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Pope Benedict XVI Must Be Open About Sexual Abuse in His Church

Norman Lear, a television producer and father of six, has written some eloquent words to the Pope regarding the scandal that now engulfs the Roman Catholic Church. In short, Lear urges Pope Benedict XVI to finally open up about the sex abuse scandal that has done so much damage to the Church and its faithful.

The Pope and the Church's response to the sex abuse scandal has been less than stellar thus far. Rather than take responsibility for the actions of criminal priests, and their role in covering up their despicable behavior, the Pope and his subordinates have attacked any individual or organization that seeks to shed a light on these crimes. The reporting of sexual abuse has been likened by Church officials to "idle gossip" and anti-Catholic sentiment. In one instance, a high ranking Church official said these "attacks" on the church were comparable to anti-Semitism.

The response of the Church thus far certainly seems to be lacking in Christian compassion for its victims, or the rest of its flock. For the most part, Church officials - including the Pope - seem most concerned that they got caught. Concern for the victims of sexual abuse by priests is nearly non-existent.

It is ridiculous for the Church to assert that the media's reporting on sexual abuse among its priests or efforts to conceal these crimes has a basis in prejudice. This is a real news story that has affected thousands of children and faithful Catholics around the world. Of course the media will cover it.

In his column, Lear writes that he believes the media's coverage of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal has been more than fair. We agree. Any other organization that spent decades covering up such crimes would be subject to at least as much scrutiny - if not more - as the Church has received.

If Pope Benedict wants the scrutiny and recriminations to end, he and his Church must come clean. Instead of attacking those who expose the lies and cover ups, it is time for the Church to tell us all what it knew, when it knew it and how it handled that information. Until then, the media must continue to cover this sad state of affairs. Only by bringing these crimes out into the open can we be assured that children will stay safe in the future.

Clergy Sexual Abuse

There may be no crime as damaging to a child as sexual abuse that occurs at the hands of a trusted member of the clergy. In recent years, Roman Catholic priests, as well as rabbis in Hasidic and Sephardic Orthodox Jewish communities, have been implicated in horrific instances of child sexual abuse. Muslim imams and Protestant ministers have also faced such charges. Even worse, the leaders of these religions have sometimes gone to extreme lengths to cover up the abuse, behaving as though these crimes somehow occurred outside the scope of the law. If you or someone you love have been betrayed by a priest, rabbi, imam or minister, our clergy sexual abuse lawyers are here, ready to help you.

Our clergy sexual abuse lawyers know how devastating this act of betrayal is. If you are part of a devout family, you likely held your clergy in high esteem. Whether it be a priest, rabbi, imam or minister, the very idea that a trusted and beloved clergy member would hurt you or a loved one may have seemed impossible. Sadly, this unquestioning trust only makes sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy member that much more traumatic. While no amount of money can ever make up for the shattered lives left in the wake of clergy sexual abuse, appropriate compensation can insure that you or your loved one will have access to the extensive therapy needed to get on with your life.

Like many victims of clergy sexual abuse, you may not have considered bringing legal claims or even obtaining counseling. You may be carrying too much shame and guilt; and you may even believe that what happened was somehow your fault. Our clergy sexual abuse lawyers know this crime is never the fault of the victims. We have seen how filing a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit restores a sense of empowerment to victims. Such a lawsuit forces religious leaders to finally listen to you and acknowledge the harm that has been done. Insisting on accountability from your abuser and those who enabled him will help you regain a sense of control over your life.

Consequences of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Trauma caused by sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, rabbi, imam or minister can reverberate well into adulthood. In many cases, religious leaders refused to believe victims, or ordered them to remain silent at the risk of excommunication. To cover up this crime, abusive clergy were often moved from community to community, exposing even more children to their vile acts.

A 2005 study of adults in California who were sexual abuse victims that appeared in the "American Journal of Preventative Medicine" found that sexual abuse significantly increases the risk of developing health and social problems -- such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and marital strife -- in both men and women. Suicide attempts were more than twice as likely among both male and female victims as among nonvictims. Similarly, sexually abused adults of both genders faced a 40 percent greater risk of marrying an alcoholic.

Shame and guilt are likely to follow the victims of clergy sexual abuse throughout much of their lives unless they are given a chance of closure. Filing a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit is one way to find that closure. If you or someone you loved were abused at the hands of a priest, rabbi, imam or minister, you deserve to get justice for the suffering, humiliation and shame you've been forced to endure.

Legal Help for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Our clergy sexual abuse lawyers believe no one should have to suffer because of crimes committed by another. If you were abused by a trusted priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy, we can help you get your life back. Please contact one of our experienced clergy sexual abuse lawyers by filling out our Free Consultation online form or calling us at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636). We promise to treat your clergy sexual abuse case with the respect and compassion you deserve.

Parker Waichman LLP is an AV Rated Law Firm Under the Martindale Hubble Peer Review Rating System.

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