According to the Daily Voice, 29-year-old Doris Mari Cintron has been accused of sexually abusing a student during a home-based youth group at her house on N 11th St, Reading, PA.
On July 5, 2021, detectives received a report that the alleged abuse had been happening for about seven months. The 15-year-old victim stated they would meet at her home on 11th Street, and the abuse would occur during bible study sessions. The suspect hosts the study from her house, but officials claim that it does not connect to a church or other spiritual organization.
Cintron was arrested on August 5 but was released on bail that was set for $75,000.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is an experienced sexual abuse lawyer licensed in Pennsylvania. He represents victims of sexual abuse and their families in civil lawsuits. We asked Kent to share his insight on the legal rights of victims of sexual assault in religious organizations.
Kent began by stating that "sexual abuse occurs in religious organizations too often. Sexual predators strategically place themselves in positions of power to easily exploit victims by taking advantage of their trust. Abuse can be seen in religious organizations across religions, as numerous leaders have been charged with the sexual abuse of congregation members, which often includes children."
When we asked Kent what a religious organization's legal obligations are in protecting their members and congregation, he stated that "religious organizations have a legal duty to uphold all congregation members’ safety to the best of their ability. This obligation includes all violent crimes, including sexual abuse. In some instances of sexual abuse, the abuse only happens due to negligence by the religious organization in question. One example of negligence would include if a clergy member or youth group worker had prior sexual misconduct complaints filed against them yet were still permitted to work. If a religious organization can be proven to be negligent in a case of sexual abuse, then the victim and their family may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the organization. It is advised to seek the counsel of an experienced sexual abuse attorney to help prove the neglect."