Legal Representation

Helping victims of church and clergy abuse often requires a comprehensive approach. Typically, such victims have been marginalized, lied about, ignored or worse. Often, their reputations have been trashed, and if they worked at the church or a related ministry, they’ve been fired or otherwise punitively ostracized.

Although there are Biblical standards for dealing with misconduct in a church (for example, 1 Tim. 5), in our experience abusive churches and church leaders will seldom submit to those procedures in a fair handed and transparent manner. Rather than agree to any process that may require repentance, they will manipulate even Biblically-mandated procedures to bully the victim, shift blame, and avoid accountability.

Where there is lack of good faith on the part of a church and its leadership, legal representation can be very helpful. Nathan’s Voice has close working relationships with experienced Christian attorneys who not only have sensitivity for the emotional issues involved, but also will not flinch when confronting abusive church leaders.

In our experience, a church leader who is found to have abused one person almost always has abused multiple other victims. Competent legal counsel can investigate and assemble the evidence needed to expose that pattern of abuse so the church and its leadership never harms anyone again. A good attorney also can give victims their voice by speaking truth into the situation, restoring reputations by exposing malicious and false rumors and confronting those who spread those lies, and promoting justice by holding the church accountable for the harm it’s caused. Many victims feel they can’t find closure until they achieve restitution and justice – thus insuring that others will be protected from further harm by either forcing the church to publicly repent or else seeking public judgement.

In most cases, it is possible to retain legal counsel at no cost to the victim. Although there will be some expenses beyond legal fees, the attorney’s compensation can be covered under a “fee contingency” arrangement. Essentially, that means the attorney is only paid if he or she recovers something for the victim, and then is paid a percentage of that recovery only after it’s in hand.

For more information, see our series on Confronting Abusive Pastors.

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