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Clergy Abuse Scars Victims

May 17, 2008
Sexual abuse of a child is the gravest betrayal of trust. It prematurely terminates a portion of childhood and its innocents. It scars its victims. It radically changes the child's personal relationships. It destroys trust. It devastates self image and self esteem. It predisposes its victims to failed relationships, substance abuse, anti-social behavior and shame. Sexual abuse changes every part of victim's life and the lives around them.

When the sexual abuse is at the hands of a member of the clergy -- those who we bestow a high degree of trust and who stand as intermediators between mortals and the higher power -- a victim's sense of betrayal is usually devastating. And when the clergy member's superiors know or had reason to believe, that one of their own is an abuser, yet continue to place him or her in positions of trust with children, victims have a right to hold them accountable as well.

The world watched in shock in 2002 when news broke of official cover-ups in the Roman Catholic Church of the sexual abuse of children. With the scandal continuing to unfold, more and more victims are finding the courage to come forward and confront those responsible for changing their lives forever. Yet officials from the Catholic Church have not repaid their bravery with openness. The Diocese of San Diego made news recently when it declared bankruptcy rather than face lawsuits over sexual abuse; the Archdiocese of Los Angeles spent years in secular courts fighting the release of church records related to abuse.

While the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandals have made headlines, it's far from the only religious organization that has been accused of harboring sexual abusers. Abuse by non-Catholic clergy may not get as much attention, but the shock waves from their actions run just as deep through the lives of victims and their families. While comprehensive statistics aren't available, experts suggest that abuse is likely common among other clergy. A 1992 survey of Protestant ministers across denominations said 37 percent of ministers admitted to "inappropriate sexual contact" with parishioners. In another survey, that number for Southern Baptists in particular was 14 percent. The Conservative Rabbinical Assembly reports that 30 percent of the rabbis who changed jobs in 2000 did so involuntarily, with sexual abuse often a factor.

Clergy abuse doesn't just happen to children. It also happens to adults coerced into sexual encounters by those who have temporal or spiritual power over them. Often, what really happened is not be clear to traumatized victims. They are lead to believe it was some how their fault. That's why it's important to consult a understanding and skilled clergy abuse attorney with any questions or concerns regarding holding these sick sexual predators responsible for their breach of trust. An experienced clergy abuse attorney can help put the situation in perspective, identify the breaches of duty and access the damages. Then if you decide to go forward, they can discreetly take the actions necessary to recover all the damages you are entitled to, including the costs of past and future therapy, lost potential and lost childhood.
About the Author
John Bisnar is a partner at Newport Beach Personal Injury Law Firm Bisnar Chase. The Bisnar Chase law firm has dedicated their practice to victims of serious injuries due to defective products, negligence and malpractice.

Visit http://www.bestattorney.com or call 888-265-0161
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