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Sexual Assault in Church

Church Sexual Abuse Attorneys

looking down the aisle of a church towards the pew | Church Sexual Abuse AttorneysAlthough a church would seem like the last place a sexual assault would take place, in fact, it is more common than we would like to believe. A Church-commissioned report in 2004 stated that more than 4,000 US Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years. Since 2004, more allegations have come to light, including a widespread investigation in the Pennsylvania Catholic parishes. However, the Catholic church is far from the only church in which sexual assaults occur.  Consider these statistics from the Charles Samuel website:

  • In Britain, the Methodist Church recently apologized for nearly 2,000 reports of sexual abuse in the church which dated back to the 1950’s.
  • The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism investigated then confirmed that Donn Ketcham, a medical missionary sexually abused eighteen girls and four women.
  • Two of the largest church insurers in the United States reported in 2010, that the risks of covering the churches for sexual assault were just as high in Protestant churches as in Catholic churches.

Unfortunately, churches often fail to protect victims of sexual assault, and even after such an assault occurs, far too often the victim is blamed. Survivors of these types of assault need to know that they have rights. Churches have an obligation to provide safe places to worship. When they fail to meet this responsibility, it’s important that they be held accountable. Contact the experienced church sexual abuse attorneys at the Gold Law Firm for a free consultation to find out what your legal options are.

According to the Washington Post, the #MeToo movement has made its way into churches and several high-profile leaders have fallen. Bill Hybels, pastor of an Illinois megachurch recently retired after a number of women claimed he had made lewd comments, invitations to hotel rooms, and forced kisses on them.

President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson, was forced into early retirement after telling a female rape victim that rather than calling the police, she should “forgive” her assailant. In yet another case, a pastor failed to report a church member who sexually assaulted children in the church, claiming the man had “repented.” The offender went on to abuse five more children before he was arrested.

Only about 260 claims of sexual abuse against a minor in a church are received by the three largest insurers of churches and Christian nonprofits. These figures exclude, however, those covered by other insurers, victims of sexual assault who are older than 18, those whose cases were not disclosed to the insurance companies, and, of course, all those who were sexually assaulted but never came forward. It is clear that the issue of sexual assault within church walls must be addressed so that churches can be the safe haven they were meant to be.

Contact Our Denver Sexual Assault Survivor’s Attorneys

Denver Attorneys from the Gold Law FirmIf you are a survivor of sexual assault in church by a pastor, church member, or anyone affiliated with the organization, we can help. Our Denver church sexual assault attorneys believe in holding negligent churches and institutions responsible for breeding a culture that allows sexual assault and abuse to flourish. To learn more about your legal rights, contact Gregory A. Gold of the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation at (303) 694-4653.


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