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Sexual Molestation & Abuse Attorneys in Oxnard

Offering Compassionate, Personalized Representation

The Oxnard sexual abuse 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, 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.

To speak to a member of our team about your case, contact us at (805) 628-4967 for a free, confidential consultation. We serve clients throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Statute of Limitations

Beginning January 1, 2019, adult victims of sexual assault have more time to develop their civil cases and file them with the court. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.16, a sexual assault case “where the assault occurred on or after the plaintiff’s 18th birthday” must be filed within the later of either:

  • 10 years from the date of the defendant’s most recent act or attempt of sexual assault
  • 3 years from the date the plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, that their injury was caused by the defendant’s acts of sexual assault

Importantly, claims of sexual assault or misconduct allegedly committed by a physician at a student health center between January 1, 1988, and January 1, 2017, that were barred due to the expiration of the previously applicable statute of limitations, have been revived and may be filed in 2020. Governor Gavin Newsome will allow several cases to be reopened under this new law.

Beginning January 1, 2020, the recent passage of AB218 extends the statute of limitations under California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.1 for cases of childhood sexual abuse to the later of the following:

  • 22 years from the date the plaintiff reaches the age of majority
  • 5 years from the date the plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, that their injury resulted from sexual assault

Furthermore, sexual assault cases that would have exceeded the statute of limitations by January 1, 2020 under the former law are also revived and may be initiated within 3 years after January 1, 2020.

At Crane Flores, LLP, we can help you understand how the applicable statute of limitations impacts your rights. The effect of the statute of limitations can be difficult to ascertain in some cases. As a result, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney about your case as soon as possible.

Sexual Assault Statistics

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), every 98 seconds another American, from all walks of life, is sexually assaulted. Anyone can become a victim. These statistics prove that:

  • Of the victims of sexual violence each year in the US, over 80 thousand are inmates, nearly 19 thousand are military personnel, 60 thousand are children, and over 320 thousand are 12 and older.
  • Women, children, and men are all affected by sexual violence each year. 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men become the victims of attempted or completed rape annually.
  • Sexual assault and abuse offenders are more likely to go free than receive a conviction in criminal court. For instance, less than one percent of reported rapes result in a criminal conviction.

Sexual abuse among children and adolescents is disturbingly common. The US Department of Justice’s SMART Office has collected some eye-opening sexual abuse statistics on the National Sex Offender Public Website. Among child and teen victims in the US:

  • Approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • About 1.8 million adolescents have been sexually victimized.
  • Over one-third of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • Among childhood sexual abuse victims, 26 percent were between the ages of 12 and 14 and 34 percent were younger than 9 years old.

The Physical & Psychological Effects of Sexual Abuse

The psychological effects and medical conditions caused by sexual violence vary from person to person but often prevent victims from accomplishing even their basic daily routines. Victims often suffer from depression, flashbacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

When a child or adolescent is subjected to extreme stress caused by sexual abuse, they may exhibit behavioral changes, such as:

  • Withdrawal from social interactions
  • Sleep disturbances or nightmares
  • Bed-wetting
  • Poor performance in school
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as pulling their hair out, cutting, substance abuse, and attempted suicide
  • Erratic mood changes
  • Running away

Every child is different and may display unique behavioral patterns. Some children, as many as 40 percent, will show no symptoms of sexual abuse at all. However, many minors will initially hint at the abuse to adults or friends they trust in order to test the confidants’ reactions. Children are often dismissed as fanciful, but it is vital to listen to and take seriously any accusations of sexual abuse.

Why Sexual Assault Victims May be Afraid to Report Abuse

When a child suffers at the hand of someone they implicitly trust, it may be difficult for them to place trust in others. In fact, 3 out of 4 victims of childhood sexual assault are abused by someone they know, either a family member or someone they look up to!

There are numerous other reasons why a child may not report their sexual abuse, including:

  • They may not want to get the abuser in trouble.
  • They fear they themselves will be punished.
  • The child may feel guilty or ashamed or blame themselves for the abuse.
  • They may fear negative judgment from their peers or adults.
  • Children may also be unable to differentiate between normal interactions and sexual abuse, as they have no outside knowledge to gauge their own experiences against.

Civil Liability for Sexual Abuse

Someone who perpetrates sexual abuse upon another person may be liable in civil court for the physical injuries and emotional pain and suffering that he or she has caused. While no amount of compensation will erase the pain 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.

Third-Party Liability in Sexual Molestation & Abuse Cases

In addition to the actual perpetrator, others may be civilly liable for allowing the abuse to occur. Nursing homes, hospitals, jails, schools, and daycare 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.

A Victim's Right to Retribution

Despite the discouraging statistics of sexual assault convictions, victims and their families can still seek recompense in civil court even if the offender was never brought to trial or found guilty in criminal court. If the perpetrator was found guilty, victims may still seek monetary compensation and may even have a better chance at winning their civil suit, as a legal theory called “collateral estoppel” may allow plaintiffs to use a guilty conviction as evidence to support their claim.

While there is no cause of action- legal grounds for a civil suit- explicitly referring to sexual assault, abuse, or molestation, victims can still file a personal injury claim under other applicable categories, such as “assault and battery” or “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.

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. Our Oxnard sexual molestation and abuse attorneys are committed to acting as your advocates throughout the process, offering personal attention and aggressive action.

Contact Crane Flores, LLP online or by phone at (805) 628-4967 for a confidential case evaluation. We offer contingent fees, meaning you don’t have to pay unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

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Millions of Dollars Recovered on Behalf of Our Clients
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  • $1 Million Tractor Accident With Arm Injury
  • $1 Million Fusion Back Surgery
  • $1 Million Auto Accident Requiring Outpatient Discectomy Back Surgery
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  • $500 Thousand Fall in Parking Lot With Wrist and Knee Surgery
  • $475 Thousand Auto Accident With Knee Surgery
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  • $410 Thousand Auto Accident With Soft Tissue Injuries With No Surgery
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  • $225 Thousand Slip and Fall at Retail Store With Knee Surgery

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