Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in the Wake of Clerical Sexual Abuse in America

Baku State University Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2019

17 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by Kevin H. Govern

Kevin H. Govern

Ave Maria University - Ave Maria School of Law

Date Written: May 2019

Abstract

This article outlines the history of cleric sexual abuse from 1950 through contemporary times, and surveys past civil and criminal prosecutions of Roman Catholic sexual abuse cases. Contemporary theories of criminal liability may be either an alternative to – or an adjunct with – civil tort lawsuits, and injunctive relief is increasingly sought to investigate as well as to deter future abuse. Time will tell the impact of ongoing state and federal RICO Act prosecutions not just on perpetrators but also clerics and Church decision-makers remaining in active ministry. Restorative justice, forums for listening and sharing, through stories and prayer, may well offer the most opportunity for fostering healing and reconciliation within the bounds of the law yet not directly involving courts or legal processes. Restorative justice strongly shines the light of the Gospel on this scourge, where agents of such justice are mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul, in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians that “[a]ll this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Remediative and restorative measures outside the courts must augment legal remedies within halls of justice for multifaceted and effective means to address the past and ongoing criminal and civil law and public health crises arising from cleric sexual abuse, and to help prevent future abuses from taking place.

Keywords: Cleric Sexual Abuse, Roman Catholic, Justice, Reconciliation, Restorative Justice

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K42, Z12, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Govern, Kevin H., Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in the Wake of Clerical Sexual Abuse in America (May 2019). Baku State University Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3450826

Kevin H. Govern (Contact Author)

Ave Maria University - Ave Maria School of Law ( email )

1025 Commons Circle
Naples, FL 34119
United States
(239) 687-5390 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.avemarialaw.edu/faculty/kevin-h-govern/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
16
Abstract Views
66
PlumX Metrics