Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer - Priest Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and Settlements

If you were sexually abused as a child by a priest, deacon or any other member of the Catholic Church, you are not aloneWe are here to help you.  Please fill out our confidential online contact form or call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 and a Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your possible case.   Help is available nationwide.  There is no cost to investigate and there are no legal fees unless you receive financial compensation.  Making the call is sometimes the hardest step, but it is often a necessary step on the road to healing.  Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Reasons to call

  • Hold the church and priests accountable
  • Prevent this from happening to someone else
  • Help with the road to recovery – settlement money can provide financial security for you.  It can also help pay for therapy, rehabilitation, and medical treatment

Please call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 or fill out our confidential contact form and a lawyer will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your case.  Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Recidivism Rates of Child Sexual Offenders

One of the biggest fears of the community when it comes to child sexual offenders is having them released to live within close proximity to their children. Safeguards, such as Megan’s Law, provide the public with information on moderate- and high-risk offenders of sexual crimes, but some wonder if that is enough. There is a general stereotype through society that those who sexually abuse children are going to do it again, but the current research shows a potentially different story.

Consider the following scientific study statistics for recidivism (reoffending) of various types of sexual offenders at five, 10, and 15 years after release: 

• Extended Incest Child Molesters: 6%, 9%, 13%
• Child Molesters (Girl Victims): 9%, 13%, 16%
• Child Molesters (Boy Victims): 23%, 28%, 35%

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

While these numbers may seem low compared to the general consensus of society on the danger of repeat child sex offenders, there are several things to take into consideration when examining these results:

• Disclosure Rates: In general, only approximately one-third of child sexual abuse cases are disclosed to authorities, leaving a large number of potential victims unaccounted for. With the high number of unreported cases, there are potentially far more victims that have been assaulted or abused by a previously convicted offender than reflected in the data.

• Prosecution: Not all sex offenders are found, charged, and criminally punished for their crimes. This goes hand-in-hand with low disclosure rates, but our justice system also plays a part in this. Some offenders may be found innocent, when in fact they are guilty of child sexual abuse, and others may be charged with lesser crimes on behalf of a plea deal. Statistics also show that some offenders may have a large number of victims (70+) before they are caught, and they may not be prosecuted for all of the instances.

• Honesty of Offender: This data relies on the ability of the justice system to catch and prosecute repeat offenders. It also has to take into account the confession of offenders as to repeat offenses. In research done by Anna Salter, it showed that offenders who were in an incarcerated treatment program only admitted to three victims on average. When they were faced with taking a polygraph test as a condition of staying in the program, their confessed average for victims was 175 each. 

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Although child sexual abuse offenses are being brought to light across the country through increased awareness and greater legislative control, there are still many questions regarding the true recidivism rates of offenders. While it is promising that data shows generally low rates of re-offense, future research also should take into account the other factors that may be present when it comes to the validity of the rates.    

Child Sexual Abuse in Private Schools

Sexual abuse can happen to any child, and the vast majority of offenders come from within the social circle of the victim. Over 90% of all child sexual abuse cases involve a perpetrator that knows their victim, whether through school, religious instruction, extracurricular activities, or family. With the amount of time that children spend in school every year, the educational system is at risk of sexual offenders having access to vulnerable children, and private schools have recently come under-fire across the country for this reason.
Over the last several years, several well-known private schools have been at the center of child sexual abuse scandals. Some of the most publicized cases have involved schools such as:

• Kent School
• St. George’s School
• Taft School
• Milton Academy
• Fessenden School

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

However, these aren’t the only private schools on the list. In fact, there have been claims of child sexual abuse against at least 67 private schools in the Northeast between 1991 and 2016. These claims involved over 200 students across 90+ lawsuits. As a result of these charges, more than 37 school employees have been fired or forced to resign, with dozens more being convicted of child sexual abuse crimes.

In general, private schools are thought to be prestigious organizations where children from affluent families are given a strong educational background. In many of these cases, the schools are also boarding schools where children live within the facility. However, the influx of allegations against private schools across the country is bringing their safety into question.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Child sexual abuse is most prominent in environments where there is a distinct imbalance of power and control. Children that attend a private school, specifically a boarding school, are often living and learning in strictly controlled, isolated environments that make it easier for child sexual abuse to be hidden.

