California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill in October of 2019, which renews hope for those sexually abused by clergy. If you are a nun and have suffered sexual abuse by a bishop or priest, Governor Newsom’s bill allows you up to the age of 40 or five years after the violation was discovered to file a lawsuit against your abusers.
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is here for you to help file charges against the sexual abuse you have suffered from at the hands of your trusted bishop or priest. We understand how difficult this time is for you and how hard it may be to stand up against someone you consider in a position of power. Sexual abuse is a crime and one that the legal system in California takes very seriously. Let Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm make those responsible for your pain and suffering take responsibility.
Nun Sexual Abuse and the Pope
Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by bishops and priests. He has even revealed there is a case where some clergy were found to be using nuns as sex slaves. He has committed himself to end this horrific problem discovered within the Roman Catholic Church.
The discovery of these horrible actions occurring within the church resulted from an article released detailing the reports of sexual abuse by clerics. The story revealed details concerning nuns that have given birth to babies fathered by priests, or to having abortions. When confronted with the request to comment on this story, the Pope reported it was true. He went on to say; he feels this crime is still continuing, as something this big doesn’t just stop because people have become aware of it. It is his commitment, however, to see there is an end to these crimes.
Global Revelations of Nun Sexual Abuse
Revelations of sexual predation by clergy upon children has gained public attention, and now the Church is being forced to address persistent reports of sexual abuse against its own members of the hierarchy. The nuns who serve the church in a secondary capacity to men within the Roman Catholic Church are now coming forward to expose years of sexual abuse they have had to endure.
Another scandal to engulf the Catholic Church follows closely behind the one it is already dealing with regarding sex abuse and coverups on children is the chorus of nuns speaking out about their sexual abuse. Nuns are now coming forward to speak about the years of suffering they have dealt with at the hands of priests, including forced abortions, rape, labor exploitation, and emotional abuse. Once thought of as ‘brides of Christ’ and revered for their quiet service, nuns are breaking their silence, and pointing out their abusers.
Last year an extensive investigation was conducted on four continents- South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe regarding cases of sexual abuse of nuns by clergy. The results of the investigation found that this problem is both pervasive and global. The violence has been allowed to continue because of the fear nuns have to report their suffering. Their fear of retaliation was said to be great and is what has kept many of them silent regarding their sexual abuse.
When the investigation results were released, the Vatican did not want to comment on the measures they were going to take on addressing this global problem. One official within the Vatican did say it would be up to local church leaders to sanction priests who were proven sexual abusers against their nuns. They went on to say that this action seldom resulted in crimes being punished either in canonical or civil courts. You do not have to accept this form of injustice. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is able to fight for your rights, even if the church leaders have failed you. Contact us to learn how you can seek compensation for the suffering you have had to go through.
There had also been a national survey performed in 1996 but intentionally never publicized, which found that at a minimum, more than 30,000 Catholic nuns at that time had suffered some form of sexual abuse. This number is more than forty percent of the nuns in the United States during that year.
The sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic church is said to be at the hands of both priests and other nuns in the church. This victimization has had devastating psychological effects on the victims. Nuns have reported they were left feeling angry, ashamed, and suffered bouts of depression and anxiety. Many of the nuns say they have considered leaving the religious life after their abuse, and some even attempted suicide.
As a victim of sexual abuse by someone within the church, you have the right to seek justice against your abuser or abusers. You are not alone in this fight, and at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, you will find the compassion and respect you deserve to get through this challenging time.
Another study conducted on the reported sexual abuse suffered by nuns included more than 1,100 nuns representing over a hundred different religious orders throughout the United States. Many of the nuns were highly educated, with nine out of ten having a college education.
This survey asked about three types of victimization the nuns could have suffered from, and the first dealt with child sexual abuse. Almost one in five of the nuns involved with the survey reported they had been sexually abused when they were children. Much of this abuse was at the hands of a male member of their family; however, nine percent were victims of abuse by religious persons, including nuns, and priests when they were young children.
The second sexual exploitation the survey questioned was regarding women who entrusted their body, mind, or spirit to another acting in a professional role. The findings were one in eight nuns had been exploited sexually by a priest, nun, or other religious people. The sexual harassment covered anything from the pressure to date, to requests for sexual intercourse. Two out of five nuns reported that sexual abuse occurred, which involved some form of genital contact.
