Civil Claims for Victims of Church Molestation in Florida
Were you or a loved one the victim of molestation at a church or place of worship in Florida? Florida crime victim’s rights attorney Jason Turchin and his team of compassionate civil crime victim lawyers in Florida are here to help you get the compensation you deserve and hold accountable those who are responsible for your trauma. Call us today at 800-337-7755 to see how we can help you. We've helped many victims of child molestation pursue civil claims in Florida.
Sexual assault is quickly becoming an epidemic in our society that leaves thousands of victims with devastating emotional, mental, and physical lasting effects. The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network reports that that over 17,000 children annually are victims of molestation in church or other places of worship.
From raising money for charity to providing meals for the needy, most churches do wonderful things for the community. Churches encourage children to get involved with their congregations from a young age. While the parents worship, kids often learn about the Bible in a more age appropriate classroom setting. Many churches also conduct extracurricular youth group programs from young children and teens, which encourage skill building and early participation in church wide or faith based activities.
Children who attend Sunday school classes or youth groups will often place their trust in members of the clergy or other religious leaders in the organization. Sadly, studies show that as many as 93% of victims personally know their abusers. Children are some of the most at risk for sexual abuse because they look up to religious leaders as role models. These “role models” use their position of power to intimidate and convince a child that inappropriate contact or exposure to sex is okay.
But isn’t Child Molestation a Crime in Florida?
Child molestation is a very serious sex crime that can land a perpetrator behind bars for many years. However, successfully prosecuting child molestation can be very difficult for a number of reasons, mainly that physical evidence of a sexual battery is difficult to obtain. A child who is afraid of being in trouble may not immediately report the incident to the parent or teacher. Many kids feel too ashamed to speak up. Physical trauma from sexual abuse is fast healing. With physical evidence gone, it can be challenging to convince a jury that the defendant should be found guilty.
Florida Civil Claim For Child Molestation Victims
Regardless of whether a criminal trial goes forward, many families of victims of molestation are unaware that they have the option to file a case in civil court for negligence or inadequate security. A victim of child molestation in Florida may be entitled to significant compensation.
The long term effects of child molestation can be crippling. Many children have a hard time coping with their trauma. Common emotional and mental effects of molestation victims include:
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Self harming behaviors
- Trust issues
- Substance abuse
- Low self esteem
- Dissociative disorders
- Personality disorders
- Eating disorders
The emotional and mental toll sexual abuse can take on a child is obvious, but there may be a significant financial cost as well. A child who was molested may face years of costly therapy sessions and treatment to help him cope with the gravity of the trauma he suffered.
Negligence and Child Molestation
When you attend church or religious services, or when you drop your child off for religious school and for extracurricular activities, you do so believing that your child is in safe hands. We believe that when a child suffers abuse at the hands of a religious teacher, leader, or church member, the church or organization should be held responsible for not keeping that child safe from dangerous people.
Unfortunately, negligent hiring practices often lead to dangerous people earning themselves a position of authority over impressionable children. The church, however, owes a duty of care to congregation members and people on the premises, which is to keep everyone safe from harm. Most commonly, this includes conditions on the premises that can cause people to get hurt, but sometimes, this means protecting the congregation from wrongdoers.
An organization must thoroughly screen and conduct full background checks on potential employers. Sadly, religious organizations can be rather political, and will sometimes turn a blind eye to a potential employee or pastor’s history of sexual abuse. If the church knew or should have known about an employee’s abuse record and it was reasonably foreseeable that hiring that person could have resulted in harm to others, then the church or organization could be held liable for damages. Even if the church did not know or have reason to know about a potential wrongdoer, it still has a duty to keep those at the church safe. Most organizations with youth activities implement the two adult rule, in which a child is never left alone with one adult at any time.
Hiring a Victim’s Rights Attorney in Florida
As a parent, you would do anything to keep your child safe. When we drop our kids off at church for Sunday school or youth group, we expect them to have fun, make friends their age, build life skills, and learn about the teachings of the Bible. What we should never expect is to find out that our child was abused by a trusted adult at the church.
Florida Victim’s Rights Attorney Jason Turchin and his team of compassionate and experienced lawyers know that this is a difficult time for you. While you focus on your child’s physical and emotional healing, our focus is to get you the compensation your family deserves by holding those who failed to protect our child responsible with the hope that others will not have to suffer at the hands of the perpetrator.
Call us today at 800-337-7755 for your free consultation.