Sexual abuse is defined as the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. The psychological impact of sexual abuse varies substantially from individual to individual. Some victims are highly resilient and recover on their own. Others develop persistent problems that may last a lifetime.
For children raised in religious households, their faith is often an enormous part of their life. They are taught to respect and even revere those who dedicate their lives to religion, and they see their clergy as advisors, guides, and authority figures. But when that trust is broken, and a priest, a pastor, or anyone else, abuses, or molests a child, the disastrous impact on that child’s life can be profound. It may even alter the trajectory of their life forever.
Victims who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member or someone else who has power and control over them, (daycare centers, camps, schools, or any activity involving children) can face a lifetime struggle with depression, unwarranted guilt, and isolation. As a result, victims are at a high risk for alcoholism, drug abuse, social anxiety, suicidal thoughts and attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. They often keep the abuse a secret, and their struggles can make it harder for them to maintain bonds with family and friends or even hold down a steady job.
Sexual abuse often begins when a predator “grooms” their victim, using their position of trust and authority to slowly erode a child’s defenses. Abuse can take many forms, including:
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual threats
- Unwanted touching, with or without clothing
- Lewd acts or comments
- Sharing of pornographic images or videos
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual assaults
- Statutory rape
Don’t Let the Statute of Limitations Prevent You from Getting Justice
One of the many tragedies surrounding sexual abuse is that victims often do not report the crime until much later in life when it is too late to obtain compensation due to the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. Currently, if you are a victim of sexual abuse, and are under the age of 30, and need a sexual assault lawyer, please contact the Law Offices of Segal, Berk, Gaines & Liss.
In Pennsylvania, there is pending legislation to raise the age limit to 50 for filing a civil lawsuit. Also, there is a strong push for a two–year window during which any victim of child sex abuse can sue their abuser, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred.
In response to the pending legislation several of the Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, including Philadelphia, are launching programs to financially compensate victims whose claims are currently too old under the existing statute of limitations and preclude victims from filing civil lawsuits.
You may be entitled to financial compensation as a victim of sexual harassment, abuse, assault, or molestation
You have the right to pursue justice against an abuser. Although nothing can change the past or completely take away the pain you have endured, The Law Offices of Segal, Berk, Gaines & Liss can help you to stand up for your rights and seek justice for the impact the abuse has had on your life. You may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical care, and psychological counseling. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Standing up and being heard can help in your journey to healing as well as protect future victims from priest abuse or any other person that may have abused you.
If you are a VICTIM, please call the Law Offices of Segal, Berk, Gaines & Liss. We understand and appreciate the sensitivity of this situation and all the information you provide to us will remain confidential and private.
Please continue to check back on this page to see the ever-changing and current status of your rights to be civilly compensated in CLERGY ABUSE, SEXUAL ABUSE & ABUSE CRIMES.