The third form of victimization covered in the survey was directed at nuns who had suffered unwelcome sexual advances that affected their roles or jobs as nuns. Sexual actions that interfered with their work and created a hostile environment. Less than one in ten of the nuns reported she was sexually harassed during her religious life. Of those who were, it was at the hands of a priest, a nun, or someone else within the church. Almost all of the harassment cases involved some form of physical contact.
Culture of Secrecy Responsible for Nun Sexual Abuse is Ending
For decades the allegations of sexual abuse of nuns and religious women by Catholic priests and bishops have been put in the shadows due to other scandals in the church. The decades of silence are now ending. Last year a bishop in India was arrested after a nun reported to the police that he had repeatedly raped her over a two-year time span.
There has been a general tendency within the sisterhood not to report sexual abuse among nuns. There is a compounding interest among religious sisters that have conspired to keep them quiet about the sexual abuse they were suffering from priests and other religious leaders, out of fear of repercussions. A real fear existed they would suffer consequences within their own congregations if they spoke out. The smaller diocesan-level congregations held the most significant fears.
The orders are dependent on the local bishop, and if the bishop himself or one of his priests were the abusers, there was a genuine fear of coming out about sexual abuse happening to them.
Nuns are now reporting they had gotten pregnant as a result of their sexual abuse, and the priest responsible were paying for their abortions. In some cases, the nun would have the child and then be thrown out of the congregation. The Pope has now recognized this problem. He has admitted it was a problem he is working on to end. With the Pope’s recognizing and speaking out on the issue will hopefully allow more nuns to break their silence and come forward to make their abusers responsible for their crimes.
Pope Requires Nun Sexual Abuse To Be Reported
In May of 2019, Pope Frances declared a groundbreaking law that requires all Catholic priests and nuns around the globe to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups to their superiors. This effort is to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks.
This new law issued by the church will also provide whistle-blowers protection anytime they make a report. All dioceses around the globe are to have a system in place that allows statements to be made confidentially. The law also outlines procedures for conducting preliminary investigations when the accused is a religious superior, cardinal, or bishop.
The effort made by Pope Frances is in response to a global eruption of sexual abuse crimes and cover-up scandals that is devasting the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy and his own papacy. It will also provide a legal framework for United States Bishops to use when they adopt accountability measures to respond to the scandal occurring in the U.S.
The Pope’s new law is making the more than 415,00 Catholic priests and 660,000 religious sisters mandated reporters. They will all be required to inform church authorities whenever they learn or have reason to believe a cleric or nun is engaged or has engaged in sexual abuse. This abuse is either with a minor, involves sexual misconduct with an adult, possession of child pornography, or if a superior is covering up any of those crimes.
As mandated reporters under the Pope’s law, they do not have to report the sexual abuse to the police. The Vatican argues that reporting to local authorities could endanger the church where Catholics would persecute as minorities. The law does, however, now enforce a global church law that requires priests, nuns, and other religious persons have to obey civil reporting rules in the area they live. Their obligation to report to the church does not interfere with that requirement.
This new law is also going to be implemented retroactively, meaning nuns and priests now have to report old cases of sexual abuse and cover-ups, and still receive whistleblower protection. The Vatican is expecting there to be an avalanche of abuse and cover-up reports to start coming in the next few years. What was once left up to the conscience of the individual nun or priest, is now church law to report.
At this point, there are no punitive repercussions in place if the nuns and priests do not report, and there are no sanctions if dioceses do not comply. Religious superiors and bishops could be accused of cover-ups or negligence if they do not implement the provisions, or if they retaliate against those who make reports.
Legal Action for Nun Sexual Abuse in California
In California, taking legal action is one way survivors of sexual abuse by clergy can seek accountability. A civil legal action is a powerful tool, and Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is ready to help you find the justice you deserve. The laws in California allow survivors of sexual abuse to sue their abusers and others who enabled the abuse to continue.
If you are a nun who has suffered sexual abuse within the trusted walls of your church, you are facing severe emotional times. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands how difficult this time is for you, but also want you to know that by taking action, you can help prevent this abuse from continuing. The remedies for clergy abuse can finally put an end to the history of sexual abuse, which has been allowed to continue in silence for decades. Through litigation, you can seek damages for misconduct that was done intentionally by the priest or bishop, and who has been abusing you to deter their misconduct in the future.
