Clergy Assault Overview

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Church Sexual Abuse includes a range of immoral and heinous actions frequently perpetrated on kids and tweens by pedophilic priests or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying amounts. The assault can be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barevent or it can include several assaults inside an ongoing interaction. For clergy abuse Waterbury Connecticut , an ongoing “trusting” relationship with a child created by the predatory behavior of a clergy associate, cloaked by the trust and reverence provided to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.

Within all alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the short-coming by the Clergy member’s employer to entirely, adequately and promptly disclose the offense to police and other authorities, or the further failure to investigate, cope with and deal entirely with the situation increases the effects on the assault survivor, the community and potentially others. Current Clergy Sexual Abuse cases reported in the press uncover these short-comings, that includes “pass-the-trash” scenarios where the predator commonly a priest in the Catholic Church, is secretly re-assigned from one church to another only to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an innocent parish community.

Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse and Justice
Not a week goes by without a news announcement coverage about sexual abuse and molestation of children by predator priests, or the effects of the assault on the victims and their families. If you are a victim of sexual assault from a priest or other church member, these stories are most likely to act as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, shame, guilt and various unwanted emotions staining your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other channels that encourage them to reveal the assault they experienced, survivors of abuse are increasingly turning to the legal system to compensate them for the life-long damage and injury they have suffered.

If you are a victim of assault commited by a member of the church, the impact of the abuse on your life and core belief system might be immeasurable. Regardless, holding the responsible clergy and institutions accountable for their crimes and failures might provide a measure of justice and recompense to abuse victims. Frequently, survivors can assert their legal rights in confidential mediation therein avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is necessary, a motion might be filed where the survivor can remain anonymous.

Predatory Behavior
All predators, to varying amounts, employ predatory tricks which are generally known as grooming, tracking a potential assault victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors used by predators who are in a position of authority relative to the subordinate child.

Grooming
Grooming is a major part of a predator’s strategy. In a religious environment, 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, vulnerabilities and situations. Once a target is identified, these vulnerabilities – such as violent family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – might be systematically leveraged in the following ways:

Trust
An assaulter will first work to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as church communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the predator can pretend genuine interest in the child’s wellbeing and groeth – both emotional and religious.

Reliance
As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family members, the child will begin to rely more and more on the predator for any need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The child will devote more 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 possible victim may receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition.
Isolation
While grooming progresses, the predator will try to isolate the potential target. This could result in solo counseling meetings, meals or various forms of one-on-one isolated encounters.
Sexualization
The predator might begin to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and various behaviors that lead to sexual interaction. This might start with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s response to the progression. This will continue until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
Maintenance
Once the sexual relationship is established, the predator will work to keep control over the child and the continuing interaction. The priest will likely want to manipulate the child by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the victim by whatever means necessary to maintain the inappropriate physical relationship.

Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors

The effect of childhood assault on the survivor can be overwhelming and life-altering. Many 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 creating and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized treatment 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 church for its failure to protect the victim from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and resolving to reports of abuse. If you are a survivor of Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse and would like to confidentially discuss your experience and your legal options, we are ready to talk with you.