When you attend church, you trust that the clergy respects you and is there to enhance your experience. But with the rise of clergy sex abuse in Michigan and several other states, you need a strong and passionate law firm ready to hold the negligent parties accountable.
If you are a survivor of clergy abuse, our team of lawyers can help you. Our lead attorney, Jamie White, has proudly and successfully represented victims in nationally recognized sexual abuse cases, including representing hundreds of Boy Scouts of America victims and clergy sex abuse victims. At White Law PLLC, we care about your story and are ready to listen. If you qualify for a clergy sex abuse case, we’ll begin pursuing justice and compensation from the negligent clergy members and church.
A Michigan clergy sex abuse lawyer from our team can help you file your personal injury claim and start your case today.
Defining Clergy Sexual Abuse
People often confuse the terms sexual assault and sexual abuse. Sexual assault is sexual contact or behavior without someone’s consent. In contrast, sexual abuse is when someone does sexual acts to someone without their consent to gain superiority or power over them. The term sexual abuse is also used when the person being abused is a child or vulnerable.
So clergy sexual abuse is when a clergy member suggests or performs sexual acts without consent to hold or gain power over someone. Common examples of clergy sexual abuse include:
- Sexual assault
- Showing pornographic images or videos
- Asking inappropriate sexual questions
- Unwanted touching, such as hugging
- Making sexual jokes
- Exposure of the genitals
If you were a child when the abuse occurred or aren’t sure if you have a valid case, our clergy sexual abuse attorneys in Michigan are here to reassure you. We can give you a free case review where we’ll determine if you qualify for a case.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Clergy Sex Abuse Claim in Michigan?
Our team wants you to obtain the compensation you qualify for, and the first step to doing so is to file a clergy sexual abuse claim against the liable parties. Michigan’s statute of limitations gives you three years to file a claim from the day the abuse occurred.
However, if you suffered clergy sexual abuse when you were a child or minor, according to Michigan Compiled Law 600.5851b in Michigan’s Sexual Assault Benchbook, you can file your claim anytime before your 28th birthday.
Importantly, many states are beginning to change legislation to open up the statute of limitations. We believe that this will be the case for Michigan as well, so please contact our law firm even if it has been over three years since the abuse occurred or you are older than 28. Our lawyers may still be able to help you with your claim.
We encourage you to file your clergy sexual abuse claim as soon as possible to make the legal process easier and to allow us to begin compiling evidence to build a strong case. When we file your claim, we’ll gather evidence to support your claim, such as:
- Clergy member’s DNA if the abuse occurred recently
- Medical records
- Therapist notes
- Church records, if accessible
- Photos of your injuries
- Security camera footage of nearby businesses
We’ll inform you of any evidence we need and whether it’s time sensitive. Our Michigan clergy sex abuse attorneys can help you file your claim on time, so you receive the correct compensation amount.
We’re not just lawyers. We’re passionate advocates who will ensure that your voice is heard and your rights are protected.
Compensation You Can Recover as a Survivor of Clergy Sex Abuse
After a clergy member has sexually abused you or a loved one, we understand that your losses are greater than any dollar amount. We know that no amount of money can make up for your pain, but it can help you afford the resources you need to heal. A Michigan clergy sexual abuse attorney from our law firm can help you recover damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses for psychological counseling, physical therapy, surgeries, medications, and medical equipment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress and trauma
Can You Recover Punitive Damages in a Clergy Sexual Abuse Case?
Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party and discourage them from repeating the actions by making them pay additional damages. A case is eligible for punitive damages when an attorney can prove the defendant intentionally hurt someone. Unfortunately, in the context of clergy sexual abuse, most, if not all, sexual abuse is intentional.
Your case may be eligible for punitive damages if your case goes to court. Churches and clergy members certainly have the money to pay for punitive damages, but it can be difficult to get them to pay.
But our team of Michigan clergy sex abuse lawyers at White Law PLLC isn’t afraid of a challenge. We’re ready to do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain.
We know how to get our clients the results they need in the toughest legal arenas.
How Is Michigan Handling Clergy Sexual Abuse?
Michigan has been actively investigating clergy sex abuse for several years and made its first clergy abuse conviction in 2019. In addition, the Attorney General, Dana Nessel, has been exceptionally active in speaking about the issue and demanding justice for survivors of clergy sex abuse.
According to a statewide clergy abuse investigation report, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office’s Clergy Abuse Investigative Team has uncovered a total of 454 priests accused of sex abuse, 811 survivors, and 11 clergy members who were charged. In addition, the investigative team has found that Grand Rapids has the highest number of accused clergy members and survivors, with 105 priests and 207 survivors.
As Michigan clergy sex abuse attorneys, we are proud to be helping Michigan further tackle the clergy sex abuse that has been going on for too long and has caused immense pain to the community.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
Helpful Resources for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Assault
We understand that after you’ve suffered sexual abuse, you may not want to talk about it immediately, as it can bring back unwanted trauma. Our attorneys have compiled a list of helpful resources to inform you of your rights and support you:
- Children’s Advocacy Centers of Michigan
- Sexual Assault & Abuse
- Report Abuse | Protect | Archdiocese of Detroit
- Resources for Survivors
- Report Abuse – Diocese of Grand Rapids
If you have any questions about clergy sexual abuse or the legal process, our Michigan clergy sex abuse lawyers are ready to answer them.
Choose Our Law Firm for Dedicated Legal Representation Against the Clergy
If you were sexually abused by a clergy member you trusted, it’s time for our Michigan clergy sex abuse lawyers to step in to pursue compensation. Our team at White Law PLLC has years of experience advocating for the rights of clergy sex abuse survivors, and we’re ready to put our skills to work for you.
Call us or fill out the contact form on our website to get started with a free case consultation today.
We’re Experienced. We Care.
We Exceed Client Expectations.