When you report clergy sexual abuse, a criminal investigation may begin. In some cases, the church or diocese may cover up the abuse instead of reporting it to authorities. In either case, you can work with a clergy sexual abuse lawyer to hold your abuser (and any entity that covered up your abuse) liable.
Here, you can learn more about how the civil claims process works for clergy sexual abuse and the steps you can take to demand justice.
Criminal Charges May Apply in a Clergy Sexual Abuse Case
When you file a clergy sexual abuse complaint, local police and law enforcement officials may launch a criminal investigation. However, it will be up to them and the criminal court system to determine if they will gather evidence to proceed with criminal charges.
That does not mean those responsible for the abuse you or your loved one endured cannot be held liable. In fact, you and your family can take legal action by pursuing a civil lawsuit against any responsible parties.
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Grounds for a Civil Lawsuit Concerning Clergy Sexual Abuse
For a sexual abuse or personal injury case to go forward, your lawyer must show that someone is responsible for the sexual abuse, injuries, and damages you or someone you love endured.
The burden of proof in civil cases is based on a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt. This means when your lawyer presents evidence, it must be strong enough to convince the jury the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the sexual abuse the case involves.
How to Take Action After Reporting Clergy Sexual Abuse
As you seek justice for the sexual abuse you suffered, you can take multiple steps to help bring clergy members and other liable parties to justice. These steps can include the following:
- Contacting a sexual abuse lawyer for help
- Gathering evidence to support your case
- Obtaining a medical evaluation
- Reviewing potentially recoverable damages
- Getting ready to bring your case to trial
Contact a Sexual Abuse Lawyer for Help
A sexual abuse lawyer can handle every aspect of your case while you focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Clergy sexual abuse cases must be taken seriously, and our firm is here to guide you through the claims process and handle every legal detail.
Gather Supporting Evidence
Next, gather evidence to prove the defendant’s liability and the damages you sustain. If you have voice recordings, photos of your injuries, or communications exchanges between clergy members, this could be useful in your case.
Your attorney will conduct an in-depth investigation into the abuse you endured, uncovering valuable evidence to prove your right to compensation for your suffering.
Obtain Your Medical Records
Getting copies of your medical records is essential so your attorney can review them. They will act as evidence in the trial against the liable parties. Medical records can substantiate the claims you made against the accused and help support the extent of your damages.
Prepare to Bring Your Case to Court
Many clergy sexual abuse cases settle without having to go to court. However, if the liable party is unwilling to settle your claim reasonably, your attorney can bring your complaint to trial. Going to trial could be your best option to hold the liable party accountable and seek the compensation you deserve.
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Reach Out to a Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Jenner Law for Help Today
Clergy sexual abuse is more than a criminal matter. You and your family have the right to pursue compensation for your suffering and financial damages. You can learn more about the steps to demand that the liable party is held accountable during a free and confidential consultation at Jenner Law. We can explain your legal options and explain what happens when clergy sexual abuse is reported and how our lawyers can help.
Our firm proudly offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to those who want to take action against abusive clergy members. You can call us or fill out our online contact form today to explore your options during a free, confidential consultation.