California Sexual Abuse Lawyers
In Oxnard, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, the attorneys at Crane Flores, LLP fight to hold perpetrators of sexual abuse and molestation accountable for the damages they have caused through the intentional infliction of emotional distress and other tortious conduct. Sexual molestation or abuse is a crime, and convicted abusers may be sentenced to lengthy prison terms and/or be required to register as a sex offender as part of their sentencing. Although criminal punishment may help to deter future attacks and provide some measure of justice and revenge, it may offer little comfort to the victim who is left with physical and emotional scars that can remain long after the abuse has ended.
Civil liability for sexual abuse
One who perpetrates sexual abuse upon another may be liable in civil court for the physical injuries and pain and suffering that he or she has caused. While no amount of compensation may erase the pain and memory of what happened, civil liability can serve to punish the offender and ensure that the victim is not further victimized by having to pay for medical expenses and therapy as a result of the abuse. Even where the abuser has not been criminally prosecuted, or was tried and acquitted, a civil jury may still be able to hold the offender responsible. The civil standard of guilt by a preponderance of evidence is easier to prove than the criminal standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You can count on our team of seasoned attorneys to provide advocacy.
In addition to the actual perpetrator, others may be civilly liable for allowing the abuse to occur. Nursing homes, hospitals, jails, schools and day care centers all have custodial care and responsibility for the patients, prisoners, and students they serve. Part of the custodian’s duties is to provide a reasonably safe environment for those under their care. If these institutions allow abuse to occur, they may be held liable for their negligent hiring or lack of supervision, especially if the institution knew about a danger but took no remedial steps. This liability could also be relevant if the abuser was an employee or a fellow patient, prisoner or student, depending on the circumstances.
Even where the person was present voluntarily, such as in a church or religious group, scouting organization, or in the workplace, the entity may still be responsible where its negligence allowed the abuse to occur. Landlords and other property owners may also have a responsibility to provide adequate lighting in parking lots and stairwells, or, in certain circumstances, to provide security.
Seek experienced legal representation
A victim of sexual abuse may have felt powerless to stop the abuse, and this feeling of helplessness can persist long after the abuse has ended. If you or a loved one has been victimized by sexual abuse or molestation, don’t let another day pass without regaining the power and control that was taken from you. Contact Crane Flores, LLP by phone at 805.568.5927 for professional legal assistance in seeking justice, accountability and closure.