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Church Sexual Abuse comprises a range of immoral and improper actions commonly perpetrated on young children and tweens by predatory priests or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying degrees. The assault can be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barevent or it might include numerous assaults within a continuing interaction. For instance, an ongoing “trusting” interaction with a young child spawned by the predatory intent of a church associate, blanketed with the trust and reverence imputed to a member of the clergy, leading to non-consensual sexual abuse acts of molestation. In most alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Clergy member’s superior to fully, adequately and promptly disclose the offense to law enforcement and other authorities, or its further failure to research, address and resolve entirely with the situation amplifies the harm on the assault survivor, the community and possibly others. Current Priest Sexual Assault cases reported in the press highlight these short-comings, which includes “pass-the-trash” situations where the abuser oftentimes a clergy in the Catholic Church, is suddenly moved from one parish to another only to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an innocent parish community. Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse and Retribution Not a week passes without a news headline coverage regarding sexual abuse and molestation of children by pedophile clergy, or the effects of the assault on the victims and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse from a priest or other church member, these stories are most likely to serve as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwanted emotions harming your well-being. Encouraged by the social movement and other pathways that encourage survivors to disclose the assault they experienced, victims of assault are increasingly turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifetime harm and injury they have suffered. If you are a survivor of assault commited by a member of the church, the impact of the abuse on your life and core belief system may be incalculable. Regardless, holding the responsible clergy and institutions to blame for their crimes and failures may provide an amount of justice and recompense to assault survivors. Frequently, victims can leverage their legal rights in confidential mediation therein avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is required, a case might be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous. Predatory Behavior All predators, to varying degrees, use predatory tactics which are generally known as grooming, focusing on a possible assault victim. Following is a list of grooming actions used by predators who are in a job of authority in relation to the subordinate young child. Grooming Grooming is a major part of a predator’s ploy. In a religious environment, the clergy member is held as God’s representative. Within this setting, the predator often works closely with small amounts of children, identifying each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and situations. Once a victim is identified, these vulnerabilities – such as tumultuous family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – can be systematically exploited in the following ways: Trust An assaulter will first work to gain the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to notice as church communities are often tight-knit and personal relation with clergy is commonplace. Here, the predator can pretend genuine concern in the child’s wellbeing and groeth – both emotional and religious. Reliance As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family members, the child will begin to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling.

https://www.meneolawgroup.com/personal-injury/clergy-sexual-abuse/by-state may devote increased time with the priest, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and relying on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the possible target might receive gifts from the priest, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition. Isolation As the grooming progresses, the predator might work to isolate the potential target. This could mean individual counseling sessions, meals or other forms of one-on-one isolated moments. Sexualization The predator might start to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and other actions that lead to sexual interaction. This could begin with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with inappropriate messages to determine 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 created, the predator will try to keep control over the child and the continued interaction. The predator will likely want to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the victim by whatever methods necessary to maintain the inappropriate physical relationship. Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors The effect of childhood abuse on the survivor can be overwhelming and life-altering. Many clergy assault 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 treatment and support groups can help victims overcome these effects. Legally, a survivor of Priest Sexual Assault may gain financial compensation from the abuser and, more frequently, from the religious organization for its failure to protect the child from the assault, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and resolving to reports of abuse. 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 ready to speak with you.

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by Dr. Radut.