Tag: Sexual Abuse

The Very Best Time to Report Abuse? Now.

No matter when you were hurt, the time to report the crime is now. Why?

Because he may be hurting another kid right now, especially during the pandemic.

What’s the pandemic got to do with child sexual abuse? Lots.

These days, “police suspect that abuse (is) actually more prevalent, given that most people are stuck at home. But with no teachers to spot bruises in the classroom, and nowhere for people to escape their abusers, such crimes were less visible, they said.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/us/coronavirus-crime.html?searchResultPosition=1

Evidence backs up this speculation. The Associated Press reports a four-fold jump in child cyberabuse in April 2020 over April 2019. (The headline puts it bluntly: “Alarming rise in online child sex abuse reports.”)

https://apnews.com/c8898aad60175df06ebd160023285001

“Kids are more vulnerable at the moment and predators know it,” one expert said.

And with school cancelled, families staying home, and millions no longer working, predators have more time around children than ever.

So it’s very possible that the man who molested you is molesting another child right now.

That’s the best reason to overcome your hesitancy and call the police.

Our minds, however, give us plenty of excuses to minimize risk, stay stuck and do nothing.

“Back when he hurt me, he was drinking all the time, but maybe he’s not drinking as much now.”

(Liquor sales spiked 55% in March of 2020, over March of 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/health/coronavirus-alcohol-addiction.html?searchResultPosition=2

“He only hurt me during that time he was stressed out about losing his job.”

(Millions of Americans of course have lost their jobs over the past few weeks. Millions more fear they will soon be let go.)

“He only hurt me those few months when he and mom were having a tough patch in their marriage.”

(Many intimate relationships are very strained these days, given health fears, lay offs, furloughs, economic uncertainty, ‘stay at home’ orders and other unusual and stress-inducing restrictions.)

“Now that mom’s laid off/working from home, and she’s around more, Billy and Sally are safer. . .”

(It takes just seconds to molest a child. Predators are smart and determined. No adult can constantly monitor and oversee and protect a child.)

There are other, more positive reasons to report abuse now. Here are just two.

—Crime has dropped dramatically during the pandemic. It’s likely police now have more time to investigate child sex abuse reports than ever.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/26/us/coronavirus-crime.html?searchResultPosition=1

—In recent years, police and prosecutors have developed new technologies and new approaches to pursue even older sex crimes and cover ups.

We at Horowitz Law aren’t police or prosecutors. We can’t guarantee you that reporting your abuse now will be easier or more fruitful than before.

But evidence suggests now’s a very good time to do it. We hope you will.

 

 

U.S.T.A. FAILS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PEDOPHILE COACH

U.S.T.A. FAILS TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PEDOPHILE COACH

The United States Tennis Association (U.S.T.A.) is named in a new lawsuit alleging that it failed to protect young tennis players from a well known Bay Area coach arrested twice for repeatedly sexually abusing minors for decades. According to The New York Times, transcripts from the 2010 trial revealed the testimony of one student, alleging sexual abuse by coach Normandie Burgos, but jurors couldn’t reach a verdict.  The judge declared a mistrial. 

Almost a decade later, in August 2019, Burgos’ sentencing to 255 years in prison for 60 counts of child molestation, came as a result of a former student and victim who secretly recorded the coach admitting to sexually abusing a minor. The question begs, however, where was the U.S.T.A.?

Public records show that the U.S.T.A. took no action against Burgos. Additionally, he is not listed in the database of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent body created to track abusive coaches, trainers and those who have access to athletes.

In 2006, one school did fire Burgos and revoked his teaching credentials. In 2020, he was accused of abuse again. Despite this, the U.S.T.A. reportedly continued to give him travel grants, and failed to publicly condemn him. His victims say even though they reported his abuse to the U.S.T.A., nothing was done. 

According to the U.S.T.A. website, such inaction is in direct conflict with its “commitment to respect and safety for every individual participating in a USTA event or program through the use of screening, education and reporting tools. The USTA expects individuals to adhere to Safe Play policies and standards, as well as all other USTA policies, procedures, and practices and applicable external laws and regulations.”

It is expected that institutions in which children learn and develop skills, offer an environment in which they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse. Coaches are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational and training needs of their players. Anyone who sexually violates children has no place working in the U.S.T.A. Any organization in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential coaches and protect their players. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped or sexually molested by a coach, principal, teacher or other other school employee, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

 

Catholic Church Hides $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

Catholic Church Hides $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Victim Settlements

According to Bloomberg Businessweek in January 2020, a review of court filings by lawyers representing churches and victims over the last 15 years has shown that the Catholic Church in the U.S. has moved around more than $2 billion in assets in an effort to prevent the money from going to alleged abuse victims. Throughout the country churches have been aggressively transferring and reclassifying assets, and filing for bankruptcy, as more victims of sexual abuse by priests have come forward and filed lawsuits.

