overcome these effects.
Legally, a survivor of Priest Sexual Assault can gain financial compensation from the predator and, more frequently, from the church for its failure to protect the victim from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and responding to reports of abuse. 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 ready to talk with you.