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    Church Sexual Abuse comprises a wide-range of immoral and improper behaviors frequently commited against kids and tweens by predatory priests or other church employees involving sexual assault of varying degrees. The sexual assault might be a single, non-consensual scroll barencounter or it might involve several assaults inside an ongoing interaction. For instance, a continuing “trusting” relationship with a child spawned by the predatory intent of a church associate, cloaked with the trust and respect imputed to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.

    In most alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse scenarios, the short-coming by the Church member’s employer to entirely, adequately and promptly report the crime to law enforcement and other authorities, or its further failure to research, address and resolve entirely with the situation amplifies the effects on the assault survivor, the community and possibly others. Recent Priest Sexual Abuse cases covered in the media uncover these failures, that includes “pass-the-trash” scenarios where the abuser commonly a priest in the Catholic Church, is quietly transferred from one church to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an unsuspecting parish community.

    Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse and Justice

    Not a week passes without a media headline reporting regarding sexual abuse and molestation of young children by predator clergy, or the effects of the abuse on the survivors and their families. If you are a victim of sexual abuse from a priest or other clergy member, these reports are most likely to serve as an echo chamber, replaying the horror, embarrassment, guilt and other unwelcome emotions staining your well-being. Encouraged by the social movement and other pathways that encourage them to disclose the assault they experienced, survivors of assault are more frequently employing the legal system to compensate them for the lifetime damage and injury they have suffered.

    If you are a victim of abuse perpetrated by a member of the church, the impact of the abuse on your life and foundational belief system may be incalculable. Regardless, holding the responsible priest and institutions accountable for their crimes and indifference might provide a measure of justice and recompense to abuse victims. Commonly, victims can assert their legal rights through confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is required, a motion can be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.

    Predatory Behavior

    All abusers, to varying amounts, employ predatory tactics that are generally referred to as grooming, targeting a potential assault victim. Below is a survey of grooming actions used by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate child.

    Grooming

    Grooming is a major piece of a predator’s ploy. In a religious setting, the clergy member is revered as God’s representative. Within this environment, the predator often works closely with small amounts of children, understanding each child’s needs, weaknesses and circumstances. Once
    priest lawsuitNew York is located, these vulnerabilities – like violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – can be systematically exploited in the following ways:

    Trust

    A predator will first work to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as religious communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the priest can pretend sincere interest in the child’s wellness and development – both emotional and religious.

    Reliance

    As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential child-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 spend increased time with the priest, feeling more and more comfortable with the relationship and counting on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the potential target might receive gifts from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents such as blessings and special recognition.

    Isolation

    While grooming continues, the predator may try to isolate the possible victim. This may mean single counseling sessions, meals or various methods of one-on-one isolated encounters.

    Sexualization

    The predator might start to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and other behaviors that lead to sexual interaction. This could begin with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s response to the progression. This will escalate until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.

    Maintenance

    As the sexual relationship is created, the predator will try to maintain control over the child and the continued interaction. The predator may likely want 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 abuse on the victim can be overwhelming and life-changing. Many clergy assault survivors suffer from lifelong effects of the assault including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and problems establishing and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can assist survivors overcome these effects.

    Legally, a victim of Priest Sexual Abuse can gain financial compensation from the abuser and, more frequently, from the religious organization for its failure to protect the child 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 Abuse and would like to confidentially discuss your situation and your legal options, we are prepared to talk with you.

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