A church being an abode of religious faith should be a place where people feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, for those who have fallen victim to people within these religious organizations acting as sexual predators, neither church is a protected place nor are the members of the religious order.
Religious organizations have protections that make cover-ups possible.
One of the most significant problems with sexual abuse in church settings is that many have certain levels of protection from the law, which makes it easier to keep problems concealed and private. For example, the Roman Catholic Church is protected by the Vatican’s control, which means crimes can be reported to the Vatican and not necessarily have to be reported to the law.
Unfortunately, this kind of protection can make it difficult for the judge to proceed with criminal charges because evidence frequently gets locked away. Therefore, it is critical for those who have a complaint to work with an experienced church and priest abuse attorney.
Only a fraction of sexual abuse in church organizations ever gets reported at all.
Overall, out of all sexual abuse cases, it is estimated that roughly only 30 percent of incidents ever get reported to the proper authorities. When speaking of offenses that happen at a church organization, it is possible that incidents have an even lower rate of reporting. Victims are often apprehensive about reporting incidents of abuse because:
- They fear retribution from the attacker or their parents
- They are ashamed of what happened or feel responsible for the incident on some level
- They don’t want to get the attacker in trouble because of a personal connection
- They do not want their peers to know what took place
Sexual abuse cases referred to the Vatican are at an all-time high.
As more information comes to light about sexual abuse issues within church organizations, more victims have spoken up, especially in regard to the Catholic Church. Between 2004 and 2014, there were at least 3,400 sexual abuse cases referred to the Vatican for investigation. As a result of all of these allegations, several priests have faced penalties, but many victims still live with the damages caused by their abusers.
Filing a claim against a religious organization with the help of a church and priest abuse attorney can be tough, but a knowledgeable one can help see you through. Reaching out to an experienced church and priest abuse attorney have been helping many victims of sexual abuse in Catholic church. Recently, a clergy priest who abused a child in Pennsylvania was sentenced to 14 years in jail and the child (now a man) received $2 million as a settlement. Cases of child sexual abuse continue to haunt the Catholic church.
Meanwhile, there is a campaign launched by the sexual assault survivors, Catholic groups and legal experts lobbying the United Nations to demand a plan from the Vatican to put an end to any potential future sexual abuse while ensuring due process for victims.