Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Have you or your child been the victim of sex abuse? Every year, tens of thousands of children across the country suffer abuse at the hands of trusted adults in a position of power. You may be entitled to compensation for the pain and losses you have endured.
Many states are now allowing look-back periods and extending statutes of limitations for child sex abuse claims. It’s crucial to act quickly to hold the responsible parties accountable. Call Rosen Injury Lawyers today to find out how our mass tort injury lawyers can help you pursue compensation for your harms.
How Rosen Injury Lawyers Can Help You After Sexual Abuse
Most victims of sexual abuse know their abusers. This abuse often occurs in institutions that should be a safe place for children to learn, grow, and have fun. If you or your child has suffered abuse at a church, camp, youth group, or another setting, you may have a case against the abuser and the organization.
However, pursuing justice through a civil lawsuit can be an uphill battle. Many of these cases involve abuse that occurred decades ago. Organizations that have covered for abusers for years may fight back against new claims. You deserve an experienced personal injury lawyer to level the playing field.
The award-winning mass tort injury attorneys at Rosen Injury Lawyers will put more than 75 years of combined legal experience to work for you. We exclusively handle mass tort cases in which dozens or hundreds of victims have suffered similar abuse. We understand exactly what it takes to build a successful case.
We serve clients nationwide and do what it takes to fight for you:
- Provide sound legal counsel and guidance
- Investigate your case to uncover evidence
- Work with top experts to strengthen your case
- Determine who may be held liable for the abuse you suffered
- Explore whether your case qualifies for a mass tort or multi-district litigation (MDL)
- Negotiate on your behalf to seek the full compensation you deserve
Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with a sex abuse injury lawyer prepared to see your case through to the very end.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Every state has its own definition of sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, and molestation.
As a general rule, sexual abuse is typically used to describe criminal sexual behavior toward children. It may also refer to abuse of vulnerable people who are targeted due to age or disability and cannot give consent. This can include seniors and disabled adults.
Childhood sexual abuse can come in many forms:
- Forcible penetration or sodomy
- Sexual assault
- Forcible rape
- Using a child for sexual gratification
- Child pornography
- Exposing a child to sexual activity or images
In some states, these acts may overlap, or they may be separate offenses. Some states define rape and sexual assault differently, while others consider them the same offense with a broader definition.
Institutional sexual abuse refers to abuse by perpetrators who are in a position of authority or power over the victim. Institutional abuse can be committed against victims of all ages, but children and seniors in a skilled nursing facility are most vulnerable.
Where Does Sexual Abuse Occur?
Sometimes, family members commit sexual abuse. Other times, it is someone the victim knows. In most cases, it is committed by trusted people with a position of authority.
The following are some of the most common settings for child sexual abuse and abuse of seniors.
Sexual Abuse in Schools
Sexual abuse occurs in schools far more often than parents realize. Children may face abuse from other students or teachers and faculty. While sexual abuse by teachers makes headlines, federal data suggests that for every case of sexual abuse committed by faculty, there are seven assaults committed by students.
Sometimes cases of sexual abuse are isolated and discovered quickly. However, there is often systemic failure in protecting children from abuse. A school district may cover up allegations or fail to perform a background check of teachers.
In some cases, A teacher may be fired from the district but not report their abuse to other districts. This allows a teacher to go to another school and continue the abuse.
Sex Abuse in Medical Facilities
Sexual abuse can happen anywhere, including hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. In 2018, sports doctor Larry Nassar, the former physician for the U.S. Olympics Gymnastics team, was convicted of sexual assault against over 300 victims. Many decorated Olympians came forward to report that they were victims of Nassar.
Sexual abuse of patients may come in many forms. It may involve sexual molestation of minor patients or sexual assault committed against vulnerable adult patients who cannot consent.
Abuse can happen in any type of healthcare setting. However, patients receiving in-patient psychiatric care are at the highest risk.
Abuse in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities
Nursing home abuse is rampant, but many do not realize that this abuse can also involve sexual abuse. This horrific abuse may be committed by other residents or staff members due to inadequate supervision, background checks, and other failures.
Nursing homes may fail to investigate or report allegations or actively cover them up. Law enforcement may dismiss reports by victims and families believing the allegations are unlikely and the victim is merely confused.
