Over 100 Years of Collective Experience On Your Side.
Clergy abuse is any inappropriate behavior perpetrated by a clergy member against someone else in their congregation or community.
Some forms of this abuse include:
Some examples of these forms of clergy abuse include:
- Inappropriate touching
- Coercion to engage in activities outside the scope of religious practice
- Engaging in unwanted sexual conversations
- Using peer pressure for sexual pleasure
- Verbal harassment or intimidation as manipulation tactics designed to control the victim’s behavior
Why Does Clergy Abuse Happen?
Clergy members are often viewed as people who have authority over others within a religious community and are respected societal leaders. As such, they may use this position to manipulate or coerce vulnerable members into participating in activities they would not otherwise consent to if given a choice. Additionally, some perpetrators may feel their victims are too weak or powerless to speak out if abused.
The Impact of Clergy Abuse
The impact of clergy abuse can be devastating for victims and survivors alike. Victims often experience guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, and depression as they struggle to make sense of their experiences.
Survivors may also struggle with issues related to trust in relationships and faith organizations going forward. Additionally, victims may have post-traumatic stress disorder due to the trauma they experienced at the hands of their abuser(s).
Reporting Clergy Abuse
The most important thing you can do to protect survivors of clergy abuse is to report any suspected instances immediately and hold their perpetrators accountable for their actions. Additionally, know the warning signs that someone might be abusing their power. Warning signs of clergy abuse include increased secrecy around certain activities and isolation from other members within the congregation or community.
Lastly, knowing what steps to take if something happens within your congregation or community is vital. Hiring an experienced clergy abuse attorney should be your first step. With their knowledge and experience, an attorney can walk you through the entire process to help you get the justice and closure you deserve.
To get a fearless team of Michigan sexual assault attorneys on the job, call us at (888) 211-5798 right now.
Free Crisis Counseling Available
If you or a loved one is still dealing with the traumatizing effects of clergy sexual abuse, you’re not alone. The State of MI Sexual Assault Voices 4 Hotline is available 24/7 and can provide free and confidential crisis counseling, as often as you need it. Open to sexual assault survivors of all backgrounds, the anonymous hotline is hosted by the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence, and staffed by caring professional advocates trained to deal with clergy sexual abuse cases.
Call 855-VOICES4 now to speak with an advocate, or learn more about The State of MI Sexual Assault Voices 4 Hotline here.
Pursuing a Clergy Sexual Abuse Claim
Pursuing a clergy sexual abuse claim can be an incredibly difficult and daunting prospect for victims of such abuse. A qualified attorney will remain sensitive to the individual needs of their client, navigating both the legal elements of the situation and providing compassionate care.
Many clergy sexual abuse cases are complex in nature, warranting experienced counsel who understand not only state criminal codes, but also ways of working with canon law and religious organizations. With an experienced legal team to work through the process step by step, individuals will have a better chance of achieving closure and justice.
Who Files a Sexual Abuse Claim Against Clergy?
Anyone who has suffered a sexual abuse inflicted by clergy can file a claim against them. It is often difficult to do, as there may be pre-existing relationships between the abuser and victim, or other factors that make coming forward hard. It is important that any person affected by the heinous crime of sexual abuse knows they have the right to make such a claim and take any action necessary to obtain justice and healing.
Victims are encouraged to reach out to specialized organizations that provide insight and support throughout the entire process. Staff at these organizations ensure that each person receives safe, non-judgmental guidance during every step of seeking legal recourse or establishing therapeutic treatment plans.
Who Can I Hold Liable in a Clergy Abuse Case?
When it comes to clergy sexual abuse cases, many individuals and entities can be held liable. Usually, the abuser is personally liable; however, the religious institution they are a part of could face liability with aiding or facilitating the crime.
Additionally, if a school or alleged negligence was involved in failing to report past misconduct or preventing suspicious activity from occurring, they could be found at fault as well. Anyone who had knowledge of the abuse might be complicit; this could include employees, lawmakers and other leaders in positions of authority.
Ultimately, pursuing justice for victims of clergy sexual abuse involves ensuring all parties responsible for enabling this type of conduct are held fully accountable for their wrongdoings.
In the past, clergy sexual abuse has been concealed and kept a secret in many communities. The victims of these acts are often made to feel shameful or embarrassed so they do not come forward with their stories. As such, it is important that structures of support and accountability be in place to protect congregation members and hold any priests engaging in misconduct accountable.
Additionally, secular laws can be implemented that give more stringent punishments for those found guilty of sexual assault within religious institutions. Through increased vigilance and accountability, we can work towards ensuring a safe and dignified spiritual environment for all members of faith communities impacted by clergy sexual abuse.
Holding the Church Accountable for Clergy Sexual Abuse
Many churches has long promised to protect its congregation from harm and exploitation, yet too often it fails to live up to that promise and perpetrators of clergy sexual abuse go unpunished. It is essential that we hold the church accountable for its actions-- an independent and transparent investigation must be conducted in order to identify those who are responsible and take steps to ensure they can never hurt another person.
