After over four decades, five men abused by an Arkansas priest receive sexual abuse justice. The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock settled with the men in a pioneering move for the state. This gives hope to all those who were abused years ago that justice can be possible. Clergy and leaders within religious institutions offer spiritual and moral guidance for their followers. When these leaders sexually abuse someone, it is extremely detrimental. This abuse manipulates someone’s trust and faith bringing lifelong consequences to the victim.
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.
Finally, Sexual Abuse Justice
In the 1970s, an Arkansas associate pastor at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock abused five boys between the ages of 12 and 14. All were students at Holy Souls when the priest abused them. As the case unfolded, the diocese released a list of 12 other clergy members accused of abuse.
Unfortunately, the state could not file criminal charges since the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lapsed. However, civil justice was possible. The diocese settled the claim with the now men in their late 50s and early 60s for $790,000. Money cannot replace what was stolen from these men. However, one victim expressed feeling no longer alone in his pain and suffering.
Due to the courage of these men, the original list of 12 has grown to 23. Twenty-three priests who worked at Holy Souls from 1974 to 1978 hurt young children. Now, due to this case, there are credible accusations against these clergies and the hope of justice for other victims.
Get Civil Justice For Yourself
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 was the victim of sexual abuse to contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm. We will provide a free consultation and instruct of any avenues available to you for civil litigation.