Female nursing home residents and patients with dementia have the highest risk of sex abuse.
Sexual Abuse by Clergy
Religious institutions have been the site of some of the largest child sex abuse scandals.
Beginning in the 1990s, a global practice of long-term child sex abuse and cover-ups came to light regarding the Catholic Church. Sex abuse within the church can be traced back to the 11th century.
A 2004 study found that almost 4,400 Catholic priests and deacons active between 1950 and 2002 were plausibly accused of child sex abuse. Over 10,600 people reported their abuse by Catholic clergy. This report estimated 4% of all Catholic clergy active during this time faced abuse allegations.
The Catholic Church engaged in a systemic cover-up going back generations.
Clergy at all levels of the church engaged in practices such as:
- Persuading young victims not to report their abuse
- Minimizing abuse with words like “inappropriate contact”
- Assigned untrained priests to investigate allegations against colleagues
- Failing to inform the community why an accused priest was removed by claiming they were on “sick leave”
- Transferring abusive clergy to different communities
- Forcing victims to apologize to the perpetrators they accused
An investigation found that 1,700 clergy and priests accused of child sex abuse are now unsupervised. They are living near playgrounds and working as counselors, teachers, coaches, and foster parents.
Dioceses across the U.S. have settled thousands of sex abuse claims. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange settled 90 cases in 2004. Three years later, its parent archdiocese settled claims with more than 500 victims. In 2018, a report found the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by over 300 priests spanning 70 years.
Between 2004 and 2011, eight Catholic dioceses in the U.S. declared bankruptcy due to sex abuse claims.
Sexual Abuse in Juvenile Detention Facilities
Perpetrators are often drawn to working in institutions that give them power over potential victims with little oversight. Minors in juvenile detention face a high rate of abuse and little protection.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a survey of more than 6,000 minors in juvenile detention in 2018. Seven percent of respondents reported they had been sexually abused in the last year. This includes sexual abuse by staff and other detained youth. Over 50% of minors who reported sexual misconduct had been abused before in a different facility.
The survey indicated that detention facility staff frequently win the favor of minors by gifting them contraband, offering protection from other minors, or allowing them to avoid trouble.
Sex Abuse in Youth Programs & Organizations
Childhood sexual abuse often happens in settings that should be safe and fun. Parents sign their children up for camp or a youth organization, trusting that their child will be cared for. Instead, many face horrifying abuse that is often covered up by the organization.
The YMCA is one of the nation’s largest youth organizations, with locations in 10,000 communities. More than 600,000 volunteers run programs like summer camps, sports, after-school programs, and swimming classes.
The organization has faced several lawsuits related to child sex abuse committed by YMCA workers. These cases have alleged the Y failed to terminate workers after allegations, failed to provide adequate supervision, did not investigate allegations, or actively covered up abuse.
The Boy Scouts of America also has a well-documented history of child sex abuse. Between 1944 and 2016, it’s estimated that at least 7,800 perpetrators abused over 12,000 boys. In 2020, the organization filed for bankruptcy with 200 lawsuits pending and 1,700 potential claimants.
Investigations have found the Boy Scouts engaged in a widespread cover-up. The organization maintained confidential files of Scout leaders banned for sexual misconduct who were never reported.
Shockingly, the Boy Scouts were kicking out child molesters at a rate of one every day or two for an entire century. However, they did not report the abuse to parents or law enforcement,
How Common is Institutional Sexual Abuse?
Sex abuse in institutions like schools, churches, and youth groups is a large but often invisible problem.
These statistics show how frequently sex abuse occurs in these settings:
- 2,500 educators had their licenses revoked due to sexual misconduct with a minor between 2001 and 2005 alone.
- An analysis of physician disciplinary documents found that over 2,400 doctors faced disciplinary action for sexual violations involving patients.
- An investigation found more than 1,000 nursing homes cited for mishandling sex abuse allegations.
- The Boy Scouts of America faced over 82,000 sex abuse claims when it filed for bankruptcy dating back decades.
- 7% of minors in youth detention centers reported sex abuse in the last year, according to a Justice Department survey.
- The Catholic Church engaged in a global, systemic cover-up to hide sex abuse by clergy. In one diocese in Pennsylvania alone, over 300 priests were allowed to sexually abuse more than 1,000 children.
