Articles Tagged with sexual assault attorney

It was reported recently that a group of child abuse victims are suing their ex-foster parents as well as the state’s child welfare system for more than $25 million. The foster parents were reportedly in the process of adopting several of the children, who were placed with them in Alabama, when they moved to South Florida. The couple was charged with multiple counts of child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, human trafficking, sexual torture and other sexual crimes. The man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The woman is awaiting trial. Florida sexual assault lawyer

The civil lawsuit is against the state’s Department of Human Resources as well as their former foster parents. Plaintiffs say the agency and its employees received complaints about alleged abuse and neglect, but failed to act, resulting in ongoing sexual assaults, physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma. A sexual assault attorney for the victims told reporters he wants to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Part of what plaintiffs are seeking is reform of the child welfare system.

As our Palm Beach sexual assault lawyers know that the successful are sexual assault lawsuits against child welfare agencies depends on numerous case-specific factors.

Some of the elements we’ll look at are:

  • Did the case workers make all scheduled visits?
  • Did they conduct proper investigations when they certified the foster parents?
  • Did they check on any complaints that occurred?

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In Florida, as well as in every other state, it is an unlawful civil rights violation for guards or staff to engage in sexual relations with prisoners. In this dynamic, no sexual encounter can be considered consensual because prisoners cannot legally consent to sex with someone who has authority over them. It’s further understood that refusal invites risk of retaliation. jail-300x200

Unfortunately, the reality is sexual assaults occur far too often in prisons. Some callously view it as “part of the punishment,” but that is unequivocally false. As our South Florida sexual assault lawyers can explain, it can be grounds for civil litigation – against the guards, staff and the prison itself. Claims against government agents and agencies are not easy cases, but they can be successful. Accountability in these matters not only brings justice for victims, but helps reduce the chances that future inmates will be preyed upon in the same way.

Recently, the U.S Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division concluded an investigation into the conditions at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida, finding reasonable cause of Eighth Amendment violations for failure to protect prisoners from sexual abuse and assault by the staff. This is an express violation of provisions of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980, a federal statute that protects the civil rights of those in correctional facilities, nursing homes, mental health facilities and institutions for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Officials at prisons have a constitutional responsibility to protect prisoners from harm. Prosecutors for the DOJ say that incarcerated women at the Florida prison were frequent victims of sexual abuse by prison staff. Further, women were discouraged from reporting the abuse and some investigations were even handled by the abusers themselves. As reported by Courthouse News, there were numerous documented cases of sexual coercion and rape, as well as reports of daily sexual harassment, groping and actions like watching inmates shower and use the toilet. Threats of solitary confinement or withholding basic necessities reportedly occurred when inmates objected. Some inmates were allegedly beaten and physically assaulted when they objected. 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

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