Many Americans are dismayed that the Catholic Church’s assurances of “zero tolerance” seem to have done little to reduce the number of clergy sexual abuse allegations made each year. For the last decade, this crisis has had persistent media coverage. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, Americans continue to have concerns about the ongoing clergy sex abuse crisis throughout the country.
In March and April of 2019, more than 6,300 adults participated in an online survey conducted by Pew researchers. The survey gathered information on the current view of Americans about the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse crisis. Individuals identified their religious affiliation, which allowed researchers to study the responses of Catholic participants separately.
The Pew Report found that most Americans believe clergy sexual abuse is continuing to happen. While the Catholic Church stresses that the vast majority of recent claims relate to abuse that occurred decades ago, only a small portion of survey respondents believe clergy sexual abuse is a thing of the past.
While recent grand jury investigations into several Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have highlighted abuse in the Catholic Church, a majority of Americans recognize that sexual misconduct by clergy is not strictly a Catholic problem. The misuse of power and the culture of concealment leading to ongoing sexual abuse by the clergy can be found in Protestant and non-denominational churches and synagogues. Approximately half of the Pew Survey respondents view abuse as a problem “equally common” in other religions. The study indicated that despite this belief, individuals have heard significantly less in the media about abuse by non-Catholic clergy.
Similarly, the majority of respondents believed sexual abuse of children was not more likely to occur in religious settings. When it came to sexual misconduct involving children, respondents indicated it was as common for teachers, coaches, camp counselors, or other adults working with the young to abuse children sexually.
Clergy sexual abuse continues to happen every day. According to the Pew Survey, less than a quarter of respondents have heard their own clergy speak out in support of abuse survivors. Until a change occurs, many individuals who have experienced clergy sexual abuse will continue to be afraid to come forward and hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable. Decades of covering up sexual misconduct by clergy members has created a culture of silence within the Catholic Church and other institutions that continues to inflict pain on abuse survivors.
If you or a loved one has survived clergy abuse, the dedicated clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you obtain the justice you deserve. Our dedicated attorneys will not stop fighting until our clients receive the compensation to which they are entitled. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Trenton clergy abuse lawyer today, call 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or contact us online.
With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clergy abuse survivors and their families nationwide, including those in Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, as well as those in Camden, Metuchen, and Trenton, New Jersey.