Clergy Assault Overview
Clergy Sexual Abuse comprises a range of immoral and unacceptable acts often commited on kids and tweens by pedophilic priests or other church members involving sexual assault of varying amounts. The sexual assault might be a one-off, non-consensual scroll barevent or it can include numerous acts within a continuing interaction. For instance, a continuing “trusting” relationship with a child created by the predatory intent of a church associate, cloaked by the trust and reverence imputed to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.
In most alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse scenarios, the failure by the Clergy member’s employer to fully, adequately and immediately disclose the offense to law enforcement and other authorities, or its continuing failure to research, cope with and resolve entirely with the situation increases the effects on the abuse survivor, the community and possibly others. Current Church Sexual Assault cases reported in the media uncover these short-comings, including “pass-the-trash” scenarios where the predator oftentimes a priest in the Catholic Church, is secretly transferred from one parish to another only to continue his predatory, criminal action on an innocent parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Assault & Justice
Not a day goes by without a news headline coverage regarding 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 victim of sexual abuse from a priest or other clergy member, these reports are likely to act as an echo chamber, replaying the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwelcome emotions staining your wellness. Encouraged by the societal movement and other pathways that encourage them to reveal the assault they experienced, survivors of abuse are more frequently turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifetime harm and injury they have suffered.
If you are a victim of assault commited by a member of the clergy, the result of the abuse on your life and foundational belief system may be incalculable. Regardless, holding the responsible clergy and institutions to blame for their crimes and failures might provide a measure of justice and recompense to abuse victims. Oftentimes, victims can assert their legal rights in confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. However, if litigation is required, a case may be filed where the victim can remain anonymous.
All abusers, to varying amounts, use predatory tricks which are generally referred to as grooming, targeting a potential assault victim. Below is a list of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a job of authority in relation to the subordinate child.
Grooming is a significant piece of a predator’s ploy. In a religious environment, the clergy member is viewed as God’s representative. In this environment, the predator often works closely with small amounts of children, identifying each child’s needs, weaknesses and situations. Once a target is identified, these vulnerabilities – like violent family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – can be systematically exploited in the following ways:
A predator will first work to gain the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as religious communities are frequently tight-knit and personal relation with clergy is commonplace. Here, priest lawsuitTexas 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 child-victim and oftentimes their family members, the child will start to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the predator is exploiting and fulfilling. The child may spend increased 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 target might receive gifts from the priest, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition.
While grooming progresses, the predator will work to isolate the possible target. This might result in individual counseling sessions, meals or other methods of one-on-one isolated moments.
The predator will begin to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and various actions that lead to sexual interaction. This may begin with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s reaction to the progression. This will continue until the relationship gets to one of a physical, sexual nature.
As the sexual relationship is created, the predator will try to maintain control of the child and the continued interaction. The predator may likely seek to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the target by whatever ways necessary to maintain the inappropriate physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The effect of childhood assault on the survivor can be severe and life-changing. Several clergy abuse 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 difficulty creating and keeping vibrant relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can help victims overcome these effects.
Legally, a survivor of Priest Sexual Assault may recover financial compensation from the predator and, more frequently, from the religious organization for its failure to shield the victim from the assault, as well as failures or deficiencies in its process of reviewing and responding to reports of abuse. 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 speak with you.