Clearwater Clergy Abuse Lawyer

May 5, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Clergy abuse is one of the most heinous crimes. However, our Clearwater clergy abuse lawyers can pursue victim's personal injury claims for damages. Your lawyer could help you build a solid case and hold the perpetrator accountable.  

Understanding Clergy Abuse

Clergy sexual abuse victims are survivors with special rights and protections under the law. Survivors are entitled to damages if they can prove the defendant knew or should have known that the sexual abuse occurred. This is called "deliberate indifference" on the part of the defendant.

Proving deliberate indifference can be done by presenting other church leaders' statements or documents you've found in your research. For example, a document in which another church leader discusses how the perpetrator was accused of molesting children in the past could serve as evidence that the defendant knew what was happening.

Once you've proven deliberate indifference, you can move forward with your case against the defendant, who may be liable for actual damages. They might compensate you for pain and suffering, punitive damages (punishment for intentional wrongdoing), and attorney's fees if there were any violations of civil rights laws.

Examples of Sexual Abuse By a Clergy Member

Although many cases of clergy sexual abuse are rarely reported and prosecuted, their effects can be long-lasting, causing severe trauma and anxiety that can last a lifetime. If a clergyman has abused you or someone you know, learn your legal rights.

There are many different types of sexual misconduct clergy members can perpetrate against children and adults. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Preying on a child's emotional needs
  • Kissing or touching without consent
  • Exploiting physical needs (e.g., seducing victims with alcohol or drugs)
  • Fostering an environment that allows abuse to occur
  • Rape or attempt to rape

If a clergy member has sexually abused you, treatment from a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist can. Also, talk to a lawyer for legal help protecting your rights.

Compensation to Seek in a Clergy Abuse Claim

If a clergy member has sexually abused you or a loved one, you can hire an attorney who'll fight for your rights. Your attorney will help you seek compensation for any injuries or suffering you have faced from the abuse. 

Kinds of compensation abuse victims secure include: 

Past and Future Medical Expenses

Sexual abuse often results in psychological trauma. Some victims suffer from various mental health conditions after abuse. Victims may need therapy to overcome their trauma. They may also require medication to help them cope with their symptoms.

Emotional Pain and Suffering

While physical injuries are more straightforward to document than emotional ones, the impact of sexual abuse is just as severe regarding emotional pain and suffering. Victims might experience loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, fear, anxiety, anger, humiliation, and more due to what they've been through.

Lost Wages Due to the Emotional Distress

Victims can also be compensated for wages they lose due to sexual abuse. For example, if someone has trouble keeping a job because they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression or cannot complete schoolwork because of the abuse, they can be compensated. 

Punitive Damages

This type of financial award is given to punish wrongdoers and compensate victims for their losses. In many cases involving clergy abuse, punitive damages will not be available unless the offending priest has been convicted of a crime related to the abuse or if their actions were particularly egregious.

How a Clearwater Clergy Abuse Lawyer Can Help

If you've been the victim of clergy abuse, you know it can profoundly impact your life. The emotional trauma and stress accompanying such abuse can take a severe toll on your life—your physical health, mental well-being, relationships, and even your ability to earn a living or raise a family. 

Your lawyer will aim to get the compensation you need for the embarrassment, abuse, and negligence you've undergone through your abuser. They can do this through collecting evidence. Your lawyer will research the background of your pastor and their history with the law, to begin. 

If you're suffering from the effects of clergy abuse, you may wonder if there's a way to move forward in your life. Hiring the services of a clergy abuse lawyer could help you get the justice you deserve. An attorney serving Clearwater can provide you with the counseling, support, and legal guidance you need to begin the process of getting closure.

Abusive Clergy Members Violate the Trust of Their Communities

It's not uncommon for predatory priests to target children, particularly the vulnerable, because they can be easily manipulated. Additionally, a victim's parents are often unaware that their children are being abused and don't report it because they believe the clergy is responsible for their child's spiritual care. 

However, don't hesitate to report clergy sexual abuse if you suspect that your pastor has been sexually abusing you or another person. Our team knows that processing this situation is difficult, but we can stand by your side as you do so. 

Contact the Dolman Law Group for a Free Case Review

When a child or adult is abused by a pastor, priest, reverend, or other church officials, they experience traumatic effects. The situation is even more serious if it's physical or sexual abuse. Clergy sexual abuse is a heinous crime that involves the betrayal of trust and the violation of innocence.

For this reason, consult Dolman Law Group to hold the perpetrator accountable. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are ready to advocate for you and your family. You do not have to deal with this alone; you can turn to our staff with experience handling these cases.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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