Clergy abuse can happen anywhere. A recent report released by the Illinois attorney general reveals decades of sexual abuse by Illinois Catholic clergy. The report covered all six dioceses or archdioceses in the state.
Even worse, the report found that the crimes were vastly underreported. According to the report, approximately 451 priests and religious brothers in the state were responsible for the sexual abuse of almost 2,000 children.
Some Catholic dioceses did list abusers on their websites, but only listed 103, which is much lower than 451, the number that the report found.
The abuse occurred for over seven decades
The abuse took place over a 70-year period and emphasizes an ongoing pattern of the church ignoring or covering up reports of sexual abuse and not supporting survivors who come forward.
The churches have responded to this report by stating that the data could be misleading, that some of the abusers had already been disclosed and claiming that new safeguards have been put in place in recent decades to prevent further abuse.
This is just one example of numerous cases of clergy sexual abuse that have been exposed over the years.
Pursuing justice as a victim of clergy sexual abuse
Although sometimes members of the clergy may face criminal prosecution for these crimes, that does not always happen. However, victims of clergy sexual abuse may receive justice through a civil lawsuit.
Relief through a civil lawsuit for clergy sexual abuse comes in the form of monetary compensation. While no amount of money can make up for the sexual abuse suffered by victims, compensation can help victims in many ways.
Many victims of clergy sexual abuse experience long-term or permanent mental and emotional scars, requiring years of counseling. A civil lawsuit can hold the perpetrators of the abuse responsible and provide justice.