Los Angeles Sexual Abuse Attorney
At some point in their lives, about a fourth of the people in Southern California suffer through sexual violence. In response, the brain often buries these memories. That’s the way the brain handles traumatic experiences like sexual violence. So, it may be many years before the victim pieces together enough memories to mount a legal claim. Some recent developments make it easier to bring assault claims even many years later. Therefore, victims who had no hope of obtaining justice and closure before have considerable hope now.
At the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim, you can hire our experienced Attorneys for Sexually Abused who understand what victims have been through. Some of us are abuse survivors ourselves. So, we begin every case with a conversation. We talk about your experience and your goals in a certain situation. Then, we diligently build a claim for damages. Finally, we tenaciously fight for your rights in court.
Anyone, men and women, can be a victim of sexual violence at any time. The types of OSV are as varied as the victims themselves. Some of the more common incidents our Los Angeles sexual abuse attorneys deal with include:
- Grooming: Generally, there is nothing wrong with occasional “you look nice today” comments. But when these remarks are more than occasional, or if they move to the next level, the person probably has another agenda. Typically, this agenda involves preparing the victim for future sexual violence.
- Sexual Harassment: Roughly the same thing applies regarding workplace harassment incidents. Isolated jokes or comments quickly add up and create a hostile work environment, even at a volunteer organization.
- Sexual Battery: In legal terms, unwanted touches almost always constitute battery. These touches are always extremely difficult to process, especially in male-on-male situations. Many of these victims feel a special sense of shame and embarrassment, even though the incident was clearly not their fault.
- Power Inequality Abuse: This umbrella term refers to things like clergy-parishioner abuse and therapist-patient abuse. Because of the trust which must exist, the resulting abuse injuries are much more severe. Additionally, it is usually impossible for victims to consent in these situations.
In some situations, abuse victims must first turn to a government agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for relief. In other situations, they may instantly partner with a California Sexual Abuse Attorney. More on that below.
Sexual Abuse in Schools
Many vulnerable minors experience sexual battery during school hours. Frequently, children confuse feelings of respect with feelings of attraction. Sexual predators often take advantage of this confusion.
Sexual abuse in schools also happens during extracurricular activities. These children often feel a special bond with teachers, leading to things like sexual harassment and grooming.
In both these situations, the school district may be legally responsible for damages, even if the abuse did not technically occur during school hours.
Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
Clergy sexual abuse dates back to the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, Catholic Church leaders have occasionally promised reform. But until very recently, all those assurances were simply empty promises.
Instead, Church leaders often quietly reassigned priests and other volunteers when such allegations surfaced. Many times, leaders at the new destination knew nothing about the sexual abuser’s past. So, the cycle of sexual violence continued.
Many Catholic Church sexual abuse victims suffered through sexual battery incidents. Others were groomed over a period of many years. Whatever the situation, Church leaders are ultimately responsible for this behavior, at least in most cases.
Sexual Abuse and Boy Scouts
For much of its history, abuse in the Boy Scouts of America followed a similar pattern. Leaders had plenty of opportunities to end this destructive cycle. But they chose to do nothing, largely because they were afraid the allegations would mar the BSA’s reputation.
Frequently, these victims did not come forward until years later, as they sorted through various emotional issues. That’s why lawmakers recently expanded the statute of limitations, as outlined below.
Sexual Violence and the Statute of Limitations
In the aftermath of abuse, the brain often buries the memories. This coping mechanism helps the victim move on, but it comes at a cost. Many times, years pass before victims piece together what happened.
Until recently, both the abusers and the organizations which allowed the abuse to happen used the statute of limitations to block such claims.
Fortunately, California recently joined the growing number of jurisdictions which have expanded the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases. Now, survivors in the Golden State may bring claims until they are 40 or five years pass. Previously, the limits were age 26 and three years.
Your Claim for Damages
State lawmakers have opened the door for more victims to obtain justice. It is up to an aggressive Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney to walk through that door.
First, there is the matter of the abuser’s conduct. At common law, assault is basically a harmful or offensive touch. Physical injury, or even intent to injure, is usually not an element of civil assault. In fact, intent for sexual gratification may not be an element either. Typically, if the victim was harmed or offended in some way and the incident was not accidental, the touch was probably tortious.
The victim/plaintiff must establish an assault by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s a much lower standard of proof than the one used in criminal court. So, if authorities refused to prosecute, you may have legal options.
Second, there is the matter of legal responsibility. Morally, abusers are definitely responsible for their own conduct. But legally, the organization which employed or otherwise sponsored the abuser may be responsible. Some common theories include:
- Negligent Hiring: This theory is especially common in volunteer-driven organizations, like churches, schools, and scouts. Many times, these organizations recruit volunteers and do not ask too many questions about their background.
- Negligent Supervision: Some organizations know there is a problem, yet they refuse to respond properly. Many times, instead of approaching the problem head-on, they quietly transfer the abuser to another department or location. If organizations fail to deal with abuse, we hold them accountable.
Damages in a sexual abuse claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as emotional therapy, and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. More importantly, your damage claim brings misconduct out into the open. The victim receives closure, and future victims are protected.
Sexual abuse victims in California have more legal options than ever before. For a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury matters.
Contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim
If you or a loved one was a victim of sexual abuse contact a Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer to help you. Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim in Los Angeles County. Call 800-LAW-TALK (529-8255) or contact us online.
Photo Credit: Milliped / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)