When is it Time to Look for a Priest Abuse Attorney?

Stories of abuse tend to read just like that… stories. That is, until the moment a person becomes the victim of clergy abuse.

Priest abuse is a major crisis and individuals have come out in hopes of fighting back against priest abuse — whether it was experienced years ago or in more recent memory. The general route that people choose to explore ways to hold priests accountable for their abuse is by looking into getting a reputable priest abuse attorney.

Victims of any sort of abuse often keep the incident to themselves for protection and to avoid exposure — admitting that such a thing took place can often result in what a person feels is some sort of humiliation. Abuse is a deeply traumatic and personal thing to have to report and speak plainly about with coolheaded authorities — which is what filing a case entails. In many cases, abuse victims live with the pain and anguish until they can’t anymore and must speak out.

Priest Abuse By the Numbers

The Washington Post asserted that there were 4,434 allegations of clergy sex abuse with minor aged individuals in 2019 — a number up from 1,451 in 2018. Of those 4,434 allegations that were brought to light only 2,237 (just a little over half) were seen as credible in the church’s eyes. 

One organization involved in investigating and researching priest abuse on the Catholic church’s behalf is the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). CARA reported that 57% of what the church deemed credible allegations filed in 2019 took place before the year 1975, 41% took place between 1975-1999, and that only 2% had occurred since 2000. The church utilized this research performed by an affiliate to lay claim that, since there were so few instances of abuse taking place in recent years, that church reforms are therefore working.

Other Organizations Getting Involved

Even though the church takes something of a calculatedly casual approach to investigating itself, there are a number of additional survivor advocate organizations like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) which identify problems in the church’s report on priest abuse. 

SNAP stressed the fact that the status of 863 allegations has been classified as “unknown” while another 956 allegations are classified as ”ongoing” — which are both extremely problematic figures.

Therefore, SNAP wrote, “Thousands of proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics who have committed or concealed child sex crimes remain ‘under the radar,’ living and working among unsuspecting neighbors, friends, co-workers and even relatives.” 

SNAP, like other abuse advocate organizations, would like to put more pressure on the Catholic church when it comes to locating child abusers who are still living in order to protect others from future abuse while also punishing (instead of enabling) clerics who have committed abuse in the past or present. Such measures will help fight and end priest abuse — or at the very least diminish the weighty figures we see today.

Fighting Back Against Priest Abuse

Although there are rumors that every diocese operating within the parameters of the Catholic church has documentation when it comes to the personnel files of priests outlining reports of sexual abuse, the Catholic church keeps this information from public record. Many know this cache of information as the “Secret Archive”.

Individuals who have experienced priest abuse might be wondering how to deal with their experiences while seeking justices for the wrongs that have been committed. There’s only so much that our criminal justice system can do on the policing side — the statute of limitations makes it difficult to incriminate individuals for transgressions committed a long time ago.

Priest abuse victims will often turn to a priest abuse attorney.

How to Find a Priest Abuse Attorney

The fact that there are attorneys who specialize in priest abuse should let people know how much of a problem this situation is and has become.

Finding a priest abuse attorney who can help you is actually pretty simple. It’s a good idea to look into possible candidates by taking a look at the experiences of their previous clients via resources like Yelp and Facebook. Priest abuse victims will want to choose a priest abuse attorney with an excellent track record and a deep understanding of the laws in place as well as your rights as a human being.

Once you choose the right priest abuse attorney for you, you will have to meet with them and tell your story in full, which might be uncomfortable, but it will help your attorney represent you in the most effective way possible. Having a good priest abuse attorney will help you gain the peace of mind you need as well as the justice you deserve.