"To this day, and every day that I am alive, I feel haunted."
So says a New York resident now in his 40s regarding his enduring trauma over repeated rapes and other sexual assaults he says a Catholic priest inflicted upon him in his youth.
That individual is not alone in his allegations against now-deceased Catholic priest John Abrams. That long-time cleric's recurring criminal behavior against vulnerable young boys was recognized internally by church authorities. A diocese review board concluded some years back that Abrams had sexually violated many adolescents under his care and supervision at multiple parishes in Brooklyn. Abrams was eventually barred from the church and defrocked.
That action came far too late, say accusers who filed a lawsuit last week against the Church of St. Patrick and the Diocese of Brooklyn. The above-cited sex abuse victim was joined in litigation by another plaintiff making similar claims against Abrams.
The lawsuit is notable, but hardly singular in its details. Candidly, it underscores sad and tragic elements that commonly feature in abuse cases where older individuals prey upon young victims. We prominently note on our pro-victim's website at the established New York City law firm of Kelly & Rubin that, "Sexual predators are often people n authoritative roles." Abrams unquestionably commanded that stature.
The litigation also spotlights another fundamental truth operative in such cases, namely, that adolescents involved in sexual activity are never willing partners. We flatly stress on our website that they are "incapable of consenting due to their age."
Abuse victims often feel prolonged shame concerning the harms they suffered at the hands of an adult perpetrator - sometimes for a lifetime.
That should never be the case, of course. Fault in any sexual encounter between a manipulative predator and an innocent child is clearly unilateral. Victims are guiltless.
Moreover, they are not powerless to act in the wake of their maltreatment, even if it occurred years ago. Victims often feel empowered by coming forward in sexual abuse cases. Doing so spotlights wrongdoing, holds perpetrators accountable and often has a deterrent effect that is strongly relevant for the future. Importantly too, seeking justice often yields meaningful legal remedies marked by substantial money damages.
New York City residents seeking candid and confidential guidance regarding a sexual abuse matter can confidently turn to a proven and empathetic legal team with a demonstrated history of strong advocacy on behalf of abuse victims.