Sexual abuse by any member of the clergy, no matter what the faith, is especially tough on victims. As people of faith ourselves and clergy abuse lawyers, we are especially aware of the importance of faith in peoples’ lives and how devastating it can be to have that faith shaken. As priest abuse lawyers, we see that just like other sexual abusers, priests and clergy of many faiths will take advantage of their congregation members to commit their crimes. Their victims are both female and male, adults and children.
Asking your church, temple, synagogue or mosque to take your claim of clergy sex abuse seriously is not an attack on your faith. It’s a matter of enforcing the law. Religious institutions in NC are not above the law when it comes to sexual assaults and sex abuse.
Understanding the process
Clergy abuse attorneys are very familiar with the process of “grooming,” in which a trusted person in authority lavishes special attention on a potential victim, often for months before the abuse starts. Grooming bonds the victim to the abuser, so that when the abuse starts, the victim feels helpless to do anything about it. The grooming may involve subtle efforts to attack the victim’s self-esteem and to isolate the victim from family and friends, so that the victim will be less inclined to confide in them.
Our priest abuse attorneys are currently involved in several claims against clergy in North Carolina and South Carolina and have brought many such cases in the past.
Here are some examples of the clients we have helped with clergy sex abuse cases:
- A young member of the military who was the plaintiff in the case entitled Doe 200 v. Diocese of Raleigh. An opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals in this case makes it clear that legal claims for sexual assault because of a church’s negligence or negligent supervision do not violate the religious liberty of the church.
- Several victims of the Rev. Howard White, an Episcopal priest who served at St. George’s School in Rhode Island, which let him go after White admitted to sexually assaulting a child. The school failed to report the crime to law enforcement, so that White went on to abuse our clients and others.
- A child who was abused by his youth group leader in an independent Baptist church.
- A family who brought claims against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for failing to inform them that a sexual predator posed a danger to their children.
Sex abuse claims sometimes involve questions about whether the statute of limitations has passed, so that it’s too late to bring a claim. As clergy abuse lawyers we are very familiar with this issue, we know why a victim may have been reluctant to come forward until now, and we can discuss those issues with you.
You may be looking for legal representation, or you may just want some answers to your questions. Either way, please contact us and we will help you find the information you need to start in the healing process. Consultations in clergy abuse cases are free of charge.