According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), “child sexual abuse is not only a physical violation; it is a violation of trust and/or authority.” This is because child molesters typically have some prior relationship with their victims, most often residing in a place of authority over the child. They are teachers, coaches, priests, pastors, and scoutmasters. From their position of influence and trust, sexual predators carry out and cover up their crimes through manipulation, intimidation, and force.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry Law for a free and confidential case review. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
Suing Child Molesters for Damages in Civil Court
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim.
As is the case with many crimes, those responsible for child sex abuse can be tried in both criminal and civil court. In criminal court, they may be sentenced to jail time, prison time, or probation. In civil court, they can be sued for damages caused by their actions. Damages for sexual abuse cases may include:
- Personal injury
- Lost income and other financial losses
- Past and future trauma and emotional distress
- Past and future medical, counseling, and psychiatric bills
- False imprisonment
- Assault and battery
- Loss of consortium
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Attempted suicide
- Sexual dysfunction
- Punitive damages
Sexual Abuse by Church Members and Clergy
The sheer numbers behind clergy sexual abuse are alarming. So far, more than 18,000 abuse victims have come forward filing more than 3,000 civil lawsuits; however, this likely only represents a fraction of the real number of victims. Still, the world witnesses the impact of those who have come forward.
The Catholic Church, for example, has been rocked by allegations and convictions of sexual abuse committed by clergy members and volunteers and attempted cover-ups by church members.
As recently as December 2018, Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell, the third highest-ranking official in the Catholic Church, was convicted in an Australian court on what is called “historical” sexual abuse charges.
In November 2018, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Holy See were named as defendants in a class-action lawsuit accusing the Catholic Church of conspiracy and operating a continuing criminal enterprise under federal racketeering statutes. This lawsuit claims both the conference and the Holy See protected clergy instead of children, and created a culture in which rape and sexual abuse are “endemic, systemic, rampant, and pervasive.”
In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed that 300 priests in six Catholic dioceses in the state had been credibly accused of molesting more than 1,000 children. In October, Catholic dioceses announced they would also release names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, removing Father Edward Pavlicek based on a report of child sexual abuse it had received in August.
Contact Experienced Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Thomas J. Henry Law is one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in the country. The firm currently houses more than 200 attorneys and 350 supporting staff in eight office locations across Texas in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Austin.
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 Law 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.