Catholic Church Pays Off Child Sexual Abuse Survivor They Branded ‘Needy’ And ‘Manipulative’
The Catholic Church has paid off a survivor of child sexual abuse after branding her ‘needy’ and ‘manipulative’.
The survivor, who is now understood to be in her fifties, was sexually abused by a Catholic priest from the age of 15 onwards, coming forward about the abuse in 2016. In 2018, she received a settlement.
Now, in a case which has been described as being first of its kind, the woman has been awarded damages after filing a legal claim describing how she had been ‘re-traumatised’ by the way the church handled her allegations.
When the woman first came forward, as The Times reports, she asked Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic church in England and Wales, for his help. However, her requests for meetings were initially ignored.
After submitting a formal request to view correspondence about her claims, the woman realised that she had been insulted and spoken of dismissively in emails between church officials.
One official stated, ‘This woman is deeply manipulative’, while another wrote, ‘The victim is needy’. Nichols himself was copied into an email chain about the woman, and was asked, ‘Am I right in thinking you will not be sending a further reply?’ by a staff member. To this he replied, ‘You are right in your assumption’.
The woman has said:
I was silenced all those years ago as a child and a teenager and then an adult. I’m not going to be silenced now about the way the church is treating people.
Nichols, who has previously said the sexual abuse claims made against members of the church hung over his head like a ‘dark cloud’, has been widely criticised for the way allegations have been addressed under his watch.
‘I don’t know of any survivor who feels they have been treated with the respect and dignity they should have been,’ the woman said.
The payout was agreed last week, and could set a similar precedent for others who feel mistreated by the church and the way it handled their claims. The woman added the Catholic church can’t ‘just keeping getting away with it’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111
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