What are sexual assault and battery?
These terms refer to any sexual contact that occurs without the consent of the victim. They may also refer to a situation in which a person is incapable of giving valid consent, such as in the case of sexual contact with a minor or with someone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to give consent under the law.
Due to an imbalance of power and professional ethics, sexual misconduct also may occur in other situations such as between a doctor and patient, clergyman and parishioner, massage therapist and client, teacher and student, or prison guard and inmate. In these situations, all sexual contact is prohibited regardless of the circumstances.
Common examples of sexual misconduct include:
- Rape or Attempted Rape
- Groping or Uninvited Touching of Sexual Organs
- Sexual Intercourse with Someone Who Cannot Give Consent
- Any sexual contact with a child
- Sexting, Pornography, or Exhibitionism With a Minor
How much do I pay for your legal services?
There are no out-of-pocket costs to our clients when Horowitz Law agrees to take your case. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means our law firm only earns a fee if we make a financial recovery for you. If there is no financial recovery, we earn no fee.
Can I file a lawsuit without using my real name?
Yes, the law recognizes that victims of certain crimes, including sex crimes, may file a lawsuit using a pseudonym (such as Jane Doe or John Doe) to protect the victim’s identity and keep it confidential and out of the public record if public disclosure would result in psychological harm or retaliation.
If I have been the victim of sexual assault, do I have to choose between contacting police and filing a lawsuit?
No. All sex crimes should be reported to law enforcement. The criminal and civil justice systems operate separately and accomplish different goals. Many of our civil cases also involve criminal proceedings. The criminal justice system seeks to hold perpetrators of sex crimes accountable by sanctioning those who violate the law with criminal penalties. Those cases are brought by the state or federal government and the crime victims are witnesses but are not parties to the action. On the other hand, the civil justice system typically involves a privately filed lawsuit in which the victim gets to participate and make an important decision regarding the outcome of the case. In a civil case, we seek accountability and retribution from not only the perpetrators but also those whose neglect enabled or failed to deter the misconduct. This may include bringing a lawsuit against an employer, supervisor, business entity or organized who negligent hire, retained or failed to supervise the perpetrator. Although in civil lawsuit people sometimes focus solely on monetary gain, Horowitz Law has found that real value in civil lawsuits is in the process of standing up for one’s self, exposing perpetrators and enablers, and holding them accountable. Our clients find that this process is in itself a cathartic and validating experience.
How can I seek justice after a sexual assault or molestation?
When a sexual assault occurs, the state may file criminal charges against the perpetrator. If a jury finds him/her guilty, your attacker may be spending some time behind bars.
However, if you so choose, a predator can face more than criminal charges. Victims of sexual assaults (and/or their loved ones if the victim is a child) may also file a civil suit against their attacker to recover damages.
Who can sue for damages in a sexual assault or molestation case?
Child Abuse Victims and Their Guardians
Both children and their caregivers can file separate suits against the abuser for the physical and emotional injuries the child suffered as a result of the abuse.
The suit may include multiple causes of action including negligence, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Adult Sexual Assault Victims
Victims of sexual assault can file suit against their attackers for the physical and emotional harm they suffered.
Who can I sue following a sexual assault or child molestation?
The first person in your suit will likely be the perpetrator, but you might be able to name other parties as well. For example, you might name an employer or property owner if negligent security, failure to maintain property, negligent hiring, or negligent supervision allowed the attack or abuse to occur.
Some of these potential defendants include:
- Schools or daycare
- Businesses who failed to protect a client
- Cruise ships or yacht/boat owner
- Religious institutions or church
- The abuser’s employer
- Youth-serving organizations (YMCA, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, etc.)
Proving a Sexual Assault or Child Molestation Case
Proving sexual assault can be challenging, but we will handle all aspects of your case from the get-go. If successful, you can recover a large amount of damages due to the horrific nature of these cases. In addition to monetary damages, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are holding your attacker or your child’s attacker accountable for his/her actions. We will investigate the facts of your case and find the available evidence to help you prove your case.
To prove your case, we may need to show:
- Sexual contact or behavior
- Knowing behavior or intent on the part of the defendant
- Victim’s lack of consent or inability to give consent
In criminal court, you need to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of proof. Proving guilt in civil court is often much easier. To hold a defendant liable in civil court, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. Essentially, this means that we must show that it is more likely than not that the perpetrator committed the crime.
To prove your case, we often present medical records, expert testimony, and witnesses. If necessary, we will enlist the help of experts to show the significant impact of the assault on your life. Many victims of sexual assault suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological trauma.
Your physician can testify to your physical injuries while a mental health professional can evaluate your ability to function in daily life. We may also call friends and family to testify to compare your behavior before and after the attack.
If a criminal court convicted the defendant, it may be easier to prove your case in a civil court. The legal rule of collateral estoppel may allow you to bring the criminal evidence used to convict the defendant in criminal court into civil court.
Recovering Damages Related to a Sexual Assault or Child Molestation Case
If a civil court finds a perpetrator liable in civil court, the sexual assault victim may be entitled to compensatory damages.
If you or your child has been sexually assaulted, you do not have to suffer alone. Horowitz Law pursues justice for sexual assault victims and their families. We will do everything we can to make sure you recover the compensation you deserve. For more information, please call 954-641-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation today.