Often, survivors of sexual abuse by clergy don’t know what steps to take. This is common, as this traumatic situation can be debilitating. By the time they’re ready to report the abuse, they may hesitate due to fear of what may happen, their state’s statute of limitations, or not knowing their options.
If you or a loved one has survived sexual abuse by a clergy member, know that you can report it, no matter how long ago it took place. Let’s explore how you can report it safely and what happens when clergy sexual abuse is reported. That way, you’ll know what to expect.
Reporting Clergy Sex Abuse to a Lawyer
One of the most common challenges when reporting sexual abuse by a clergy member is being afraid of others finding out. If you report to a lawyer as your first step, your lawyer can guide you through the process of holding the church accountable. With a few small exceptions—like if a person plans to imminently hurt themselves or someone else—conversations between a client and their lawyer are confidential.
Because of the private nature of the conversation, you can learn information about your rights and options without having to share your story more broadly. Only when you are comfortable taking action will your lawyer act on your behalf.
Many believe that trying to hold clergy accountable won’t amount to anything. However, due to recent changes in the law, action is possible. Current law allows you to hold religious organizations, like the the Catholic Church, responsible for abuse that happened, even if it happened many years ago.
Other Ways to Report Clergy Sexual Abuse
There are several other ways to report clergy sexual abuse in Colorado. These include reporting to the police and reporting to the church. You can take these steps alone, but you don’t have to. If you start by talking with an attorney, that attorney can guide you through any necessary reporting.
- Reporting to the police: You can file a police report by calling the non-emergency number of the jurisdiction where the abuse occurred or by visiting your local police station. If you believe someone is in immediate danger or if the situation involves current abuse of someone who is a minor, call 911.
- Reporting to the church locally: You can contact the victim assistance coordinator for the diocese/eparchy where the abuse took place.
- Reporting to the church nationally: You can report online with the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service or call 800-276-1562.
Seek Justice for Survivors of Clergy Sex Abuse
If you or someone you know has survived sexual abuse, you can seek justice. The experienced Colorado attorneys at Keating Wagner are committed to being an award-winning, skilled, empathetic legal team that helps guide survivors of sexual abuse through the process of holding abusers accountable. .
Call us today at 303-534-0401 or send us a message to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We’re here to guide you with the next steps.