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The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses$
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James T. O'Reilly and Margaret S.P. Chalmers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.001.0001

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Effects of Criminal Charges and Plea Agreements

Effects of Criminal Charges and Plea Agreements

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter 6 Effects of Criminal Charges and Plea Agreements
Source:
The Clergy Sex Abuse Crisis and the Legal Responses
Author(s):

James T. O’Reilly

Margaret S. P. Chalmers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937936.003.0006

Though sex with children/teens is criminal, winning a prosecution of the clergy is rare as proof beyond a reasonable doubt is hard to reconstruct, particularly years after the “secret” seduction occurred. The concept of the statute of limitations also comes into play in both criminal prosecutions and civil litigation, which may prohibit an action being brought after a designated number of years have passed. However, a bishop or diocesan staff member who knew about and covered up allegations could be punished in rare cases as long as there is sufficient proof. The chapter also discusses the impact of plea agreements.

Keywords:   molestation, rape, misconduct, limitations, sentencing, reasonable doubt

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