Virginia Church Sex Abuse Attorneys
With an estimated 39 million people living with the scars of sexual abuse, it’s obvious the problem has become far more pervasive than initially thought. A growing number of brave people are stepping forward to discuss church sex abuse, with many known cases in the Catholic Church already exposed and more are being reported. If you’ve been sexually assaulted or inappropriately touched by a church official, you should immediately contact a Virginia church sex abuse lawyer at CHASENBOSCOLO.
Religious organizations, in an attempt to save face, may downplay your allegations. They may threaten to excommunicate you for bringing allegations to their attention, or worse. You deserve a safe place to worship, and the opportunity to be heard if priest, nun, or pastoral misconduct has shamed you to the point of fear. By calling our firm at (703) 538-1138, you’ll immediately put an ally in your corner who will fight to get you compensated.
How Church Sex Abuse Starts
It is difficult to imagine that someone would inappropriately touch, fondle, or rape those who trust them to guide them spiritually. With cases today dating back 50 years or longer, it’s an issue that’s gone unnoticed for far too long.
Once the abuse starts, it’s often hard for victims to escape. They fear repercussions from both their deity and the church official who is performing the sexual abuse. After the abuse cycle is finally broken, many victims are too ashamed or scared to discuss the incidents with loved ones or law enforcement. Years will pass, and victims may elect to come forward once they see others are doing so; in some cases, the church may fight your claim if they feel the accusations are too old.
Why Hire an Attorney for Abuse Claims?
Survivors of church sexual abuse are emotionally drained, physically battered and fear their assailants will retaliate if they report the incident to law enforcement. An attorney fears no pastor, priest, archdiocese or any church official; they’ll gladly help victims report their incidents and begin the civil tort process by collecting information and gathering medical documentation.
Putting an end to the abuse and holding those responsible accountable for their actions are common reasons for victims to employ an attorney. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you could take power back and demand justice for what you’ve endured.
How to Prove Church Sex Abuse
Like all cases of sexual misconduct or sexual assault, church sex abuse may have both criminal and civil implications, although churches are quickly setting up victim funds to pay people off before criminal charges are filed. To prove cases of sexual abuse, CHASENBOSCOLO would need to provide evidence that:
- An individual has been physically touched, raped or otherwise taken advantage of against their will within the confines of a church, or at the hands of an official of the church.
- In sustaining emotional, physical and mental injury, damages occurred.
Those damages caused economic and noneconomic losses which the church or official is entitled to pay.
Victims may hear the term “credibly accused” tossed around when they’re helping investigators and attorneys uncover sexual abuse. This term means that enough evidence exists to merit moving forward with one or more individuals who’ve been identified as potential assailants. Many times churches will hire outside investigation teams comprised of ex-military or current FBI investigators to help comb through decades of potential scandal to assure their leads are free of any sexual misconduct charges.
Church Sex Abuse Statistics
Although many reports isolate the Catholic religion, clergypersons accused of sexual abuse in all religions have amassed the tens of thousands. Here are some alarming U.S. church sex abuse statistics from a 2004 survey commissioned by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The information covers abuse from 1950-2002:
- 22.6% of abuse victims were under 10 years old;
- 80% of claims of church sex abuse were substantiated;
- 70% of clergy accused of these crimes were ordained before 1970;
- 149 priests, or 3% of all ordained, had 10 or more allegations against them;
- Female victims were normally much younger than males; and
- U.S. dioceses have paid out over $3 billion in claims up through 2009.
With many pending claims across America, victims may have billions yet to collect as each state uncovers more sex abuse scandals. To uncover sex abuse, it takes several brave individuals like you to make sexual abuse known.
Compensation in Church Sex Abuse Claims
No amount of compensation can return the victim’s innocence and sense of self-preservation taken by an abusive church official. However, compensation can help victims continue seeking closure on this horrific incident.
Several components will factor into how much victims receive; since sexual abuse is usually not covered under a church’s liability insurance policy, they’ll either need to pay from their own pockets, or from another policy that covers sexual abuse. Nonetheless, victims could receive a lump-sum payment to cover:
- Wages lost if extensive in-patient therapy or medical treatment was needed.
- Payment for pain and suffering, stress, inability to keep meaningful relationships and other forms of noneconomic damages.
- Money to cover ongoing medical expenses, including medication and psychiatric treatment.
- Punitive damages if the court feels the church in question needs to pay them.
The attorney assigned to your case will discuss how compensation in church sex abuse claims work and will work hard to get every penny you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Church Sexual Abuse
Once a Catholic clergyperson is identified as having committed an act of wrongdoing, they will approach that individual and ask them to laicize themselves, which in canon law means to remove themselves as an active clergyperson of the church. This process is saved for extreme crimes such as sexual abuse or major felonies; “defrocking” or “unfrocking” are used interchangeably with laicization.
Once laicized, the archdiocese may sentence the clergyperson to a life of prayer and penance, which is similar to isolation. Major crimes could be referred to law enforcement for outside charges, although most dioceses keep cases out of the public by passing allegations between each other, and never reporting them to police.
Victims often don’t feel like talking about their church sex abuse incident; it opens old wounds and causes depression. To prove your case, psychiatric records, medical evidence, testimony and any video evidence would help your claim tremendously..
Child sexual abuse in Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations which starts when the child turns 18. According to Virginia Code, civil actions in sexual abuse of infants or disabled persons may commence within 20 years after the abuse is conveyed to a medical professional. Check with CHASENBOSCOLO to see when claims of sexual abuse in the church must be filed.
We take church sex abuse cases without money up front. Once we agree to represent you, all case-related expenses are fronted by our firm; when your case settles, you’ll pay us from the proceeds of your settlement, and the rest is yours.
Let CHASENBOSCOLO Help You Get Justice
Many U.S. states, including Virginia, have launched investigations into the many dioceses operating within their borders. Victims are stepping forward in growing numbers, and are encouraging others to exercise their right to be heard. Church sex abuse has gotten bad enough that some churches are setting up victim funds to pay claims out of. And it’s only getting worse.
Have you or someone you love been physically or mentally abused by a priest, nun or pastor? Are you afraid of what may happen if you step forward? Let CHASENBOSCOLO help you seek justice against those who harmed you. Phone our office today at (703) 538-1138 or email us to schedule your free, confidential consultation with an experienced and compassionate member of our team today.