While private education remains a popular choice for thousands of families across the country, parents and caregivers also need to take note of the various allegations that are coming forward and be aware of any changes they see in their children that may be a warning sign of sexual abuse occurring. Sexual abuse is not always evident, and often, the school employees that are convicted of these crimes have a decades-long history of committing this type of abuse.

Priest Sexual Abuse Settlements

Although many of the schools at the center of the controversies have released statements expressing their apologies and have worked to make changes within their organizations, it is evident that there is still much to be done to ensure that private schools meet the strictest standards of safety in preventing child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse in Public Schools

Over the last several years, private schools and religious organizations have been at the center of highly publicized child sexual abuse scandals. However, sexual abuse of a child can occur anywhere especially in places where there is an imbalance of power. This makes public school systems also susceptible to exposing children to sexual abuse, and there have been several publicized cases across the county and in New York where this has occurred.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Many different factors play into the risk of child sexual abuse in public schools, including:

• Inadequate training for teachers and school personnel
• District cover-ups of abuse claims that have been made
• Failure to complete proper background checks on teachers and employees
• Limited guidance and oversight from the U.S. Department of Education

A Federal report showed that the statistics for child sexual abuse in schools is alarming at an estimated 9.6% of K-12 students. The perpetrators can involve many different types of individuals in the public school system, including coaches, teachers, bus drivers, and principals.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Part of the problem, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is that there is not a nationwide, systemic approach to reporting and preventing child sexual abuse in schools. While many schools across the nation have taken proactive steps in providing further education and training in sexual abuse to students and school personnel, it is obvious that more still needs to be done to protect students.

Sexual Abuse in New York Public Schools 

The New York public school system has not been immune to claims of child sexual abuse. In 2016, three different schools in New York City had allegations of sexual misconduct against students. In these cases, the students were victimized again by being suspended from the school, further deepening the culture of victim blaming within society. An attorney representing the victims claimed that the school system mishandled the allegations and called for an investigation from both the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

A main issue that is identified in sexual abuses cases involving public schools is the overall dismissal or cover-up of the crimes. Similar Phase 1 has ended.  Phase 2 began to the issues with sexual abuse of children in religious institutions, those involved in public school cases have been accused of handling the claims internally, shuffling around teachers, and not reporting abuse to the proper authorities. While teachers in the state of New York are considered mandated reporters, New York law only requires that they report abuse of a child if the perpetrator is the parent. These laws do little to protect vulnerable children in sexual abuse situations, and many individuals throughout the local government have called for statewide reform of laws governing child sexual abuse. 

Victim Blaming in Child Sexual Abuse

The psychological effects of childhood sexual abuse can extend to every aspect of a victim’s life, and the issues that the abuse cause can last for a lifetime. One of the most prominent emotions felt in someone who has been a victim of sexual abuse is shame. This feeling of shame comes from many sources, but it is made much worse by lack of support during disclosure and the prevalence of “victim blaming”.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Victim blaming often begins with the perpetrator, who uses blame as a way to control the victim to prevent him or her from exposing the abuse that is taking place. With children, this has a compounded effect due to their tendency to self-blame when negative situations happen within their lives. This tendency towards self-blame is also evident in other forms of trauma, such as death of a loved one or the divorce of their parents.

Beyond the perpetrator’s influence and the self-blame experienced by child sexual abuse survivors, there is also a cultural aspect to victim blaming. Whether others around the victims blame them for the way they dress, their behavior, or because they “enticed” the perpetrator, this society-wide tendency towards victim blaming can have devastating effects on the emotional and mental well-being of the victims.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Experts suggest that this tendency towards victim blaming is based in the feeling of control. Being confronted with the reality of child sexual abuse can be extremely upsetting and alarming to those that the victims disclose this information to. It may also severely challenge their reality of family members or trusted adults that may be exposed as involved in the abuse. These individuals may turn around and blame the victims in an attempt to find their own semblance of control within the situation. This fear of victim blaming may also contribute to the lack of or delay of disclosure for victims, as well as towards the low rates of abuse being reported to the authorities.

When a victim is blamed for the abuse that they suffered, their emotional and mental state can become severely compromised. In general, victims tend to experience depression and anxiety disorders, as well as PTSD, as a result of the abuse, and being blamed for the experience can contribute to a downward emotional spiral. In order to help victims and bring perpetrators to justice, there needs to a cultural shift in how victims of child sexual abuse are viewed, treated, and supported.  

