Florida has launched a statewide criminal Catholic priest sexual abuse investigation. Attorney General Pam Bondi asked survivors to come forward this week and share past abuse. Thus far, 15 have shared their experiences.
Priest Sexual Abuse
Abuses in the Catholic Church have been well-documented in the media. However, systemic abuse has occurred for centuries. Old church documents repeatedly warned of priests or brothers abusing parishioners. Instead of being active in protecting the victims, the Church has a reputation of concealing the abuse and reassigning the clergy members. This isn’t just in Catholic dioceses but also in religious orders (i.e., Christian Brothers, Paulist Fathers, Franciscans, etc).
Usually, the abuse lasts for years. It can take a long time for a child victim of sexual abuse to be able to come forward and report the abuse. Because monsignors, bishops, brothers, nuns, along with priests hold positions coupling trust and faith, victims don’t always identify the abuse. Some abusers claim the inappropriate sexual contact is part of a ritual. Then the perpetrators threaten the victims into silence.
Priest Abuse Investigation
The Florida priest abuse investigation comes after a Pennsylvania grand jury said more than 1,000 children have been molested there since the 1940s. Attorney General, Pam Bondi felt that Floridians had a similar experience. Florida is the 13th state to launch an investigation following the Pennsylvania report. Unlike other states, Florida does not have a statute of limitations for felony sexual assault.
Bondi’s office has set up a website that will enable people to report incidents of past sexual abuse. However, she was close-lipped about the ongoing investigation. Yet, she stated her office has already reached out to the seven bishops who oversee the Roman Catholic dioceses in Florida. Bondi said investigators from offices including the statewide prosecutor and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would soon issue subpoenas in connection to the investigation.
Get Legal Help
Survivors of sexual abuse can file civil suits against perpetrators and other responsible parties, regardless of the outcome or existence of criminal prosecution. Civil lawsuits can help a survivor seek monetary damages. This compensation can never change the abuse suffered but can help rebuild a life.
When a religious organization takes advantage of you, this is wrong. We will hold these institutions liable.
Plus, a civil suit can deter future abuse. This is why it is important if you or a loved one were the victims of sexual abuse to contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm. We will provide a free consultation and instruct any avenues available to you for civil litigation.