Sexual Assault by Clergy Members in St. Louis
More than 50 priests in the Archdiocese of St. Louis have been accused of sexual assault. These allegations are being taken incredibly seriously throughout the United States, with state-wide probes (in agreement with the Catholic Church) in Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
These are difficult cases. On one hand, if sexual misconduct occurs outside of a church’s premises, one could argue that the church isn’t responsible. On the other, a clergy member’s role is inevitably tied to their job. Sexual abuse, rape, and misconduct is a horrible thing to happen to anyone.
Catholic Church Rape and Sexual Assault
Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the complications behind these cases. Note that the St. Louis church sexual assault lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm are steadfast in helping victims in Missouri or Illinois for free. We take these cases as seriously as they should be taken and are ready to review your claim.
- The Hard Facts — Every few years, the church assult cases become media wildfire. The numbers back this up for good reason, given that in the single state of Pennsylvania, about 1,000 people over the past 7 decades have been abused by the Roman Catholic clergy. According to one source, 170 Missouri priests have been accused. To repeat: That’s 170 reported priests.
- Statute of Limitations — The statute of limitations for rape or sexual assault has been a big-ticket item for quite some time. Many victims wait or simply never reach out for legal help if they’ve been molested or sexually abused by the church. The law — while not actively trying to sweep these cases under the rug like the church — can only reach so far.
- The Time Factor — Pennsylvania, is locked into a debate about statute of limitations between civil and criminal offenses. There are factors such as age, witness recollection and testimonials, and lost evidence at stake. It’s important to seek professional help to stop these atrocities from happening to others. An amicus curiae brief — or information brought to the court by an outside party — can save thousands from future abuse.
- Criminal Vs. Civil — One of the major logjams in forward-moving sexual defense cases is the risk of putting an innocent victim in prison. This is why states are considering whether or not they should alter the statute of limitations for all child sexual assault cases, which would allow the court to request damages from any particular Catholic Diocese.
- Stonewalling — As expected, the diocese in Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States, tie these claims in thick litigation knots, shuffle the accused between cities, and use the backing of the Catholic Church to ignore the issue. They often launch “internal” investigations to stall until either the priest dies, the matter is dropped, or the statute of limitations is reached.
Do You Have a Sexual Abuse Case?
If you or a family member are a victim of sexual abuse, misconduct, molestation, or rape by the church or clergy, contact the Dixon Injury Firm immediately for a free consultation and case review. We can provide more information about these claims and legal representation for church sexual assault cases in Missouri and Illinois.