I read with interest the recent media reporting of a child sexual abuse lawsuit filed by a former child member of New Tribes Mission, a missionary organization based in nearby Sanford, Florida.  According to the reporting, as well as the Complaint filed in Seminole County Circuit Court, a woman is claiming that she was repeatedly sexually abused by a male Mission dormitory worker while she and her parents were on a nine-year mission trip in the Philippines.

According to the lawsuit, the abuse was not limited solely to the Plaintiff.  The perpetrator “Dorm Dad” is said to have admitted to abusing up to 23 other children during his tenure.

While all of this information is certainly bad enough on its own, probably the worst aspect of the case is the fact that New Tribes Mission apparently elected not to report any of the abuse to Philippines law enforcement authorities.  Furthermore, in an action somewhat reminiscent of the Catholic Church priest scandal, instead of firing the “Dorm Dad” or turning him over to authorities, the New Tribes Mission is said to have reassigned him to a mission office in Virginia.

Apparently, the allegations of child sexual abuse in the Philippines are only the tip of the iceberg, as an internal investigation of New Tribes Mission’s work in Senegal revealed that child sexual abuse was rampant within the mission there.

As an Orlando child sex abuse lawyer, it is my opinion that the cover up in situations like this one is almost as injurious to the abused children as the original acts of abuse are.  According to expert psychologists who have treated former clients of mine, and who are nationally-recognized in this field, it is the violation of trust that is the most significant harm in these cases.  Failure of these organizations and their people to accept responsibility and to get these damaged children the help they need right away, only aggravates that violation of trust and adds insult to injury.

If you have any questions about child sexual abuse cases, call Orlando accident attorney Kim Michael Cullen at 407-644-4444.

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