Clergy Sexual Abuse includes a wide-range of immoral and unacceptable actions frequently commited on young children and tweens by predatory clergy or other church employees involving sexual abuse of varying amounts. The abuse can be a single, non-consensual scroll barevent or it may involve several assaults within an ongoing interaction. For example, an ongoing “trusting” interaction with a young child created by the predatory behavior of a clergy member, blanketed by the trust and reverence provided to a priest, leading to non-consensual sexual attack acts of molestation.
Within all alleged Priest or Clergy Sexual Abuse situations, the failure by the Church member’s superior to entirely, adequately and immediately report the crime to law enforcement and other authorities, or its continuing failure to investigate, address and deal fully with the situation amplifies the harm on the abuse survivor, the community and possibly others. Current Clergy Sexual Abuse cases covered in the media highlight these short-comings, that includes “pass-the-trash” scenarios where the abuser commonly a clergy in the Catholic Church, is secretly re-assigned from one location to another merely to continue his predatory, criminal behavior on an innocent parish community.
Priest and Clergy Sexual Assault and Justice
Not a day goes by without a media announcement coverage about sexual assault and molestation of children by pedophile clergy, or the effects of the abuse on the survivors and their families. If you are a survivor of sexual assault from a priest or other clergy member, these articles are most likely to act as an echo chamber, replaying the horror, shame, guilt and various unwanted emotions hurting your wellness. Encouraged by the social movement and other channels that encourage survivors to disclose the abuse they suffered, survivors of abuse are increasingly turning to the legal system to compensate them for the lifelong damage and injury they have experienced.
If you are a survivor of assault perpetrated by a member of the clergy, the impact of the abuse on your life and foundational belief system can be immeasurable. Nonetheless, holding the responsible person and institutions accountable for their crimes and failures might offer an amount of justice and recompense to abuse victims. Frequently, survivors can leverage their legal rights in confidential mediation therein avoiding the need for litigation. But, if litigation is required, a case may be filed where the victim can remain anonymous.
All predators, to varying degrees, use predatory tactics that are commonly known as grooming, targeting a potential abuse victim. Following is a list of grooming behaviors used by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate child.
Grooming is a significant part of a predator’s ploy. In a religious environment, the clergy member is held as God’s representative. In this environment, the predator frequently works closely with small numbers of children, identifying each child’s needs, weaknesses and situations. Once a victim is identified, these vulnerabilities – like tumultuous family setting, loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, attention-seeking – may be systematically leveraged in the following ways:
An assaulter will initially try to get the child’s trust. This strategy is most difficult to discern as religious communities are frequently tight-knit and personal relation with clergy is commonplace. Here, the predator can feign sincere interest in the child’s wellbeing and groeth – both emotional and religious.
As a predator creates a trusting relationship with the potential child-victim and oftentimes their family members, the child will start to rely more and more on the predator for any need it is that the predator is exploiting and fulfilling. The child may devote increased time with the predator, feeling more comfortable with the relationship and counting on its stability and security. In addition to attention and affection, the potential victim might receive gifts from the priest, including valuable, intangible presents such as blessings and special recognition.
While grooming escalates, the predator might work to isolate the possible victim. This could mean solo counseling sessions, meals or other forms of one-on-one isolated moments.<