Clergy Assault Overview
Priest Sexual Abuse includes a range of illegal and heinous acts often commited against children and adolescents by predatory priests or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying amounts. The assault can be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barevent or it might include numerous acts within an ongoing interaction. For example, an ongoing “trusting” interaction with a child created by the predatory intent of a clergy member, cloaked by the trust and respect imputed to a member of the clergy, leading to non-consensual sexual assault acts of molestation.
Within most claimed Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse scenarios, the short-coming by the Church member’s employer to completely, adequately and promptly report the offense to police and other authorities, or the continuing failure to investigate, handle and deal entirely with the occurrence increases the harm on the abuse survivor, the community and possibly others. Recent Priest Sexual Assault cases reported in the media highlight these failures, including “pass-the-trash” scenarios when the abuser commonly a priest in the Catholic Church, is silently moved from one church to another only to continue his predatory, criminal action on an unsuspecting parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse & Justice
Not a day goes by without a news announcement coverage about sexual assault and molestation of children by predator clergy, or the effects of the assault on the survivors and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse from a priest or other church member, these stories are most likely to serve as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwelcome thoughts harming your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other channels that encourage victims to disclose the assault they experienced, victims of abuse are more frequently turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifelong harm and injury they have suffered.
If abused in church Connecticut are a survivor of abuse perpetrated by a member of the church, the result of the abuse on your life and core belief system may be incalculable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible person and institutions accountable for their crimes and indifference can offer a measure of justice and recompense to assault survivors. Frequently, survivors can leverage their legal rights in confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is necessary, a case may be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.
All predators, to varying amounts, employ predatory tricks which are commonly referred to as grooming, focusing on a potential abuse victim. Following is a list of grooming actions used by predators who are in a position of authority relative to the subordinate child.
Grooming is a major 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, vulnerabilities and situations. Once a victim is located, these vulnerabilities – such as violent family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically exploited in the following ways:
An assaulter will first work to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to notice as church communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the assaulter can pretend genuine concern in the child’s wellbeing and groeth – both emotional and religious.
As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential child-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 possible victim might receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents such as blessings and special recognition.
As the grooming continues, the predator may work to isolate the possible victim. This may result in individual counseling sessions, meals or other forms of one-on-one isolated moments.
The predator might start to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and various actions that lead to sexual interaction. This may begin with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with inappropriate messages to determine the victim’s response to the progression. This will escalate until the relationship gets to one of a physical, sexual nature.
As the sexual relationship is created, the predator will work to keep control of the child and the continued interaction. The priest will likely want to manipulate the child by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the target by whatever means necessary to maintain the immoral physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The impact of childhood abuse on the victim can be overwhelming and life-altering. Many priest assault survivors suffer from long-term 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 treatment and support groups can help victims overcome these effects.
Legally, a victim of Priest Sexual Abuse may recover financial compensation from the abuser and, more frequently, from the church for its failure to protect the child from the assault, as well as failures or deficiencies in its process of reviewing and resolving to reports of assault. If you are a survivor of Priest or Clergy Sexual Assault and would like to confidentially discuss your experience and your legal options, we are ready to speak with you.