Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse

An estimated 1 in 6 women in Florida will be victimized by sexual assault at least once in life, while 1 in 5 men will be victimized by some form of sexual violence other than rape. Although survivors can make the decision to report such actions to police, pursuing criminal prosecution is ultimately up to the local state attorney’s office. Even if the prosecutor files charges and secures a conviction, the reality is compensation to the victim in the form of restitution is unlikely to be adequate (if it’s ordered or able to be collected at all).Florida sexual assault lawsuit

But one avenue through which survivors may still obtain justice is civil litigation. As our West Palm Beach civil trial lawyers can explain, the goal of a civil sexual abuse lawsuit isn’t to undo what cannot be undone. Rather, it is to make victims as whole as possible by compensating for physical injuries, disability (time you had to take off work), mental and emotional trauma and even damaged relationships.

And the perpetrator may not be the only one you can hold responsible – even if he or she acted alone. In civil litigation, you’ll want to explore the potential liability of:

  • The owner/controller of the property where the sexual assault happened.
  • The offender’s employer.
  • The school, daycare, sports organization, religious institution, nursing home or hospital that had a duty to protect the victim.
  • Any security firms contracted to keep people safe.

Civil liability against third parties in sexual abuse lawsuits considers the duty of care the defendant owed to protect the plaintiff (victim) and whether the offense was reasonably foreseeable. Did the employer do enough to vet its workers? Did the sports organization overlook years of misconduct by a coach? Did the hotel fail to make sure it had adequate security staff on site to keep guests safe? These are the kinds of things that can result in a finding of third-party liability in Florida sexual assault lawsuits. Continue reading

Accountability for sexual assault is most often thought of in the context of criminal law. An attack occurs, followed by a police investigation and possibly arrest, prosecution and incarceration. However, victims have other avenues of accountability through civil courts. Specifically, we’re talking about a type of premises liability claim known as negligent security.West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyers

Those who own and manage property such as nightclubs, hotels, resorts, amusement parks, dormitories, shopping centers and apartment buildings have a legal duty to provide a safe, secure place for their patrons and guests. That means protecting them from foreseeable risks, which includes criminal attacks such as sexual assault.

It is not that Florida property owners are expected to anticipate every random crime. However, failure to initiate reasonable security measures that in turn makes it easier for a criminal act like rape to occur opens the door to a negligent security lawsuit. So even though the attacker is directly responsible for the assault, property owners, property managers and security firms can also be held liable. Continue reading

Florida civil lawsuits don’t die just because a defendant does.

This question has been raised repeatedly in recent days following the death of billionaire Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein, suspected of being the central figure in a longtime child sex trafficking ring. He was convicted of solicitation several years ago, received (by all accounts) a “sweetheart deal” from a federal prosecutor who went on to become U.S. Labor Secretary (since resigned) and was facing new criminal charges in New York. He died several weeks ago of an apparent suicide while in custody awaiting trial on the newest charges.injury lawyer

The 66-year-old’s death means that the criminal case against him personally has been dismissed. It does not, however, mean the end of sexual abuse civil lawsuits pending against him by his alleged victims. Most were minors at the time they were allegedly lured into a human trafficking operation that involved the extremely wealthy and powerful.

Now, Epstein’s $580 million estate and its executors have been named defendants in a growing number of civil cases filed by his accusers. Those cases are not closed just because Epstein is dead. Continue reading

A 28-year-old woman who says a male nurse sexually assaulted her is suing Bethesda Memorial Hospital for Boynton Beach personal injury. In her Palm Beach County sexual abuse lawsuit, she identifies herself as ‘Jane Doe.’

The woman says the assault happened last September. She had been admitted to the Boynton Beach hospital for treatment of a digestive order and she says that she woke up to find Kenneth Shing-Cheung Lee inappropriately touching her. She says that she immediately ran to the nurse’s situation to report what happened. The woman contends that hospital officials didn’t take her claims seriously, which is why she contacted police.

The accused nurse has denied the sex abuse allegations. However, the plaintiff said that she doesn’t think this is the first time that he has sexually abused a patient.

Our Miami personal injury lawyers represent children and adults in South Florida seeking to recover damages for injuries they sustained as a result of sexual abuse. We know how devastating injuries from sexual assault and molestation can be for the victims, and we are sensitive to our clients’ situations while doing our best to obtain financial recovery.

Occasionally, on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog site, we report on related stories occurring outside the state. One headline that has been making national papers is the allegations against ex-Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The 67-year-old has been indicted on 40 criminal counts for allegedly sexually abusing a number of boys over a 15-year period.

After retiring from the college in 2009, Sandusky continued to use the school’s facilities to work with at-risk kids, some of whom he allegedly molested and sexually assaulted. The child sex abuse incidents occurred over a 15-year-period.

An aspiring model has filed a federal lawsuit in Miami suing the social networking site for Florida personal injury. The plaintiff contends that she was drugged, sexually assaulted, and made into a porn star without her consent by men she met through the Web site. Also named as defendants in the Miami personal injury case are Emerson Callum and Lavont Flanders.

The two men are accused of pretending to be talent scouts to get her and eight other women to audition. The nine of them were given Xanax and alcohol before Callum allegedly raped them. Flanders is accused of shooting video the sexual assaults and selling the footage online as pornography.

The plaintiff, known as Jane Doe 11, says she doesn’t remember being raped and she didn’t even know the video existed until her agent found it. According to her Miami personal injury lawyer, the sex crime wouldn’t have happened if BlackPlanet hadn’t been negligent. Her legal team contends that the social networking site, should have known or knew that it had members who were sexual predators.

A woman who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a cop will be receiving $500,000 for her Miami personal injuries. The Miami City Commission approved the settlement this week.

The victim was attacked by Officer Michael Ragusa in 2007. The following year, Ragusa, who had sexually assaulted three women pleaded guilty to rape charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The former cop would drive his police vehicle around Miami Beach and look for victims. According to the Miami Herald, the last woman he attempted to rape was able to get away because she told him she had an STD. However, he still made her give him her phone number and later texted her. That message was used as evidence to find him.

A girl who claims she was molested by Fort Pierce Westwood High School teacher Charles Edward Johnson Sr. is suing him and the St. Lucie County School District for Florida personal injury. The plaintiff contends that Johnson sexually abused her on a number of occasions between January and May 2008 while he was her math teacher.

Johnson was arrested in 2008 on a single count of misdemeanor battery and two felony counts of lascivious/lewd molestation because of complaints made by the plaintiff and another female student. Later that year, Johnson pleaded no contest to three counts of misdemeanor battery. His sentence was the 142 days he had already spent behind bars and over two years probation. Even now, Johnson, who pleaded no contest to the criminal charges, maintains that he is innocent and did not commit the allegations alleged in the St. Lucie County injury lawsuit.

In her St. Lucie County sex abuse lawsuit, the plaintiff is holding the school board “vicariously liable” for the abuse on the grounds that administrators knew or should have known that Johnson was molesting students.

Sex Abuse

Sex abuse can lead to serious emotional and psychological injuries that can impair the victim for life. In Florida, you may file a civil claim over sex abuse within:

• Four years of discovering the injury or the causal link between the abuse and the injury. This is beneficial to those who may have repressed their memories of the abuse and were unable to remember what happened until years after the incident.
• Four years after you are no longer dependent on the abuser.
• Seven years after the age of majority and before you turn 25.

St. Lucie School District, former Fort Pierce teacher sued for alleged molestation, TC Palm, September 26, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Child sex abuse, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

More Blog Posts:

Mother Files Miami-Dade County Lawsuit Against Opa-Locka Police After Her Mentally Disabled Son’s Alleged Rape, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011
Man Files Miami-Dade Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Naming Catholic Nun as His Abuser, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 15, 2011
Coral Springs, Florida Injury Lawsuit Accuses Music Teacher of Molesting Student, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 5, 2010 Continue reading

A Miami-Dade personal injury lawsuit has been filed accusing a male home health care nurse of sodomizing and harassing a paraplegic in his own home. The defendant of the Miami nursing negligence complaint is A.S.A. Home Care, Inc.

Per the complaint, the nurse started taking care of the victim in 2007. Despite the nurse’s obvious sexual interest in the patient, the latter rejected his overtures. Still, the lawsuit contends, the nurse showed the patient porn, brought him a sex toy, and sexually assaulted him when dressing a wound located close to the buttock area. The nurse then allegedly begged the patient not to tell anyone what happened and threatened to otherwise kill himself.

The plaintiff blames ASA for inadequate supervision, failure to provide him with a secure and safe environment, and neglecting to look into complaints that had made about the nurse.

A 31-year-old woman is suing the Opa-Locka Police Department. She claims that the police refused to enforce the restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Victor Howard. She contends that although she wanted Howard out of her house, she was the one that police threatened to arrest if she didn’t go. She claims that they made her leave her mentally disabled son behind, which allowed Howard to allegedly rape and beat him. She says that because to city cops violated her son’s civil rights and left him with her boyfriend.

Howard, 49, has been arrested for the alleged sexual battery of a minor. He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge.

The boy, 12, has the intellectual abilities of a small child. He sustained a traumatic brain injury during a car wreck and has been diagnosed with mental retardation that makes comprehension difficult for him. Although Howard is the biological father of two of the plaintiff’s four children, the boy is not his son. The woman says that because the restraining order only gave her sole custody of the two kids that Howard fathered, the cops let the boy stay with him.

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