Seven families of young boys who were allegedly abused by a church volunteer have filed a lawsuit.
Live5news.com reports that a lawsuit was filed on February 19 against the NewSpring Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and against Jacop Hazlett, by the families of the boys he allegedly sexually abused. The suit alleges that the NewSpring Church failed to contact the churches where Hazlett had worked before, and therefore didn’t know that he had been previously let go over concerns about his interaction with children.
Hazlett was arrested in November, and has been charged with eight instances of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was previously charged with felony sexual assault of a child under thirteen in Ohio.
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), as many as 93 percent of sexual abuse victims under age eighteen know their abuser. Perpetrators can range from caretakers and teachers to siblings and other parents.
Warning signs of child sexual abuse can include physical signs of sexual trauma, difficulty in school, self harm, depression, and changes in hygiene.
Bishop-accountability.org reports that 5.8 percent of U.S. Roman Catholic priests active from 1950 to 2016 have been accused of sexual abuse. This figure does not include incidents that went unreported.
Other members of the Roman Catholic Church accused of sexual abuse include bishops, deacons, and nuns.
Thomas J. Henry’s firm is one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in the country. The firm currently houses more than 135 attorneys and 350 supporting staff in eight office locations across Texas in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin, El Paso, and Houston.
We are leaders in the field of personal injury and have helped countless child abuse and child injury victims. The firm has taken on numerous cases dealing with child abuse and molestation against individuals, daycares, businesses and organizations, including several against the Catholic Church.
In 2016, Thomas J. Henry pursued a high profile case against the Archdiocese of San Antonio and now-deceased San Antonio clergy member Father Virgilio Elizondo. The lawsuit alleged Elizondo had sexually abused a young boy for years. Elizondo took his own life in March 2016 before he could be deposed.
Over the years, the firm’s founder, Thomas J. Henry, has donated to hundreds of children’s charities throughout the United States. In 2015, the Henry family partnered with ChildSafe, a San Antonio area organization that provides services to children and teenagers who have been traumatized by abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. He provided the largest donation the organization has ever received.
In 2014, Thomas J. Henry publicly backed Nico LaHood in the hotly contested race for San Antonio District Attorney. LaHood ran on the platform of keeping children safe from physical and sexual abuse. Thomas J. Henry donated more than $1 million to his campaign.