Recent investigative reports confirmed what many survivors of clergy abuse have known for years about the Catholic Church’s unreliability in its handling of abuse allegations. According to an Associated Press (AP) investigation into the Church’s response to the ongoing clergy abuse crisis, independent review boards created by the Church to respond to abuse allegations have been largely ineffective.
For over twenty years, the Catholic Church used independent review panels to handle claims of clergy abuse. In theory, these review panels would work independently outside the influence of the clergy and dioceses to impartially handle claims of abuse. By evaluating the credibility of sexual abuse claims without input from priests or bishops, the independent boards would focus on the best interests of the survivors and not the Church. But that theory has not worked out in many dioceses.
The most prevalent problems with the use of independent review boards have been inconsistency and a lack of transparency. Many panels continue to operate in secrecy, preventing survivors from obtaining information on the status of their claim, including whether the accused priest received any discipline from the Church. The investigation revealed other panels worked implicitly on behalf of the Church, undermining the claims of survivors, shielding accused clergy members from law enforcement, and denying compensation to survivors.
Despite being unable to depend on protection of their rights from these review panels, many survivors of clergy abuse remain hesitant to come forward with their claims. For these survivors, obtaining their own legal advocate to protect their rights is often the only effective means of holding the abusive parties responsible for their misconduct. An experienced Trenton clergy abuse lawyer will ensure a clergy abuse claim includes proper evidence to validate the abuse accusation.
Individuals who experienced clergy abuse may be entitled to compensation. By filing a civil lawsuit against those who failed to address the problem, clergy abuse survivors may recover damages for the costs of medical or psychological treatment, lost wages, and emotional distress. Recent changes in the statutes of limitations in some states, including New York and New Jersey, allow all survivors to bring their claims now, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
If you experienced clergy sexual abuse, the experienced Trenton clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar are here to help. We will proudly stand by you as you seek justice for the trauma you experienced. Our dedicated clergy abuse lawyers help clergy abuse survivors and their families obtain maximum amounts of compensation. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly represent clergy abuse survivors and their families throughout New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 856-470-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.