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Clergy Abuse encompasses a wide-range of immoral and unacceptable actions commonly perpetrated on young children and tweens by predatory priests or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying degrees. The sexual assault can be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barevent or it may involve several assaults inside a continuing interaction. For example, a continuing “trusting” interaction with a child spawned by the predatory intent of a church member, blanketed with the trust and reverence provided to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation. In nearly all claimed Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse scenarios, the short-coming by the Clergy member’s employer to entirely, adequately and immediately disclose the offense to law enforcement and other authorities, or its continuing failure to research, cope with and deal fully with the occurrence amplifies the harm on the abuse survivor, the community and potentially others. Current Church Sexual Assault cases reported in the press highlight these failures, that includes “pass-the-trash” situations where the predator commonly a priest in the Catholic Church, is silently transferred from one church to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal action on an innocent parish community. Priest and Clergy Sexual Assault & Justice Not a week goes by without a media headline coverage about sexual assault and molestation of children by predator clergy, or the aftermath of the abuse on the victims and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual assault from a priest or other clergy member, these articles are likely to serve as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwelcome emotions harming your wellness. Encouraged by the societal movement and other pathways that encourage victims to disclose the assault they suffered, victims of abuse are more frequently turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifelong damage and injury they have experienced. If you are a survivor of abuse commited by a priest, the impact of the abuse on your life and foundational belief system might be immeasurable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible clergy and institutions to blame for their crimes and failures might offer an amount of justice and recompense to abuse survivors. Commonly, survivors can leverage their legal rights in confidential mediation therein avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is required, a case can be filed where the victim can remain anonymous. Abusive Behavior All abusers, to varying amounts, employ predatory methods that are generally referred to as grooming, focusing on a possible assault victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority relative to the subordinate young child. Grooming Grooming is a major piece of a predator’s strategy. In a church setting, the clergy member is viewed as God’s representative. Within this environment, the predator frequently works closely with small numbers of children, understanding each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and circumstances. Once

https://www.meneolawgroup.com/personal-injury/clergy-sexual-abuse/blog/n... is identified, these vulnerabilities – like tumultuous family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – might be systematically leveraged in the following ways: Trust A predator will initially work to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as church communities are frequently tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the predator can feign sincere concern in the child’s wellness and development – both emotional and religious. Reliance As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family members, the child will start to rely more and more on the predator for any need it is that the predator is exploiting and fulfilling. The child will devote increased time with the predator, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and counting on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the potential victim might receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents such as blessings and special recognition. Isolation As the grooming continues, the predator will work to isolate the possible victim. This might mean solo counseling sessions, meals or other methods of one-on-one isolated moments. Sexualization The predator may start to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and other behaviors that lead to sexual interaction. This might start with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with suggestive messages to gauge the victim’s response to the progression. This will continue until the relationship gets to one of a physical, sexual nature. Maintenance Once the sexual relationship is established, the predator will try to maintain control over the child and the continued interaction. The predator will likely want to manipulate the child by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the target by whatever means needed to maintain the immoral physical relationship. Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors The impact of childhood abuse on the victim can be severe and life-altering. Several clergy abuse survivors suffer from long-term effects of the assault including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and problems creating and keeping vibrant relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can assist victims overcome these effects. Legally, a victim of Priest Sexual Assault may gain financial compensation from the predator and, more commonly, from the church for its failure to shield the victim from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its process of reviewing and resolving to reports of assault. If you are a victim of Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse and would like to confidentially discuss your experience and your legal options, we are prepared to speak with you.



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by Dr. Radut.