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Process of Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Research shows that one in 10 children is the victim of sexual abuse, and these cases can often go undetected or undisclosed for years. In the vast majority of cases, the offender is someone within the social circle of the child, whether it is a family member, coach, teacher, religious instructor, or babysitter. It is estimated that sexual abuse is only disclosed and reported in around 30% of cases, making it even more important that those who interact with children are aware of the signs of abuse.

Common signs of sexual abuse in a child include:

• New and intense fears surrounding a person or place
• Behavioral changes, including withdrawing, mood swings, or distancing
• Age-inappropriate knowledge of sexual behavior and/or language
• Extreme changes in sleep patterns and eating habits
• Regression to “young”, child-like behavior in older children

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Although these signs can all have multiple causes, sexual abuse is a cause that caregivers, parents, and professionals need to be aware of when dealing with children. If child abuse is disclosed or you have direct knowledge of sexual abuse having occurred, immediately reporting the abuse is essential for the safety of the child.    

Reporting Sexual Abuse of a Child in New York

Every state has its own procedure for reporting sexual abuse of a child. The state of New York has categories of professionals who are mandated reporters, meaning that they are obligated by law to report child sexual abuse to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR). However, mandated reporters are only required to inform this organization of sexual abuse that is being perpetrated by a parent.

Priest Sexual Abuse Attorney

Whether you are an individual who has become aware of sexual abuse or a mandated reporter, it is important to understand the process for reporting the claim. If a parent is involved in the abuse, anyone can call SCR anonymously to report their suspicions. This call line is open 24 hours a day, and it is staffed by trained professionals who will evaluate the claim and make a referral to the local child protective services if deemed necessary.
If abuse has been disclosed or you suspect abuse that is not perpetrated by a parent, the proper course of action is to call the local authorities. They can handle the investigation into the case and file criminal charges if deemed necessary.

Individuals may hesitate to report sexual abuse of a child based on fear, concerns over the family dynamic, or uncertainty into the validity of the claim. However, any disclosure by a child should be treated as fact, and it is always advised to report abuse immediately to ensure that all claims are properly handled and investigated.

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Role of Mental Health Professionals in Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a pervasive problem in the United States, and determining accurate data for the number of children affected every year is complicated due to the often delayed disclosure of the abuse. Fear, threats, and trauma can all play a role in victims delaying the disclosure of abuse until adulthood, but regardless of when the abuse is disclosed, the long-term effects can be extremely debilitating. Aside from the physical trauma of sexual abuse in childhood, victims can also experience a range of mental health effects, including:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Behavioral Issues
• Addiction

Mental health professionals play an important role in the overall treatment of children who have been sexually abused. They are also mandated reporters by law, and they can play a role in reporting abuse that is disclosed to them by their existing patients. 

Priest Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Providing Mental Health Treatment for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

The safety of the child is of the utmost importance after sexual abuse has been disclosed, but treatment of child sexual abuse can be a lifelong process. Mental health professionals are important for the overall prognosis of children and adults who have been sexually abused, and they can offer a variety of therapeutic treatments depending on the specific needs of the abuse survivor.

Mental health treatment for childhood sexual abuse has been shown to have a dramatically positive effect on the long-term well-being of the victim, and common therapeutic methods include:

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This method can be used on a one-on-one basis or in a group therapy setting, and it has a primary goal of helping the patient learn emotional coping techniques. It is also shown to be invaluable in reducing anxiety, treating PTSD symptoms, and helping the victim and caregiver learn how to avoid emotional triggers.

• Image Rehearsal Therapy: IRT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is used specifically for children that experience debilitating nightmares as a result of PTSD from the abuse.

• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: EMDR is a highly effective therapy that helps those with traumatic experiences reprocess their memories and the negative emotions attached to them.

Priest Sexual Abuse Settlements

Mental health professionals that are treating children who have been sexually abused benefit from extensive training in the various aspects of this specific trauma. Whether the patient is a child who recently experienced the abuse or an adult survivor who is just beginning to process and work through the trauma of their childhood, sensitivity to the individual needs of each patient is essential to find the right mental health treatment method to assist them with healing and moving forward.

Call Today: 1-866-777-2557

Priest Sexual Abuse Victims Lawyer - Free Confidential Consultation - 1-866-777-2557

Call Toll Free 1-866-777-2557 for a Free, Confidential Consultation.  No Legal Fees Unless You Receive Settlement. 

Were You Abused?

Priest Sex Abuse Lawyer