Mcknight Andrews posted an update 1 week, 3 days ago
Clergy Abuse encompasses a wide-range of immoral and unacceptable actions often commited against kids and tweens by predatory clergy or other church employees involving sexual assault of varying amounts. The assault might be a single, non-consensual scroll barevent or it might involve numerous acts inside a continuing interaction. For example, a continuing “trusting” relationship with a child spawned by the predatory intent of a clergy associate, cloaked by the trust and reverence provided to a member of the clergy, leading to non-consensual sexual assault acts of molestation.
Within nearly all claimed Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Clergy member’s employer to completely, adequately and promptly report the offense to law enforcement and other authorities, or the further failure to investigate, address and deal entirely with the situation increases the effects on the abuse survivor, the community and possibly others. Recent Priest Sexual Abuse cases reported in the press highlight these failures, which includes “pass-the-trash” scenarios when the predator oftentimes a priest in the Catholic Church, is secretly transferred from one church to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal action on an unsuspecting parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse & Retribution
Not a day passes without a news headline reporting regarding 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 victim of sexual abuse from a priest or other clergy member, these stories are most likely to act as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and various unwanted thoughts hurting your well-being. Encouraged by the social movement and other pathways that encourage victims to reveal the assault they suffered, survivors of assault are increasingly employing the legal system to compensate them for the life-long damage and injury they have experienced.
If you are a survivor of assault perpetrated by a member of the clergy, the result of the abuse on your life and core belief system can be incalculable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible clergy and institutions to blame for their crimes and indifference may provide a measure of justice and recompense to assault victims. Frequently, victims can leverage their legal rights through confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. However, if litigation is necessary, a case might be filed where the plaintiff can remain anonymous.
All abusers, to varying amounts, employ predatory methods which are commonly referred to as grooming, focusing on a possible abuse victim. Following is a survey of grooming actions used by predators who are in a job of authority relative to the subordinate young child.
Grooming is a significant piece of a predator’s ploy. In a religious environment, the clergy member is held as God’s representative. In this environment, the predator frequently works closely with small numbers of children, understanding each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and circumstances. Once a victim is located, these vulnerabilities – such as tumultuous family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically exploited in the following ways:
An assaulter will initially work to gain the child’s trust. This step is most difficult to notice as church communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the assaulter can feign sincere interest in the child’s wellness and groeth – both emotional and religious.
As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential target and oftentimes their family, the child will start to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the priest is exploiting and fulfilling. The victim will spend increased time with the priest, feeling more and more comfortable with the relationship and relying on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the possible victim may receive gifts from the priest, including valuable, intangible gifts like blessings and special recognition.
As the grooming continues, the predator will try to isolate the potential target. This could mean single counseling meetings, meals or other forms of one-on-one isolated moments.
The predator will start to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and other actions that lead to sexual interaction. This could start with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with inappropriate messages to determine the victim’s response to the progression. This will continue until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature.
Once the sexual relationship is established, the predator will work to keep control over the child and the continued interaction. The predator may likely want to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the victim feel special and worthy. The predator will keep exploiting the victim by whatever means necessary to maintain the inappropriate physical relationship.
Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors
The effect of childhood assault on the victim can be overwhelming and life-changing. Several priest assault survivors suffer from long-term effects of the abuse including depression, disturbed sleeping, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and eating patterns, and problems creating and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized treatment and support groups can assist survivors overcome these effects.
Legally, a victim of Clergy Sexual Abuse may gain financial compensation from the predator 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 process of reviewing and responding to reports of assault. If you are a survivor 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.