The term sexual abuse usually refers to any sexual act that is improper and against the law such as rape and sexual assault. Sexual abuse typically happens between a child and an adult. Sexual abuse attorneys represent victims of sexual abuse by priests and other officials of the Catholic Church. Since the 1990s, thousands of individuals have come forward to seek help for incidents that involve the following:
Physical Sexual Abuse (fondling, genital contact, masturbation, and intercourse)
Non-Physical Sexual Abuse (exposure, pornography, and voyeurism)
In most cases, the sexual abuse acts are ongoing and the destructive effects often follow victims into adulthood. A great number of adults across the U.S. are still suffering from mental and physical effects of clergy abuse that include: shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, and self-destructive behaviors. The effects that victims have to deal with for years may not be banished or the events when abuse happened reversed, but they may be able to find closure through the help of attorneys who have experience with sexual abuse cases.
Sexual Abuse Victims Can Obtain Compensations
Victims have legal rights to seek justice and get settlement for the damages inflicted on them by priests or clergy members. Justice often means taking the perpetrators into account for their abusive actions toward their victims; and, in most cases, pay restitution as well.
The Role of the Catholic Church
For many decades, church leaders have tried to keep the clergy abuse cases quiet and out of the public eye. The victims are ignored or paid out to remain silent; while the abusive priests were transferred from parish to parish or sent to undergo brief periods of counseling. But in recent years, as more and more of victims are coming forward; church officials are finally forced to acknowledge the systemic problem and to offer public apologies to victims. The Catholic Church was shamed and offered settlements to cases brought by abuse victims. With the help of sexual abuse attorneys, hundreds of millions of dollars had been paid to victims.
It is hard to put a dollar amount on the pain and suffering inflicted to victims, who were children and youngsters and who had looked up to their priests and clergy members with trust and respect. The innocence they lost can never be restored but obtaining a chance to voice their grievances and receiving financial compensation can help them find peace of mind and rebuild their lives.