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Michigan Clergy Abuse Blog

Authorities reveal charges against 2 more former priests

Two former priests associated with the Diocese of Marquette are facing criminal sexual conduct charges as part of the Department of Attorney General’s investigation into clergy sex abuse. Gary Allen Jacobs, 74 years old, and Roy Joseph, 52, both face at least one felony count of criminal sexual conduct.

Here is a brief overview of the latest allegations, according to the attorney general’s office.

How often do false child sex abuse claims occur?

Detractors looking to cast doubt on allegations of child sex abuse often claim the survivor made up the incident. This argument can be especially prevalent when it involves abuse that happened decades earlier, when the survivor was a young child.

But do false accusations of child sex abuse actually happen? And if they do, how often?

How surviving child sex abuse can affect adult relationships

The trauma of sexual abuse is far-reaching and can affect a survivor for decades. Some may manage the personal, physical and mental health effects for the rest of their life. But these impacts do not only point inward.

For many who overcame abuse, the incident can affect their relationships with other adults.

An overlooked group of clergy abuse survivors

Abusive priests did not all target one type of person. Each preyed upon individuals from different communities in all parts of the country, taking advantage when they believed they could. Survivors come from all walks of life.

A recent Associated Press story suggests the church is making little effort to connect with one possible group: survivors of color.

Investigation may uncover ‘thousands’ of clergy abuse survivors

As the Department of Attorney General’s criminal investigation into clergy abuse has progressed, we have learned more and more about the injustices that occurred. But recent comments by the attorney general herself suggest what we’ve seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg.

In a year-end announcement, the department detailed its findings. Since obtaining 1.5 million paper documents and 3.5 million electronic records in late 2018, more than two dozen volunteers have joined the effort to pore through the evidence. The office has already uncovered troubling figures.

How long do survivors have to file a civil lawsuit?

The full extent of the clergy sexual abuse scandal here in Michigan is still unfolding. New criminal charges, convictions and news reports suggest many survivors are still in the process of finding justice. Some of them may be wondering about the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit against their abuser, but are worried too much time has passed.

What does the law allow for? Far more time than it used to.

Why were hundreds of accused priests left off public lists?

It was 18 years ago when dioceses and religious orders across the country began publicly releasing the names of clergy members credibly accused of sexually abusing children. Facing increasing scrutiny, these public releases were made under the banner of disclosure and transparency, or as a condition of a settlement.

But a new analysis reveals these public lists may not have been as transparent as once thought.

How to support adult survivors of child sex abuse

Most friends and family members of clergy abuse survivors want to show support for their loved one. Knowing how to do that can be difficult. What's the right thing to say? Is there anything you should - or shouldn't - do?

Here are a few tips to help guide you in these emotional situations.

Pope ends �top secret� classification for clergy abuse claims

The Vatican will no longer treat clergy sexual abuse allegations as classified information to be withheld from civil authorities and the public. On Dec. 17, 2019, Pope Francis announced the concept of “pontifical secret” – essentially the church’s in-house classification of top secret – no longer applies to accusations, trials or decisions regarding clergy misconduct.

This change in policy comes after years of mounting pressure, with accusations of sexual abuse and subsequent cover-ups across the globe. So how might this decree affect clergy abuse cases going forward?

Survivor’s emotional account shows devastating impact of abuse

Here at White Law PLLC, we often write about the long-term effects of clergy abuse, which survivors must manage for the rest of their lives. This can include things like shame and guilt, PTSD and even financial ramifications.

The most powerful accounts, however, come from survivors themselves. One individual’s recent impact statement following the sentencing of the abuser demonstrates just how wounding these actions can be.

Your Fight Is Our Fight

Our attorneys are fierce advocates for the survivors of clergy abuse.
We look forward to earning your trust and pursuing the justice you deserve.

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