Clergy Assault Overview

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Priest Sexual Abuse includes a range of immoral and unacceptable behaviors often perpetrated on young children and tweens by predatory priests or other church members involving sexual abuse of varying amounts. The abuse can be a one-off, non-consensual scroll barevent or it can include many acts inside an ongoing interaction. For instance, a continuing “trusting” interaction with a young child spawned by the predatory intent of a clergy associate, cloaked by the trust and reverence imputed to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual assault acts of molestation.

In all claimed Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the short-coming by the Clergy member’s employer to fully, adequately and immediately disclose the crime to police and other authorities, or the further failure to research, handle and resolve fully with the occurrence amplifies the effects on the abuse survivor, the community and potentially others. Recent Clergy Sexual Abuse cases reported in the press highlight these short-comings, including “pass-the-trash” situations when the abuser commonly a clergy in the Catholic Church, is quietly transferred from one church to another only to continue his predatory, criminal action on an unsuspecting parish community.

Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse and Justice
Not a week goes by without a media announcement coverage about sexual assault and molestation of children by predator clergy, or the legacy 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 likely to serve as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwelcome feelings hurting your well-being. Encouraged by the societal movement and other channels that encourage victims to disclose the assault they experienced, survivors of abuse are increasingly employing the legal system to compensate them for the life-long damage and injury they have experienced.

If you are a survivor of abuse commited by a member of the clergy, the impact of the abuse on your life and core belief system might be incalculable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible priest and institutions accountable for their crimes and failures can provide an amount of justice and recompense to abuse victims. Commonly, survivors can assert their legal rights through confidential mediation therein avoiding the need for litigation. However, if litigation is necessary, a motion may be filed where the survivor can remain anonymous.

Predatory Behavior
All predators, to varying degrees, use predatory methods that are generally known as grooming, focusing on a possible abuse victim. Following is a list of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a job of authority relative to the subordinate young child.

Grooming
Grooming is a significant piece of a predator’s ploy. In a church environment, the priest is revered as God’s representative. In this environment, the predator often works closely with small amounts of children, identifying each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and situations. Once a target is identified, these vulnerabilities – such as violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically leveraged in the following ways:

Trust
A predator will initially try to gain the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as religious communities are frequently tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the assaulter can pretend sincere interest in the child’s wellness and groeth – both emotional and religious.

Reliance
As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential child-victim and oftentimes their family, the child will begin to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The victim will 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 potential victim may receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition.
Isolation
As the grooming continues, the predator will work to isolate the possible target. This could result in individual counseling meetings, meals or various methods of one-on-one isolated encounters.
Sexualization
The predator may start to de-sensitize the child from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and other actions that lead to sexual interaction. This may begin with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to determine the victim’s response to the progression. clergy abuse Rhode Island until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
Maintenance
Once the sexual relationship is created, the predator will try to maintain control of the child and the continued interaction. The priest may likely want to manipulate the child by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the victim by whatever means necessary to maintain the immoral physical relationship.

Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors

The effect of childhood assault on the victim can be overwhelming and life-changing. Many clergy abuse 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 problems establishing and maintaining vibrant relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can help victims overcome these effects.

Legally, a victim of Priest Sexual Assault may gain financial compensation from the abuser and, more frequently, from the religious organization for its failure to protect the victim from the assault, as well as failures or deficiencies in its process 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 prepared to speak with you.