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Clergy Assault – Overview

por Lisette Barnet (2019-08-20)


Priest Abuse includes a wide-range of immoral and improper actions often commited on young children and adolescents by pedophilic priests or other church members involving sexual abuse of varying degrees. The abuse can be a one-time, non-consensual scroll barevent or it may include several assaults within a continuing interaction. For instance, an ongoing "trusting" relationship with a child created by the predatory intent of a church associate, blanketed with the trust and reverence imputed to a member of the clergy lawsuit New York, leading to non-consensual sexual assault acts of molestation.

In nearly all alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Clergy member’s employer to fully, adequately and immediately report the crime to police and other authorities, or its continuing failure to investigate, handle and resolve entirely with the situation increases the effects on the assault survivor, the community and possibly others. Recent Church Sexual Abuse cases covered in the press show these failures, which includes "pass-the-trash" scenarios when the perpetrator frequently a clergy in the Catholic Church, is suddenly re-assigned from one parish to another only to continue his predatory, criminal action on an unaware parish community.

Priest and Clergy Sexual Abuse & Justice
Not a week goes by without a media announcement coverage 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 survivor of sexual abuse from a priest or other church member, these reports are likely to serve as an echo chamber, reverberating the horror, embarrassment, guilt and other unwelcome emotions staining your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other channels that encourage them to disclose the assault they experienced, victims of assault are more frequently employing the legal system to compensate them for the life-long harm and injury they have suffered.

If you are a survivor of assault commited by a priest, the result of the abuse on your life and core belief system can be incalculable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible church and institutions to blame for their crimes and indifference might provide a measure of justice and recompense to assault survivors. Oftentimes, survivors can leverage their legal rights through confidential mediation thereby avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is required, a case can be filed where the survivor can remain anonymous.

Predatory Behavior

All abusers, to varying degrees, employ predatory tactics which are commonly known as grooming, tracking a potential abuse victim. Following is a survey of grooming behaviors used by predators who are in a position of authority relative to the subordinate child.

Grooming

Grooming is a major piece of a predator’s strategy. In a church environment, the priest is viewed as God’s representative. In this environment, the predator frequently works closely with small amounts of children, identifying each child’s needs, vulnerabilities and circumstances. Once a victim is identified, these vulnerabilities – like violent family setting, isolation, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically leveraged in the following ways:

Trust

An assaulter will first work to gain the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to notice as religious communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction with clergy is commonplace. Here, the predator can pretend sincere concern in the child’s wellbeing and development – 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. The victim will devote 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 potential target may receive presents from the predator, including valuable, intangible presents like blessings and special recognition.
Isolation

As the grooming progresses, the predator may try to isolate the possible target. This may mean individual counseling sessions, meals or other methods of one-on-one isolated encounters.

Sexualization

The predator might begin to de-sensitize the target from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and various actions that lead to sexual interaction. This might begin with crossing the physical-touch barrier, or verbally, with inappropriate messages to determine the victim’s reaction to the progression. This will continue until the relationship gets to one of a physical, sexual nature.

Maintenance

As the sexual relationship is established, the predator will try to keep control over the child and the continuing interaction. The predator will likely seek to manipulate the victim by continuing to make the target feel special and worthy. The predator will continue to exploit the victim by whatever methods necessary to maintain the immoral physical relationship.

Impact on Clergy Abuse Survivors

The impact of childhood abuse on the survivor can be overwhelming and life-changing. Many clergy 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 difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can assist victims overcome these effects.

Legally, a survivor of Clergy Sexual Assault may recover financial compensation from the abuser and, more frequently, from the religious organization for its failure to shield 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 victim of Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse and would like to confidentially discuss your situation and your legal options, we are prepared to speak with you.