Priest who leave the Catholic Church, regardless of how many years or decades they have served, are cut off from receiving any retirement pension or benefits. Meanwhile, Church officials acknowledge that they financially support priests convicted of crimes (including child molestation). Churches are exempt from filing their pension plans with any governmental agency. The only option for a priest to recover a pension is to take the Church to court, a prohibitively costly action. This financial dependence prevents priests from leaving the church to pursue other careers or to marry. Many have secret lovers, wives and even children hidden for years. In some cases, they father children but must be forced by the states to pay child support.