If you or a loved one need to report abuse against clergy or church officials, a sexual abuse lawyer may be able to help. You can report clergy sex abuse with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General or your local law enforcement agency. If the clergy sexual abuse involves a minor, you can also report it to the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, & Families (DCYF).
After you report the accounts, you can work with your sexual abuse attorney to seek justice and compensation that can help you during the healing process.
Credible Accusations of Clergy Abuse in the State of Washington
Recently, news organizations, such as The Associated Press, have reported on allegations of clergy sexual abuse, especially those involving the Catholic Church. Typically, clergy sexual abuse survivors are minors, and some of their families have filed lawsuits against various religious institutions over their attempts to cover up such crimes.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington lists clergy members it has removed due to credible accusations of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one suffered clergy sexual abuse in any religious institution, you deserve justice and monetary compensation from those who harmed you. While filing criminal charges may help you seek the prior, a personal injury lawyer can help you file a civil case for financial recovery.
How a Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyer Can Help Survivors in the State of Washington
Coming forward to hold liable parties accountable for clergy abuse is difficult. Sexual abuse victims often must relive their experiences when working to hold an abuser accountable or report allegations to authorities. This fact alone prevents many survivors from pursuing legal action against those who have engaged in sexual misconduct.
Still, filing a civil lawsuit against faith leaders or church leaders involved in clergy sexual abuse could help survivors access essential treatment that helps them heal and put their lives back together. A potential settlement or verdict could pay for:
- Psychological therapy
- Medical expenses from an injury
- Lost income from the time they have to take off from work
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Below are a few ways a sexual abuse lawyer can help you or a loved one navigate this process.
Providing Compassionate, Confidential Legal Services
Clergy sexual abuse cases are particularly sensitive. Survivors deserve compassionate and confidential legal care. For example, the most important thing for a lawyer to do is to listen to their client in these cases and strive to make the legal process as comfortable as possible.
Fighting for Fair Compensation
A personal injury lawyer will know how much to seek in financial recovery. Your potential compensation depends on how suffering clergy sexual abuse has and will continue to affect your life, which can be difficult to assess.
A clergy sexual abuse attorney in the state of Washington will have resources to gather evidence of your losses. They can negotiate with an insurer and prevent you from accepting a settlement that would not fairly compensate you.
They can also seek a court-awarded offer by filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. They can represent you in trial and present the evidence of your case to a judge or jury.
Handling Your Case on a Contingency Fee Basis
You may be wondering if you can afford a personal injury lawyer. You should know that some law firms operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they accept cases without charging upfront attorney’s fees. Instead, they assume all the costs of starting your case and take a percentage of your potential compensation when it concludes.
This means if you do not recover compensation, they do not get paid. You know they will work their hardest and exhaust every resource to support your claim. You can also seek justice without incurring the risk of further financial losses.
Helping Survivors Meet the Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Yet another way a lawyer can help is by determining how much time you have to file a lawsuit for clergy sexual abuse. According to the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.340, you generally have three years to file a lawsuit. The sooner you start seeking legal action, the better because it will give your attorney more time to build your case
A lawyer must investigate, gather evidence, and possibly negotiate with insurers. They can do all of this while keeping an eye on the state of Washington’s statute of limitations deadline. They can also work to streamline the legal process as much as possible.
Seek Therapy If You Have Experienced Clergy Sex Abuse in the State of Washington
You deserve the help and support you need to begin your healing journey after suffering clergy sexual abuse. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual abuse can lead to a host of psychological issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Furthermore, these conditions can also adversely affect a survivor’s physical health, such as raising their blood pressure. It’s important to see a doctor and start treatment. Every survivor’s journey through recovery will be different, but you deserve to access help sooner than later. You can also explore other resources for survivors listed on RAINN’s website.
Jackman Law Firm’s Washington Clergy Sex Abuse Attorneys Are Here to Help
There is no excuse for clergy sexual abuse from church personnel or anyone else. Whether you were an adult or a minor when the abuse occurred, you deserve to seek justice and compensation. Such a violation of trust can have a devastating impact on survivors and their families. If you or a loved one has been harmed by institutional sex abuse, you deserve to hold the religious institution accountable for its negligence in the state of Washington.
We Can Help You or a Loved One Fight Back Against Clergy Sex Abuse in the State of Washington
At Jackman Law Firm, our Washington state clergy sex abuse lawyers can lead your case from start to finish and navigate the legal process while you take the time you need to heal and determine your next steps.
This way, you can focus on your physical and psychological recovery. Call us today for a free, completely confidential consultation. We will listen to your story and explain how our legal team can help you. We can also help with reporting clergy sex abuse in the state of Washington.