Sexual predators are often motivated by the need for control and domination over others. That is why children are so often their victims. The majority of clergy abuse cases reported in New Jersey involve survivors who were children at the time they were molested. Children naturally seek the approval and admiration of priests, deacons, and other authority figures they trust.
Unfortunately, hundreds of credibly accused clergy members use this trust to groom and manipulate children into being abused, sometimes over the course of years. Many of these children were already facing their own unique challenges at the time of their abuse. Some come from broken homes, while others were living with mental and physical impairments. While children are among the most vulnerable victims of priest sex abuse, the violation of disabled individuals and adults occurs all too often.
One sexual abuse survivor working to bring attention to the widespread abuse of adults by Catholic clergy explains that men and women seeking guidance and counsel from church leaders in all religions are ironically vulnerable, simply because of the imbalance of power inherent in the relationship.
Researchers at Baylor University found that around three percent of the more than 3,500 women they surveyed had experienced clergy misconduct of a sexual nature as adults – across all denominations.
Identifying those most vulnerable to priestly sex abuse is important, because these men, women, and children have so much to lose. Individuals who suffer some form of sexual abuse, whether as children or adults, begin to view the world as uncertain and dangerous. This powerlessness contributes to a host of debilitating harm including:
For survivors of clergy abuse in the United States, looking back is painful. Their only way forward is to tell their story, hold abusers accountable, and help other victims find a path to healing. In New Jersey, the legislature recently extended the statute of limitations for sex abuse cases, giving survivors the right to sue until they turn 55, or within seven years of becoming aware that they were harmed by the abuse. Victims who previously missed the cut off to bring a claim now have two years to sue their abusers and the institutions that shielded or enabled them.
The Metuchen clergy abuse lawyers with Williams Cedar are dedicated to helping anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how long you have to file a claim, what the process involves, and potential damages you may receive.
Call 856-470-9777 or 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation with a Metuchen clergy abuse lawyer in our Philadelphia or Haddonfield, New Jersey offices. Williams Cedar represents clients throughout the areas of Camden, Trenton, and Metuchen, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and nationwide.