Pennsylvania Clergy Abuse Lawyers
Powerful Advocacy, Dedicated Representation, Compassionate Guidance
For children raised in religious households, their faith is often an enormous part of their life. They are taught to respect and even revere those who dedicate their lives to religion, and they see their clergy as advisors, guides, and authority figures. But when that trust is broken, and a priest, a pastor, or anyone else affiliated with the clergy assaults, abuses, or molests a child, the disastrous impact on that child’s life can be profound. It may even alter the trajectory of their life forever.
A Lifetime Struggle
Children who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member can face a lifetime struggle with depression, unwarranted guilt, and isolation. As a result, victims are at a high risk for alcoholism, drug abuse, social anxiety, suicidal thoughts and attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. They often keep the abuse a secret, and their struggles can make it harder for them to maintain bonds with family and friends or even hold down a steady job.
Sexual abuse often begins when a predator “grooms” their victim, using their position of trust and authority to slowly erode a child’s defenses. Abuse can take many forms, including:
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual threats
- Unwanted touching, with or without clothing
- Lewd acts or comments
- Sharing of pornographic images or videos
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual assaults
- Statutory rape
Statute of Limitations
Some victims of abuse will live in denial that it ever happened, hiding it deep within to avoid having to deal with the pain. In some cases, a repressed memory is triggered by something else – related or unrelated. Too often, when a victim finally summons the courage to speak up, those connected to the religious organization attempt to silence the victim or deny the allegations. But no victim should remain silent.
The statutes of limitation for molestation and sexual abuse cases vary by state. Many times, these statutes take into consideration the fact that survivors will not recognize and acknowledge the abuse until they are adults, and they will have several years after adulthood to come forward.
In Pennsylvania, there is pending legislation to remove the statute of limitations for criminal cases involving sexual abuse of a child. Moreover, the bill also proposes raising the age limit to 50 for filing a civil lawsuit. Supporters also want a two-year window during which any victim of child sex abuse could sue their abuser, regardless of how long ago the crime happened.
You may be entitled to financial compensation as a victim of sexual harassment, abuse, assault, or molestation.
You have the right to pursue justice against an abuser. Although nothing can change the past or completely take away the pain you have endured, we can help you to stand up for your rights and seek justice for the impact the abuse has had on your life. You may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical care, and psychological counseling. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Standing up and being heard can help in your journey to healing as well as protect future victims from priest abuse.
Pennsylvania Clergy Abuse Lawyers at Williams Cedar Will Be Your Trusted Advocates
If you or a loved one has been the victim of clergy abuse, we will handle your case with sensitivity and compassion. We understand the courage it takes to come forward, and we will proudly serve as your advocate, take steps to right the wrong, and recover the financial compensation you deserve so that you can heal, move on, and thrive. Please call the Pennsylvania clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation. From our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and nationwide.