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Priest Sexual Abuse encompasses a range of immoral and unacceptable acts often perpetrated against kids and tweens by pedophilic priests or other church members involving sexual abuse of varying amounts. The assault might be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barencounter or it might involve several assaults within an ongoing interaction. For
abused in church California , an ongoing “trusting” interaction with a child spawned by the predatory behavior of a clergy associate, blanketed by the trust and respect imputed to a member of the clergy, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.
In all alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the short-coming by the Clergy member’s employer to fully, adequately and immediately disclose the offense to police and other authorities, or its continuing failure to investigate, handle and deal entirely with the occurrence amplifies the harm on the assault survivor, the community and potentially others. Current Priest Sexual Abuse cases covered in the media highlight these failures, including “pass-the-trash” situations where the perpetrator oftentimes a clergy in the Catholic Church, is silently transferred from one parish to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an unaware parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse & Justice
Not a week passes without a news headline reporting about sexual assault and molestation of young children by predator priests, or the effects of the abuse on the survivors and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual assault from a priest or other clergy member, these stories are most likely to act as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, shame, guilt and other unwanted emotions hurting your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other channels that encourage victims to disclose the assault they suffered, survivors of assault are increasingly employing the legal system to compensate them for the life-long harm and injury they have experienced.
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 immeasurable. Regardless, holding the responsible person and institutions to blame for their crimes and indifference may offer a measure of justice and recompense to abuse victims. Oftentimes, victims can leverage their legal rights in confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is necessary, a motion may be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.
All predators, to varying amounts, use predatory tricks which are commonly referred to as grooming, aiming at a potential assault victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority relative to the subordinate young child.
Grooming is a significant part of a predator’s ploy. In a religious setting, the clergy member is revered as God’s representative. In this setting, the predator frequently works closely with small amounts of children, understanding each child’s needs, weaknesses and circumstances. Once a victim is identified, these vulnerabilities – such as violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – might be systematically leveraged in the following ways:
An assaulter will first try to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as church communities are frequently tight-knit and personal relation with clergy is commonplace. Here, the priest can feign genuine interest in the child’s wellness and development – both emotional and religious.
As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential victim 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 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 potential victim might receive presents from the priest, including valuable, intangible presents such as blessings and special recognition.
As the grooming progresses, the predator will try to isolate the potential victim. This could mean single counseling meetings, meals or other methods of one-on-one isolated encounters.
The predator may start to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and various actions that lead to sexual interaction. This may start with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with inappropriate messages to gauge the victim’s response 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 continuing interaction. The priest may likely seek to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the victim by whatever methods necessary to maintain the inappropriate physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The effect of childhood assault on the victim can be severe and life-altering. Several clergy 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 difficulty establishing and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized treatment and support groups can assist survivors overcome these effects.
Legally, a victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse may recover financial compensation from the abuser and, more commonly, from the church for its failure to protect the victim from the assault, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and responding to reports of assault. If you are a victim of Priest or Clergy Sexual Assault and would like to confidentially discuss your situation and your legal options, we are ready to talk with you.