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As many of us finally begin to understand the true size and scope of the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, one question at the forefront of everyone’s mind is how are the priests being punished? Regrettably, the answer isn’t quite clear. I think the general consensus is that the Church’s the response has been a mixed bag.
One major problem is the fact that the Church often times engages in a cover up. Instead of reporting offending priests to the authorities, they try to handle the problem in house. Consequences for offending priests seem to vary. In a lot of cases, the church merely shuffles the priest off to another location instead of tackling the problem head on. This can have dire consequences for victims because in many cases the statute of limitations runs out before any legitimate investigation can be conducted.
That’s not to say that all lawsuits are nullified by time limits. In fact, some experts estimate that the Catholic Church has already paid over a billion dollars in settlements and fees. Of course that is just a drop in the bucket considering that the vast majority of victims have yet to come forward.
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Other consequences imposed by the church have included stripping priests of their right to perform duties (called defrocking). This trend has gained some favor, although many critics of the church point out the fact that the church rarely defrocks a priest until litigation and public scrutiny heats up.
It wasn’t until the 2000s that the church actually began to defrock priests and remove them from the church. Since then, the calls for prosecution have gained momentum and civil lawyers have been working hard to find ways to overcome statute of limitations that obstruct priests from being sent to jail.
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One case that actually involves jail time came to light in July of 2018 when an Archbishop in Australia was found guilty of covering up sex abuse. However, due to his ailing health, the archbishop will only serve a small amount of time.
Many catholics remain hopeful that real transparency and reform are possible. Pope Francis is definitely a transformative figure, and his progressive leanings suggest that something big might be at hand. However, it remains to be seen whether the church is now capable to handling these issues as priests continue to avoid civil penalties and jail time.
Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyers Kansas
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