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
Date Written: May 2019
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: Suggested Citation