religious corporations and sexual abuse , child abuse and rape

Religious Abusers And Enablers Prey On Innocence And Trust

It has taken many years and significant courage for some victims to reveal the reality of sexual abuse by religious authorities. Some Catholic priests, Lutheran pastors, Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis and other spiritual leaders grossly abuse their power by committing unconscionable sexual abuse and exploitation that can cause lifelong damage affecting all aspects of victims’ lives. Equally unspeakable is the fact that religious and charitable corporations and organizations have taken active steps to ignore then cover up instances of abuse.

Studies have shown that when institutions cover up abuse, sexual predators remain free to damage the lives of perhaps hundreds of additional children before they are caught — if ever.

Attorney Tahira Khan Merritt has successfully litigated numerous cases of sexual abuse committed by spiritual leaders grooming and exploiting under the aegis of religious corporations. She was also appointed as a Special Prosecutor by the District Attorney of Eastland County, Texas, to assist in one of the few criminal prosecutions of a pedophile priest in Texas. The prosecution of Thomas Teczar received national media attention and resulted in a 50-year prison sentence. Her experience is important if you are considering filing a civil lawsuit against a religious official or group. The applicable laws vary significantly from state to state. Yours would not be her first case in dealing with those relevant, complex legal issues.

“Tahira Merritt had the utmost professionalism in dealing with my case. I had a secret for 25 years and decided it was time to face my Goliath, past sexual abuse by a Catholic priest. This sin is toxic and had permeated all my relationships and caused several health problems. After doing some research, Tahira’s name kept coming up. I found her level of professionalism and capacity to identify with abuse survivors to be key to my continued recovery to this day. She has had significant experience in helping abuse survivors like me navigate the process — not a trivial matter as the system isn’t much in our favor. Additionally, she is skilled in navigating the tactics of the Diocese of Dallas (and other dioceses for that matter) and the Catholic Church, whose actions further victimize a survivor during the process. Make no mistake, no one should do this on their own or confront abusers by themselves. Contrary to what is said in the papers and on TV about how the church “hurts for victims of abuse,” they use every tactic to further demean abuse victims. You need a lawyer who knows what they will do and anticipate their next move. I would highly recommend Tahira as counsel to anyone that is in need of help with a sexual abuse case.” — Client testimonial, abused at age 15

Both Individual Perpetrators And Corporate Enablers May Be Held Liable

Catholic priests, Lutheran pastors, Jewish rabbis, Mormon deacons, Protestant elders and any other church ministers or spiritual leaders are capable of committing sexual abuse and can be held liable for civil damages. Religious corporations involve any organization, employee or volunteer affiliated with such entities as private schools, day care facilities or religious camps, which may be held liable for:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Failing to report abuse
  • Covering up abuse

Personalized Attention And Understanding Of Your Needs | We Hear Your Outcry

Only by victims’ coming forward can perpetrators ever be held accountable for their actions. Confronting them is not easy, even though the abuse may have occurred years ago, so we will do everything in our power to speak for you and help you achieve justice in civil courts.

Call our law office in Dallas at (214) 503-7300 or email us to arrange a consultation with us or our Victim Advocate. We represent individuals who live across the nation.