Who Is Responsible for Paying In Clergy Sexual Assault Cases?
Now that we’ve established that there are legal options available for those who have suffered from sexual assault, one of the most important questions survivors may have is what kind of compensation they may be entitled to and who pays it.
The Church and It’s Insurance
In most personal injury cases—such as car accidents—it is the individual’s personal insurance provider who pays out the compensation. However, most personal insurance policies do not cover criminal or intentional acts.
Of course the individual who committed the assault is personally responsible for compensating the victim for the harm they caused, but often individuals do not have the personal assets to fully compensate the victim. If the perpetrator is a member of the clergy or another individual employed by or acting on behalf of the church, then the church may also be liable for the harm their employee or agent caused. The church may also be directly liable if it had knowledge of past incidents of assault or improper acts by the perpetrator and hired them anyway, or continued to permit them to prey upon innocent victims.
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In addition to the assets of the church, any insurance policies the church had in place must be carefully reviewed to see if they provide coverage for a claim of sexual assault by a church employee or agent. Unlike personal policies covering the perpetrator, the church’s insurance may provide coverage under these circumstances.
For survivors, it’s important to take legal action for multiple reasons:
- You can get compensation to help cover the costs associated with the physical and emotional harm (e.g. medical expenses, therapy costs, and more).
- You can pursue justice, knowing that the responsible party was held accountable for what they did to you.
- You can incite change, bringing these heinous actions into public spotlight and helping to protect others who either haven’t come forward or could have suffered in the future if the actions were ignored.
At Breit Cantor Grana Buckner, we have taken action against priests, pastors, and other church leaders who abused the trust of the church’s members. We know what it takes to help survivors of sexual assault seek compensation. We never back down when it comes to obtaining justice for our clients, and we’re ready to provide you with a strong voice against your attacker.