Clergy Sex Abuse Attorneys in New Jersey

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Clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey occurs in all religions. Whether the abuse occurs within a church, synagogue, mosque, or any other religious community, clergy members taking advantage of children under the age of 18 is illegal and immoral. For over 25 years, our team of sex crime-prosecutors and attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have been helping victims of clergy sexual abuse, just like you, get the justice they deserve.

What Is Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

Clergy sex abuse in New Jersey occurs when a member of the clergy within a religious community has any sexual contact or sexual interaction with a child under the age of 18. The child can be male or female, affluent or poor, of any race, color, or national origin, and within any position within the church. The clergy members often groom the children and the families to earn their trust and then sexually abuse them for a period of time, whether it is once or on-going. Many times, clergy sexual abuse goes on for many years within the religious community before victims are able and willing to come forward. Clergy members may include, but are not limited to:

  • Priests
  • Rabbis
  • Deacons
  • Bishops
  • Imams
  • Nuns
  • Religious elders
  • Spiritual advisors
  • Spiritual leaders
What Are Examples of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

Clergy sexual abuse can take many forms. Some examples of clergy sex abuse in New Jersey may include, but are not limited to:

  • Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration with a penis, finger, or other objects
  • Sharing pornography with children
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Taking nude photos or videos of children
  • Videotaping children during sexual acts
  • Watching children during sexual acts
  • Forcing a child to touch a clergy member’s penis of other intimate areas
  • Touching a child’s penis or other intimate areas
  • Sexting
  • Sending sexually explicit emails
  • Forcing a child to perform sexual acts with himself or others
What Are the Effects of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

Children sexually abused by their clergy suffer extreme trauma as a result. The trauma is a bit different than other forms of child sexual abuse because of the relationship between the clergy member and religion. Many times, these children are made to believe it is God’s will, making the child feel even more alone and without any type of protection. Some of the effects of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey may include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Shame
  • Distrust of authority
  • Substance abuse
  • Extreme anger
  • Nightmares
  • Night terrors

Schizophrenia

Who Are the Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

Victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey are children under the age of 18. They are often members of the religious community that holds positions within the community or volunteer within their religious organization. This leaves the children in the care of the clergy often, giving the clergy members constant access to the children. The victims are of all genders, races, colors, class statuses, national origins, and family situations.

What Rights Do Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Have in New Jersey?

As of December 2019, New Jersey’s new law will allow victims of clergy sex abuse can file a claim in civil court until they reach 55 or within 7 years of coming to the realization the abuse causes severe damage. The lawsuit also allows anyone who previously attempted to file a claim for clergy sexual abuse and was turned away because it was past the statute of limitations, to file the claim regardless of their age. This previous will expire in 2 years from the date of the law taking effect.

Who Are the Accomplices that Contribute to the Culture of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

Clergy often do not act alone when sexually abusing children. Many other people often ignore signs or do not live up tot heir responsibility when in charge of the children because they believe the clergy members are to be trusted. Some members of the community that may be accomplices, willingly or unwillingly, to clergy sexual abuse may include, but are not limited to:

  • Religious elders
  • Therapists, counselors, or others in a position to report the suspicions or incidents
  • Adults responsible for children within the religious community
  • Religious schoolteachers
  • Religious leaders
What Type of Justice in Criminal Court is Typically available to Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

New Jersey clergy abuse victims are witnesses in criminal court when pressing charges against clergy members. The criminal court’s goal is to stop the clergy members from having access to continue the sexual abuse with any children. The sentences may include:

  • Aggravated assault when the victim is under the age of 13 or between 13 and 16 and the abuser has control over them. This can include a sentence of up to 20 years in prison
  • Sexual assault when a child is between the ages of 13 and 17 or between 16 and 18 and the abuser has control over them. This can include a sentence of up to 10 years in prison
  • Clergy convicted of sexual abuse must also register as a national sex offender.
What Remedies Are Available in Civil Court for Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?

In New Jersey civil court, victims of clergy sexual abuse are a party to the lawsuit. They are plaintiffs that are bringing suit against the clergy to obtain relief from the courts. Some of the remedies available to victims of clergy sex abuse may include, but are not limited to:

  • Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
  • Payment for therapists or counseling
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
What Resources Are Available for Victims of Clergy Sex Abuse in New Jersey?
  • Lauren’s Kids. Lauren’s Kids offers guidance and education to victims of sexual abuse to begin the healing process.
  • RAINN. The Rape, Assault, Incest, National Network is the largest national organization that helps victims of sexual assault. The organization provides a hotline to help victims of sex abuse as well as other resources to help people more on and start a new life.
  • Darkness to Light. Darkness to Light helps victims of sex abuse by helping them find therapists and other helpful resources.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The organization helps sexually abused children by using evaluations and therapies to overcome the trauma of the abuse.
  • Stop It Now. Stop It Now is meant to help adult survivors of clergy sexual abuse find the organizations to help the healing process.

Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Clergy Sex Abuse Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Clergy sexual abuse is among the most traumatic experience any child can go through. It is immoral and illegal. If you or a loved one is the victim of clergy sex abuse in New Jersey, our team of former sex-crimes prosecutors at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (973) 388-8625 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.

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