Clergy Sexual Abuse: 8 Facts the Illinois Population Should Know About
Illinois has seen an unfortunately high number of clergy members implicated in the already-devastating clergy sexual abuse crisis. The public support for victims continues to grow, and this increased support has led to more organizations that can help victims as well. If you or a loved one were a victim of this crisis, and are ready to seek justice, there are eight crucial facts about clergy sexual abuse in Illinois that you should be aware of:
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1. Legal Help is Highly Recommended
If you’re ready to seek justice against your abuser, you must seek out a qualified, and experienced clergy sexual abuse attorney who can guide you through this difficult and complex time. With their assistance, gathering evidence, and holding your abusers responsible will become much simpler. When at all possible, your lawyer should have the ability to handle aspects of your case on their own, so that you only have to deal with your abusers when it’s completely necessary for your case.
2. The Statute of Limitations is 20 Years
In the state of Illinois, the current statute of limitations for clergy abuse crimes is twenty years from the date that you discovered that you were sexually abused. In many other states, these restrictive statutes of limitation laws have been gotten rid of entirely, but those looking to bring a case in Illinois will have to keep this statute of limitation law in mind before filing a case. Your attorney can help you understand the specifics of this in a more detailed fashion.
3. Independent Compensation Programs Exist
Even if you are not able to bring a case through the state of Illinois, many state-based and country-wide independent compensation programs exist to help the victims of clergy abuse. These programs aim to financially and emotionally assist those that were abused as a minor in states where draconian statute of limitation laws prevent victims from bringing full legal suits against the Church and their abusers. Looking for a program of this type in your area is highly recommended if you live in Illinois.
4. Average Settlement Amounts are High but Vary
While clergy abuse-related settlements can vary wildly from case to case, they tend to be quite high. On average, the settlements tend to be upwards of a hundred thousand dollars, if not much more. In rare cases, these settlements even reach millions of dollars. You deserve compensation for the nursing abuse you suffered, especially since the Church has more than enough money to financially support the victims of their clergy members’ heinous and illegal actions.
5. The Church Knew About the Issue
Unfortunately, it’s come to light that many higher-ups in the Catholic Church were well aware of how rampant clergy sexual abuse had become, well before they took any concrete action. In some cases, higher-ups even worked tirelessly to relocate abusers, in an attempt to help them evade justice, and to prevent the Church from financial and reputation-based damages. Since they were aware of the crisis and waited until mass exposure to act upon it, the importance of them compensating victims, and negotiating with investigations into abusive clergy members, remains essential.
6. Not All Abusers are Men
Many people assume that all clergy members involved in the abuse scandal are men. That being said, upwards of 10% of the abusers are women. Because there is often an added stigma to being abused by a woman, many of these victims have had an even tougher time coming forward about their abuse. The more victims who do come forward, the less stigmatized the issue will become, however.
7. Church Settlements Have Reached into the Billions
To date, the Catholic Church has already paid out billions of dollars in settlements to victims. This amount is expected to continue to rise, as the percentage of victims coming forward about their abuse, and filing cases against the church has seen a steady rise over the last few decades.
8. Hundreds of Active Clergy Members are Involved
Over five hundred clergy members have been implicated in the clergy sexual abuse scandal since the public’s awareness of the crisis has become widespread. As more victims come forward, it will become that much easier to bring abusive clergy members to justice.
Support Organizations are Dedicated to Helping Victims
All across the country, there are support organizations that were founded specifically for survivors of clergy sex abuse. Many of these organizations are run by victims and are dedicated to helping victims seek the legal and mental health support they need after becoming public about their abuse.
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