These statistics shed light on the scope of institutional abuse. However, many cases of sex abuse are never reported. Abuse can also occur in many other settings.
What is My Sexual Abuse Case Worth?
The value of your case depends on many factors, including:
- The type of abuse
- The severity of injuries
- The organization,
- The circumstances of your abuse and whether the abuse was concealed.
The strength of your evidence and other factors may also influence your case, depending on the circumstances.
For Catholic Church sex abuse cases, the national average payout is $350,000 since 2003. However, when California allowed a look-back window in 2003, the average amount the Church paid for each claim was $1.3 million.
At Rosen Injury Lawyers, we are committed to holding abusers and the organizations that protect them accountable. Contact our sexual abuse lawyers for a free consultation to discuss what your case may be worth.
What Damages Are Available for Sexual Abuse Victims?
A civil lawsuit allows victims of sexual abuse to recover financial compensation for the harm they suffered. Survivors are entitled to pursue damages from their perpetrator and anyone who protected them or allowed their abuse to occur.
Damages available in a sex abuse case include:
- Economic damages for the financial losses you suffered
- Non-economic damages for your personal losses that do not have a financial value
- Punitive damages, which punish the defendant
You can seek compensation for many types of losses, such as:
- Medical expenses, including future medical bills, counseling, doctor’s visits, and more
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Personal losses, including your pain and suffering, anguish, trauma, distress, and reduced enjoyment of life
In most sex abuse cases, non-economic losses make up the largest share of your case’s value.
The purpose of these damages is to make you as whole as possible. Of course, no amount of money can ever erase the abuse. However, a civil lawsuit allows you to seek some sense of justice, knowing they did not get away with it. It can also help you get the care you need.
Types of Sexual Abuse Cases We Handle
Rosen Injury Lawyers is dedicated to fighting for the rights of sex abuse survivors.
We handle all types of abuse cases, including sexual abuse involving:
- Youth sports teams and athletic programs
- Clergy sex abuse
- YMCA sex abuse
- Boy Scouts sex abuse
- Other youth organizations, including summer camps, wellness programs, and after school programs
- Educators in daycares, public schools, colleges, universities, and tutoring
- Detention facilities
- Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, psychiatric facilities, clinics, nursing homes, and residential care facilities
If you or your child has suffered abuse, we are here to fight for you. A civil lawsuit can allow you to seek the justice you deserve—even if your abuser is never convicted or charged with a crime.
Who is Liable for Institutional Sexual Abuse?
When you suffer sexual abuse, it is not only the perpetrator who can be held liable in civil court. Their employers and any organization that protected them can be equally liable for the harm you have suffered.
This may include:
- Catholic Dioceses and other religious organizations
- School districts, daycares, universities, and colleges
- Hospitals, clinics, and physician practices
- Athletic facilities
- Youth organizations like the Boy Scouts and YMCA
- A correctional facility, detention facility, or Department of Corrections
In most states, an institution can be held completely liable for the crimes its employees. They may also be liable for covering up allegations.
In many states, certain organizations and institutions like schools and churches have a special duty to protect the children in their care. They may be held liable for negligence, such as inadequate supervision or negligent hiring practices.
What is the Deadline to File Sexual Abuse Lawsuits?
Since 2018, the District of Columbia and 15 states have suspended or extended their statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims. Eight states have also created look-back windows extending the period of time a victim can sue—regardless of how long ago their abuse occurred.
These measures allow victims to pursue civil lawsuits against their abusers even when the statute of limitations is long past. Victims of child sex abuse who are now in their 50s, 60s, or 70s have the chance to come forward to seek justice and hold their abusers accountable.
If your state has created a look-back window, it may be as short as one year. Once this window closes, it will remain closed, and you may never have another opportunity.
In some states, the deadline to file a claim may depend on whether a report was filed with law enforcement about the abuse and when it was filed.
It’s important to consult with a sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the law in your state, you may have a very limited amount of time to seek compensation and sue your abuser and their protectors.
Contact Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Rosen Injury Lawyers is ready to help you hold your abuser and the parties who protected them accountable. Call our law office today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer to discuss sexual abuse lawsuits and how we can help you.