What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual Abuse is unwanted or undesired sexual activity or contact. Examples of this would include fondling, groping, or touching of a sexual nature that is non-consensual. Rape, forced nudity, and sexually explicit photographing would also qualify as sexual abuse and/or sexual assault. Often, an improper abuse of power is involved. Common scenarios where sexual abuse may occur include the following:
Individuals in a position of authority demanding others to participate in sexual activity or inappropriate behavior (ie. oftentimes seen in the workplace between boss and employee or in a church-like setting between church official and church member);
Individuals engaging in sexual activity or inappropriate behavior with vulnerable persons who are not in a position to consent to the contact (i.e. oftentimes seen in a medical setting between medical provider and patient, in a nursing facility between caregiver and elderly person, or in instances where the victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or otherwise unable to provide consent to the contact);
Adults engaging in sexual activity or inappropriate behavior with a minor;
Sexual activity or inappropriate behavior between persons having a substantial disparity in physical size that allows for the larger individual to intimidate the smaller person with threats of violence if sexual contact is not allowed.
Can A Sexual Abuse Victim Sue For Compensation in California?
Yes. Whether or not a victim of sexual abuse decides to pursue criminal charges, the victim may also file a civil lawsuit. The sexual abuse victim may be entitled to monetary damages not only from the abuser but also from the organization that may have been negligent in preventing this abuse from occurring. Organizations that disregard prior complaints of sexual misconduct against the abuser, have an insufficient employee vetting processes, fail to fire the abuser after being informed of allegations of sexual misconduct, or otherwise fail to take the necessary precautions to prevent sexual abuse may be held liable in civil court.
What type of damages can be recovered through a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
Victims of Sexual Abuse may be entitled to monetary compensation for the following types of damages, which include:
Medical Care related to the abuse, including counseling;
- Lost income from missing work;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Emotional Distress;
- Loss of quality of life; and
- Punitive damages to punish the abuser and/or organization that allowed the sexual abuse.
Are there any deadlines to file a Sexual Abuse Claim?
Yes. The Statute of Limitations does apply in California to Sexual Abuse cases. Generally, the victim will have two years after the incident occurred to file a lawsuit (but it could be as little as six-months if the abuser worked for a governmental entity). However, there are numerous exceptions as some of these laws have been recently revised to allow for more time for victims. It is highly recommended that any victim of sexual abuse immediately contact a Sexual Abuse Attorney in order to be advised of their legal rights.
What about my Privacy?
A common and understandable concern of those who are a victim of Sexual Abuse is their privacy. Clearly, this is a highly sensitive issue and confidentiality is of utmost importance. Fortunately, the Courts understand this and allow for several remedies such as filing your lawsuit as a John Doe or Jane Doe in order to protect your privacy by not having your name publicly disclosed in the lawsuit. Courts also allow parties to file documents containing private information, such as medical information, under seal so that it cannot be disclosed to the public.
Can My Case Be Resolved Without Having to Go to Court Or Filing a Lawsuit?
Yes. It is possible to resolve your case prior to filing a lawsuit or having to go to court. Oftentimes this is the preferred method of resolving a case for all parties concerned, because it ensures that the privacy of all parties will be protected and all sensitive information will remain confidential.
Proven Track Record of Success
Ribera Law Firm and Sandra Ribera Speed, Esq. have a proven track record of successfully holding large institutions accountable in sexual abuse cases. In Ribera Law Firm’s cases against porn-giant Kink.com, Sandra Ribera Speed, Esq. negotiated substantial financial settlements for her three clients who contracted HIV on the sets of three separate porn shoots for Kink.com.
Recently, Ribera Law Firm filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland on behalf of a client who was sexually abused by a clergy member. See the news article and interview of Sandra Ribera Speed, Esq. here. Not only are the Attorneys at Ribera Law Firm accomplished legal strategists with excellent results, but Sandra Ribera Speed, Esq. is also known for her compassion for victims of sexual abuse. Authentic Client Reviews and Testimonials illustrate how comfortable Sandra Ribera Speed, Esq. makes her clients feel in one of the most traumatic periods of their lives. Read Client Reviews…