An increased number of sexual abuse cases have been making news in recent years due in part to the #MeToo movement empowering women to speak up for themselves. This is a huge step forward for our society, as at least 20% of adult women report being victims of sexual assault in their lives. But it’s not only women who are affected. Men, too, have been more vocal about sexual assault issues and standing up to their abusers. Many victims who never spoke out are now doing so. Unfortunately, for many, the statute of limitations to seek justice had passed. However, with the passage of the New York Adult Survivors Act, a one-year lookback window for sexual assault survivors has been established. The new law allows victims to sue their sexual abusers no matter when the assault occurred, as long as they were 18 or over at the time. Some may seek compensation for the harm done to them. If that is the path you choose, a New York sexual abuse attorney at Nix Patterson may be able to assist you.
Who Commits Sexual Abuse In New York?
The following parties are common perpetrators of sexual abuse. These predators are typically in a position of power and abuse people who cannot defend themselves or feel like they have to acquiesce to unwanted sexual advances or face personal or professional repercussions — the Harvey Weinstein case being an example.
Teachers in elementary, middle, and high school are common targets of sexual abuse lawsuits. Usually, the teacher is named in the case and as an employee of the school district where they worked. The school district may be required to represent the defendant in court according to the legal theory of respondeat superior.
Thousands of sexual abuse cases have been filed against priests in the Catholic church. The church estimates that up to 1% of its clergy could be sexual abusers, meaning there might be hundreds of thousands of predatory clergy members past and present.
Youth Group Leaders
Youth group leaders often are accused of sexually abusing young people. For example, the Boy Scouts of America have received a lot of negative attention in this area.
There are many cases where a high school or college coach sexually abused their athletes. Thousands of civil lawsuits have been filed against male and female athletic coaches alike who took advantage of their positions of power.
Some physicians may abuse their authority because they have control over their patients. In many cases, doctors and other medical specialists have been sued for sexual abuse.
Foster parents are supposed to protect children, but, sadly, some foster parents sexually abuse their young charges. As a result, lawsuits are often filed against foster care organizations for failing to screen foster parents properly.
What Are Potential Damages in a New York Sexual Abuse Case?
If you were the victim of sexual abuse, you could be entitled to compensation under New York law. Some of the compensation you could be eligible for includes:
As a sexual abuse victim, you can sue for your medical costs stemming from the sexual abuse. This also may apply to the costs of ongoing mental health counseling and related treatment for sexual abuse trauma.
If a sexual abuse incident or relationship prevents you from working or causes you to lose work, you can sue for lost earnings under New York law.
Pain And Suffering
The laws of New York recognize that sexual assault and abuse leave lasting scars that can affect your mental health for years, even decades. That’s why you can sue in sexual abuse cases for emotional distress, physical pain, and mental anguish.
New York courts may provide punitive damages for sexual assault offenders who engage in extremely negligent and harmful behavior. The purpose of punitive damages is to send a message to others never to commit such heinous acts.
How Do You Prove Sexual Abuse in New York?
In a sexual abuse civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is on you, the plaintiff. The standard of proof in a New York sexual abuse case is known as the “preponderance of the evidence.” This is lower than the standard of proof for a criminal case. That means you and your attorney must only prove your allegations with 51% certainty. However, gathering sufficient evidence to win a sexual abuse lawsuit is complex and requires the work of a skilled New York sexual abuse lawyer. The preeminent challenge is unearthing sufficient evidence of the abuse years after it happened. Sometimes the abuse even occurred decades ago. Finding enough evidence in these cases requires exhaustive due diligence in the claims investigation. For example, when performing a preliminary sexual abuse investigation, an attorney may focus on the perpetrator’s pattern of behavior. Tragically, many who engage in sexual abuse have many victims. Also, your legal team may investigate how the defendant accessed the child victim. They may talk to the plaintiff’s friends and family members, or there may be evidence in medical records of when sexual abuse was reported. Other potential evidence your attorney may search for to prove sexual abuse are physical, DNA, and forensic evidence. If the police were notified, any police reports filed also could prove critical to the case.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse in New York, criminal prosecution may punish the perpetrator with a prison sentence and fines, and a successful sexual abuse lawsuit may offer you compensation for your medical expenses, mental health counseling, emotional trauma, and more. However, the New York criminal justice system may fail to provide victims with the full measure of justice they deserve.Nix Patterson is dedicated to fighting for the rights of sexual abuse victims in New York and across the nation. Sexual assault victims are never to blame for their trauma, and we are proud to assist them. If you or someone you know was the victim of sexual abuse, contact our New York sexual abuse lawyers today for a complimentary consultation.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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