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Victims of clergy and church sex abuse often deal with multiple problems in addition to the pain, suffering, and humiliation of the original crimes. The victims are often children, and the perpetrators are often individuals who are in positions of power both in the church and in the community.
Often, the faith community rallies behind the perpetrator, working to cover up the abuse and protect the criminal instead of working to protect the victim. When they do, they don’t just shield the perpetrator from consequences. They expose their victims to social isolation, feelings of betrayal, and other devastating consequences.
Clergy abuse is not limited to the Catholic Church. It applies when any clergy member or staff member of any religious organization chooses to abuse their position to target any member of their congregation of any age for any sort of sexual crime.
Multiple organizations of multiple faiths tend to close ranks to cover up the crime in the hopes of protecting the reputation of the organization or the faith it is tied to. This could mean transferring the abuser to another church in another town before authorities uncover their crimes or it could mean covering for the abuser during investigations and subsequent court cases.
Despite all this, clergy members are not untouchable. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein helps victims across Philadelphia hold their abusers accountable, no matter who they are.
Though there is no legal reason to avoid pursuing one, for many of the victims of clergy abuse a criminal trial will not serve as a road to justice. The criminal justice system is notorious for failing the victims of all kinds of sexual abuse.
Victims may also pursue a civil case, which tends to be more effective when it comes to holding these abusers accountable. These cases also provide victims with a financial recovery, which can be substantial. This can offer compensation for the horrible pain and suffering caused by the offender and help pay for bills generated by the aftermath of the abuse, such as medical bills or psychological bills. Who can be held accountable in a clergy abuse case?
In a criminal trial, the direct perpetrator is the only one who may be held accountable.
In a civil trial, there are often other responsible parties. This is especially true in clergy abuse cases. If your church or religious organization participated in any kind of cover-up or enabled the abuser in any way they may be liable for damages just as surely as the direct abuser was.
Holding these institutions accountable doesn’t just provide victims and lawyers with a source of deep pockets. It sends a message, one which might make these organizations think twice before participating in cover-ups. It may cause them to start thinking about how these abuses may be prevented in the future.
If live in Philadelphia and you or a minor child in your care has been harmed by a member of the clergy, call the Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein. Daniel Hartstein has been pursuing justice for victims in cases just like yours for over 22 years.
Your consultation is confidential and free, and you can expect to be treated with empathy and respect.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney client relationship.
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