Religious and church leaders are given unique status within our society. They are some of the most trusted members of our communities. They are often powerful and influential voices in the lives of the families and children who look up to them. Tragically, when these powerful people betray our trust, it’s especially devastating and lives are forever impacted.
Recently, it seems every news cycle brings forth another terrible scandal involving a religious leader or organization. The sheer number allegations and cases is staggering. As our criminal justice courts grapple with the flood of clergy abuse cases, the civil courts are consistently ruling in favor of rightful compensation for victims. While no amount of money can undo the damage of abuse, it seems fair that these well-funded religious organizations take responsibility and pay victims for their suffering.
For over 30 years, Roberts Markland LLP has been holding the powerful accountable for their actions. We also put victims’ privacy and emotional needs first. Our goal is rightful compensation for our clients while encouraging a pathway towards healing and recovery.
Child Sexual Abuse in Texas
Sadly, the victims of childhood sexual abuse are often abused by the very individuals entrusted with their welfare. The extensive abuse within certain churches and religious organizations is particularly disturbing. Children and adults who have suffered are being encouraged to come forward to stop the abuse, protect future victims, and seek justice or appropriate financial compensation for their pain and suffering.
In Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code, child sexual abuse is defined as "any harmful sexual conduct to a child's mental, physical or emotional welfare, in addition to failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child, and encouraging or compelling the child to engage in sexual conduct."
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
• Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for the child’s age
• Bedwetting or soiling the bed, if the child has already outgrown these behaviors
• Not wanting to be left alone with certain people or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers, especially if this is a new behavior
• Tries to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe
Texas Churches and Sexual Abuse
The state of Texas has been hit particularly hard with a number of scandals involving the clergy and priesthood. Some victims have been able to prevail against their perpetrators while many others have yet to be heard. Authorities have alleged churches, including the Catholic Church, knew about abuse within their ranks but did nothing about it or systematically covered it up. There is evidence of payouts to victims going back decades. been accused of Authorities allege a systematic by organizations including the Catholic Church, in which church leaders were well aware of abuse but either did nothing or attempted to cover it up.
But, churches admitting wrong-doing isn’t enough to reverse the suffering of victims. These children and adult victims deserve significant financial compensation for the pain they have endured at the hands of those they trusted most.
States investigating claims of abuse is a good start but might also protect churches from paying financial penalties to actual victims. It’s important that victims get legal help immediately to insure justice is served.
At Roberts Markland, victims rights are a top priority. We seek the maximum compensation for our clients while protecting them and their loved ones from any further harm. No individual, church, or organization is too big to stop our unwavering dedication to victims rights and compensation.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse, we urge you to get professional help. You are not alone, nor should you suffer in silence. Here are some resources to learn more about abuse and further help: