Articles Tagged with sexual abuse attorney

Patients should have every confidence when they see a doctor, dentist, surgeon, or other health care provider that they’ll be treated with professionalism, respect, and dignity. If a patient is sexually assaulted by a healthcare provider, it’s more than a violation of one’s body, the provider’s professional ethics, or even the law. It’s a major breach of the significant trust central to the patient-provider relationship.Florida sexual assault lawyer

It is important for victimized patients to understand: It is NOT your fault. Even in cases where some degree of attraction may be mutual, the power imbalance between patients and providers puts the onus firmly on the health care provider to draw clear personal boundaries. If those lines are crossed, the provider may be held to account by their employer, professional licensing board, and (where applicable) criminal prosecutors. Impacted patients can also seek accountability through the civil court system. There may be potential claims made directly against the provider as well as their employer and/or the facility where the assault or abuse occurred.

As longtime advocates for Florida victims of sexual assault, our West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyers provide survivors with insight on their legal options. It’s worth noting that civil cases can be pursued regardless of whether the state or federal government decides to pursue criminal charges.

Although many Florida sex abuse lawsuits against churches involve molestation, assault, or abuse of minors, there may be a cause of action in the event of sexual misconduct involving clergy and an adult congregant as well.South Florida sex abuse lawyer

Such cases may be brought because the courts have held that the First Amendment (which protects freedom of religion) does not protect churches from liability for harm to a third party that arises from alleged sexual misconduct by clergy members. The state recognizes that religious institutions and clergy may owe a fiduciary duty to attendees. That includes a duty to adult parishioners as well as minors. A fiduciary duty can arise from personal, moral, or social relations, and liability is not solely dependent on an agreement or contractual relationship. For example, the Florida Supreme Court has held that churches that promote their clergy as qualified marriage counselors owe a fiduciary duty to “counselees” – even if most parishioners don’t actually receive direct counseling from the clergy.

Churches can be liable for sexual misconduct involving clergy and adult parishioners when this fiduciary duty is violated.

The Florida Supreme Court majority opinion wrote in the 2002 case of Malicki, et al v. Doe, “The First Amendment cannot be used at the initial pleading stage to shut the courthouse door to a plaintiff’s claims, which are founded on a religious institution’s alleged negligence arising from the institution’s failure to prevent harm resulting from one of its clergy who sexually assaults and batters a minor or adult parishioner.” A ruling to the contrary, the justices reasoned, would immunize church defendants in such a way that it would place religious institutions in a preferred position over secular institutions – something that would be “both foreign and hostile” to the 1st Amendment. Continue reading

Ongoing testimony of sickening abuse of U.S. Olympic gymnasts by an organization doctor has led to demands for significant change in sports organizations. Collegiate-level sports organizations should take heed, especially as a new study by the non-profit Lauren’s Kids revealed 1 in 4 current and former college athletes surveyed reported experiencing sexual assault or sexual harassment by someone on campus who was in a position of power. That is compared to 1 in 10 in the general student population. Palm Beach sexual abuse attorney

In other words, college athletes were 2.5 times more likely to encounter sexual abuse than their peers.

Coaches, it was indicated, were the most commonly-identified group of abusers.

USA Today reported this fact with a number of anecdotes from high-profile cases in recent years. Among those: Continue reading

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