Churchgoers should feel safe in their place of worship. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, as clergy members can take advantage of them, especially children.
If you or your loved one has suffered abuse from a clergy member, hiring a San Antonio clergy abuse lawyer at our firm can help you recover your much-deserved compensation. Dolman Law Group offers free consultations and affordable legal support for victims and their families.
Fighting Back Against a History of Sexual Abuse
While many clergy abuse cases go unreported, the church officials don't always handle the reported ones with the seriousness they deserve. If anything, the worst that happens to the perpetrators is that they are transferred to other locations, which allows them to continue their heinous activities and harm more children.
- In early 2019, the Archdiocese of San Antonio released the names of about 55 members of the clergy that were accused of sexual abuse since 1940.
- The report expressed remorse from the Church and promised to investigate the abuse allegations against their priests. Still, more people continue to report their cases.
The effects of such forms of abuse are devastating and long-lasting. We cannot rely on churches to bring the abusers forward, especially with a history of protecting guilty clergymen. It's crucial for victims to file their claims and let the law take its course.
The Effects of Clergy Abuse on Victims
As a community, we try as much as possible to show victims of clergy abuse that what happened was not their fault and that they should avoid blaming themselves. Unfortunately, many carry around the shame and guilt over what happened for the rest of their lives.
These are other effects of clergy abuse that victims face:
- Victims tend to believe it was their fault for enduring abuse.
- They feel that they are gullible, naïve, or not cautious enough.
- Many victims experience a faith crisis.
- They struggle with strained family relationships.
- Victims who speak out are often shamed or stigmatized.
Crisis of Faith
Church members teach their children that houses of worship are safe places for everyone and that clergymen are leaders of these parishes and must be respected. If the same people you trust end up abusing you in any form, you might question your faith or church as a whole.
- Abuse by the clergy may be described as a “unique betrayal” or the “ultimate deception.”
- Many victims have highlighted that clergy-perpetrated abuse marked the end of their faith in their church.
- Some opt for other forms of spiritual meaning in their lives, while others do away with religion entirely.
Strained Family Relationships
In San Antonio, clergy abuse victims find it difficult to trust people, and understandably so. Similarly, parents can't imagine that the people they trusted their children with are the same ones that harmed them. They struggle to maintain a relationship with their kids because they feel they let them down.
Stigma Leading to Personal Issues
Since their parents or guardians trust the Church and its leadership, children might be afraid to report what happened for fear of getting scolded or dismissed.
The victim will feel stigmatized, especially if they are blamed, disbelieved, or judged. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research has shown that such victims usually end up with mental health conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
You can include the effects of these conditions, along with pain and suffering, as non-economic damages under your claim.
Fear of Reporting
All of these other factors can affect whether these crimes are reported on time. In the state of Texas, how long you have to take legal action against the other party varies based on the type of case you're pursuing, the age of the victim, and many other circumstances. Your lawyer can help you know when to file.
How San Antonio Clergy Abuse Victims Can Get Help
Regardless of how hard it might seem, you can get the help you deserve. Even though the people of San Antonio enjoy the freedom of worship, some federal laws govern everybody. Aside from the law enforcement that can criminally pursue clergy-perpetrated cases of abuse, you can choose to file a civil lawsuit and take your perpetrator head-on.
Through the lawsuit, you can also recover the costs for monetary damages like these:
- Medical expenses incurred while treating your injuries
- Mental anguish
- Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Do You Need a Clergy Abuse Lawyer on Our Team to File Your Claim?
A clergy abuse claim means that you are going head to head with the person you probably respected for the better part of your life. You are also going up against an institution that wants to preserve its face. The law doesn't require you to hire a lawyer, but one could benefit your case.
Our law firm has the resources to go up against anybody without intimidation. Your lawyer will help you:
- Gather critical evidence
- Represent you in negotiations
- Interview witnesses
- Maintain communication with other parties
- File a lawsuit
- Take your claim to court
We don't charge any upfront costs or fees, so you can feel confident in pursuing the money you deserve. Because we work on a contingency basis, you won't pay anything unless we win or settle.
Retain the Help of a San Antonio Clergy Abuse Lawyer with Dolman Law Group
For residents of San Antonio and its surrounding neighbors, Dolman Law Group is here for all your legal needs. We understand the sensitivity of clergy abuse cases and are ready to help you. Reach out to us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation today.
San Antonio Office
921 S St Mary's St #2
San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: (210) 361-2039