New Statue of Limitations will Help End Nun Sexual Abuse
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed the bill in October, which will give victims of clergy abuse increased chances to find the justice they deserve and hold clergy members accountable for their crimes. If you are a nun within the Roman Catholic Church and have been sexually abused by a clergy member, you now have until your 40th birthday to file a claim against this crime. The new law also allows you to file a claim within five years of the time your abuse was discovered or the damage it caused you was identified.
California Sexual Abuse Laws
If you have been sexually abused in California, whether as a nun and part of the Catholic Church, or anyone else, you have the right to file a claim in civil court for sex crime injuries. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is here for you to protect your rights and help you heal from this very serious crime.
A sex crime under California law is one that involves unwanted touching on a person’s private body parts, such as genitals, groin, breasts, anus, or buttocks. The form of contact and the situation in how contact was made defines what a crime is and what is not under the sex crime laws. An example would be if you are a restaurant and another customer passes by you and accidentally brushes your breast with their arm, it is not a sex crime. If the customer purposely reaches out to grope or grab your breast, you could potentially file a charge for sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a broad term, and in the State of California, it can include threats, sodomy, rape, seduction, and a lot of other sexual misconduct. The most general terms of sexual assault are any unwanted sexual conduct upon another person without their consent, and it includes coercion and threats.
The act of rape is defined as sexual intercourse with an intimate partner, acquaintance, stranger, or spouse without your consent.
- Sexual abuse by an intimate partner
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies intimate partner violence (IPV) in four ways:
- Psychological aggression
- Physical violence
- Sexual violence
The CDC reports that one in four women, and one in ten men are victims of intimate partner violence during their life. Eighteen percent of women and eight percent of men will experience contact sexual violence, including rape, during their life.
It does not have to be an act of rape, in the legal definition, to be a victim of sexual abuse. Intimate partner violence can include digital penetration, oral copulation, sodomy, and penetration with a foreign object.
Rape happens when the victim is threatened, forced against their will, or is physically unable to grant consent to sex due to being asleep, unconscious, unaware, or disable. Rape also occurs if the victim is mentally unable to grant consent to sex due to a disability, is under the age of seventeen, or if the victim is under the age of eighteen, and the abuser is over the age of eighteen.
If you have been a victim of sexual violence in the State of California, you have the right to make a claim for compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm can help you file a claim in the civil court system, and you could be entitled to:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional and mental trauma
- Medical costs
- Lost wages or loss of future earnings
- Any additional expenses related to psychological or physical injuries
There are two forms of justice in the United States- criminal and civil. The criminal justice system is when the prosecutor will decide whether or not to charge a defendant, or abuser, with a sex crime. If this person is found guilty, they can be incarcerated and fined.
Civil cases are those where the victim can sue not only the perpetrator or abuser but any entity responsible in some way for the crime committed against the victim. In the case of a nun sexual abuse case, your attorney may be able to hold others in the church accountable for your injuries if they knew about the abuse and did nothing to help you or report the violation.
The civil justice system allows you, as a survivor, to bring claims for damages against your abuser. A plea or verdict of guilty can support or strengthen your claim, but it is not needed to file a claim. If your abuser is found not guilty in a criminal court, they may still be held accountable for your injuries and ordered to compensate you for:
- Your loss of companionship with a partner
- Your loss of potential future wages or loss of current wages
- Your pain and suffering
- Your medical expenses
Civil cases rely on the truth behind the evidence, not necessarily how much evidence is present. It means that less evidence is required in a civil case than a criminal one, but it still must convince the judge or jury of its authentication.
Coming forward about sexual abuse is a deeply personal decision, and as a nun, you have years behind you of a practice that required your silence. You no longer have to honor that culture of silence even though you may feel coming forward is a violation in and of itself. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm understands the difficult situation you are in and are ready to protect you throughout the process of seeking justice against your abuser. No longer should you stay silent and allow your abuser to continue threatening you or others. Let us help you put an end to your sexual abuse.
Finding Help for Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Near Me
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm goes beyond exposing sexual abusers; we will seek restitution for your physical injuries, help you through your emotional trauma and psychological effects. Call us at 310-359-9451 and let us discuss your case and your options and begin finding you the justice you deserve for the crimes against you.