We must also do more to create a culture that eradicates victim blaming, listening instead to victims' stories and providing them with trauma informed care. Without significant changes in both policies and attitudes, the cycle of abuse will undoubtedly continue.
Seeking Compensation, Closure & Peace of Mind
As more and more people come forward with stories of clergy sexual assault from their past, it is clear that this is the time to stand up for justice. While nothing can erase the acts of the perpetrators, holding them accountable through civil suits can help prevent clergy sexual abuse from happening to others in the future. When you come to Grewal Law PLLC to begin a clergy sexual abuse claim, you make a difference not only for yourself but also for everyone who has been or may be in your situation. Being provided due compensation for your suffering can also help bring you a sense of closure and stability after such a long period of unrest.
Damages you may be able to recover in your clergy sexual abuse claim:
- Past and ongoing emotional trauma
- Therapy costs related to trauma treatment
- Health care and medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lessened overall enjoyment of life
No law firm fights for sexual abuse survivors quite like Grewal Law PLLC. Our team of sexual assault attorneys does not shy away from any challenge. We will fight to secure justice and accountability to secure healing for our clients. We are taking on human trafficking and sexual assault cases throughout Michigan to try to do our part to end these horrifying abuses and demand accountability for those responsible.
We’re Here to Help With Confidential Consultations
At Grewal Law PLLC, we understand the sensitive nature of clergy sexual abuse and its long-term impact on victims. We recognize that finding professional support can be difficult, and seek to make the process as comfortable and accessible to survivors as possible. Through confidential consultations, we provide counseling services centered on the needs of survivors, giving victims the space to heal. Our commitment is that these consultations will remain strictly confidential so that survivors can feel confident putting their trust in us to help them through this traumatic experience. We are here to listen, provide assistance, and connect people with resources for further support.
Many states across the country have been changing their laws to allow survivors of sexual abuse to hold abusers and enablers accountable. In order to end clergy sexual abuse and bring its offenders to justice, all survivors of sexual abuse must speak up and share their stories. Our Michigan clergy sexual abuse lawyers understand that it can be intimidating and frightening to come forward. If you were sexually abused by a clergy member, let Grewal Law PLLC be your voice.
Pursuing Civil Justice for Victims of Catholic Dioceses Assault
In 2019, the nation continued to learn more and more about criminal acts of sexual abuse carried out by clergy members against young children. In particular, Catholic Dioceses across the country had begun investigating internal records for evidence of clergy sexual assault by past and current clergy members. The problem had become so vast and concerning, Pope Francis called a historic four-day summit with 190 Roman Catholic Church leaders to come up with a concrete solution and means to move forward.
Michigan’s Investigation Into Catholic Dioceses
Similarly, the Michigan Attorney General began conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against all seven of the state’s Catholic Dioceses. As part of this investigation into clergy sexual abuse throughout the state, many priests and clergy members have already been accused of serious sexual crimes. In December 2019, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that seven priests had been officially charged by her office. The AG also announced that their task force had received complaints and allegations against 270 priests in 2019 alone.
Employers are considered responsible for the actions of their employees, which means the Catholic Church may be legally liable to offer compensation to thousands of Michigan abuse victims. However, because these abusive acts were mostly committed in childhood, many victims falsely believe that they cannot bring a lawsuit due to statute of limitations issues. In recognition of this problem – and the gravity of child sexual abuse – Michigan allows victims to take legal action for sexually abusive acts perpetrated when they were under the age of 18, provided that they file before their 28th birthday. Of course, it’s crucial to speak with a qualified attorney, as these laws are complex and ever-changing.
We represented 111 of the 333 survivors in the lawsuits against Michigan State University for sexual abuse involving the former MSU doctor, Larry Nassar.Read More
Grewal Law has been amazingly empathetic and forward-thinking through this very emotional and trying time.- Anonymous
The abuse suffered by a trusted authority figure can be devastating. Unfortunately, clergy abuse is too real and far too prevalent today. If you are a clergy abuse survivor, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Many resources are available to help you heal and rebuild your life.
This guide will provide an overview of local and national resources available to clergy abuse survivors.
Organizations That Provide Support For Survivors Of Clergy Abuse
There are many organizations dedicated to providing support for victims of clergy abuse, including:
Manvir (Mick) Grewal Sr. Founder and Managing Partner
Scott Weidenfeller Attorney; Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Team Leader
Ayanna Neal Attorney; Sexual Assault, Civil Rights, & Criminal Team Leader
Daniel Barnett Attorney; Commercial Civil Litigation & Business Law Team Leader
Nolan Erickson Attorney; New Client Intake Coordinator & Mass Torts Projects
David Mittleman Litigating Attorney
Gurrajan Gill Attorney
Tim Seeger Attorney
Chelsea Lenard Attorney
Rico Neal Attorney
Tyler Burk Attorney
Carlye Reynolds Gasior Attorney
Michael Szparaga Attorney