No amount of money can fully compensate a victim for clergy sexual abuse.
Even if the perpetrator goes to jail for a long time and the institution that harbored them winds up in bankruptcy, the emotional scars of sex abuse at the hands of religious leaders who are supposed to be trustworthy never go away.
However, the fallout from clergy sex abuse is still costly on a number of levels. The trauma will require that the victim attend long-term counseling or other therapy. They may have other financial expenses as well.
Moreover, there is a real cost to the emotional pain a person feels after going through this type of trauma.
Recovering compensation from the perpetrators of this abuse can also give victims and their families some additional sense that justice was served on those who committed or covered for these terrible acts.
In a clergy sexual abuse case, a victim can recover compensation for the following:
- Out-of-pocket and ongoing expenses, including therapy bills
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages may be available in many states, including Louisiana. This type of compensation is designed to send a message to those who commit sexual abuse against minors.
Recovering compensation in a clergy sex abuse case can be complicated
Louisiana and many other states have changed their laws to allow victims to bring sex abuse claims that otherwise would have been too old to pursue.
However, recovering compensation in clergy sex abuse cases is still complicated. A victim will have to prove their allegations, and this could mean gathering evidence about something that happened years ago and frankly is very difficult to re-live.
Furthermore, actually getting compensation from the clergy who perpetrated can be difficult. They may have no money to pay a judgment or may be long deceased.
The religious denominations who employed these clergy may claim that they are not liable to pay compensation for any number of legal or factual reasons. They and their insurance carriers may not be willing to pay claims they do not believe they owe.
No matter where it happened, a victim of clergy sexual abuse will likely need a supportive advocate on their side.