From the early 1980s through 2002, church leaders paid out roughly $750 million according to BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit that tracks clergy sex abuse. Since 2004, dioceses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than 20 times. This has allowed the dioceses to reach universal settle­ments and protected them from additional victim claims. 

“The survivors should have gotten that money, and they didn’t,” says Terry McKiernan, president of BishopAccountability.org. “The Catholic Church has behaved like a business. It hasn’t behaved like a religion that lives by the rules it espouses.”

In 2007, then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, sent a letter to the Vatican requesting permission to move almost $57 million into a trust fund originally meant for maintaining cemeteries. The letter revealed that the purpose of the move was to shield the assets. 

“By transferring these assets to the Trust, I foresee an approved protection from any legal claim and liability,” Dolan wrote.

When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015, it said it didn’t own the parishes, schools, or the 10 cemeteries within its territory. It claimed only $50 million in assets, while lawyers for victims estimated the archdiocese was worth about $1.7 billion. Ultimately, it reached the largest bankruptcy settlement by an archdiocese giving 450 people a total of $210 million, which averages to about $467,000 each. Some of the money came from church assets and some from insurance.

In New Mexico, to protect funds from settlements, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, has distanced itself from about $178 million since 2012. On average, an archdiocese in bankruptcy will settle with clergy abuse victims for about half the value of its estate. If the Santa Fe archdiocese settles for half the value of the $49 million it says it owns, the 375 victims will each get about $65,000, about one-fifth of the $300,000 they would get if the arch­diocese hadn’t taken $178 million off its ledger.

“The bankruptcy code should not be used to re-victimize victims,” said New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas. “They are really just trying to shield assets.”

According to a 2018 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, victims of childhood sexual abuse experience increased mental and physical health problems. Additionally, they receive lower earnings, with the cost to a victim of more than $280,000 over a lifetime.

“We realize that nothing can ever adequately compensate those who have been victims of this terrible crime,” Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester said in November, 2018. “Nonetheless, we seek to do all we can by way of publicly acknowledging their pain, offering apologies and providing financial compensation.”

The Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution. Church leaders have prioritized the wealth of the archdiocese over making victims whole. Moving around and hiding funds from sexual abuse victims is an outrage, immoral, and callously adds to the suffering these victims are forced to endure. 

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of any religious faith, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Sharp Rise in Clergy Sexual Abuse Claims in Catholic Church According to U.S. Bishops

Since the 1950s, more than 18,000 allegations of sexual abuse have been made against clergy members, the Boston Globe reports. More recently, there has been an influx of the filing rate of these cases according to newly-released data.

The annual report from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which covers July 2015 to June 2016, said 911 more victims came forward with allegations the church deemed credible.  The vast majority of these claims were from adults who said they were abused when they were children.  A large number of allegations were reported in Minnesota where the legislature amended the statute of limitations to allow additional victims to come forward.

This data highlights the fact that more work still needs to be done in addressing the clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.  It refutes the popular contention that all of the victims have already come forward.  The numbers demonstrate that sexual abuse victims are empowered by state legislation allowing them to bring civil claims.  It is forth this reason that more states – including New York – should pass legislation giving victims more time to bring their claims.  In the absence of such legislation, many victims continue to suffer in silence.  The data further shows that victims gain collective strength in numbers and are likely to come forward after being empowered by high-profile cases in the media or in the case of Spotlight, the Academy-award winning film which exposed the scope of the cover-up of clergy sexual abuse by the leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits nationwide involving abuse of children of many religious denominations, including the Catholic Church. You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Follow-Up: Department of Health Issues Emergency Restriction on Coral Gables Massage Therapist Charged with Felony Sexual Battery

In March 2017, Massage Envy therapist David Egusquiza was arrested and charged with felony sexual battery of a female patient at the Miracle Mile location in Coral Gables. That same alleged misconduct led the Florida Department of Health to issue an Emergency Order restricting Egusquiza’s massage therapy license.

The department found that “Mr. Egusquiza’s continued unrestricted ability to provide massage services constitutes an immediate, serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the public.” As a result, he is hereby immediately restricted practicing massage therapy without a supervisor present. Egusquiza is awaiting trial in Miami-Dade County on the felony charge.

Incidents such as this are a reminder that persons who may commit sexual misconduct work in all industries, even professions in which we typically place our blind trust. All allegations of sexual abuse must be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and employers must be especially vigilant in the supervision and protection of our citizens at all times.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling claims nationwide on behalf of victims of sexual assault by massage therapists, including at Massage Envy and other national chains, spas, and hotels. You can reach Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

BREAKING NEWS: Jerry Sandusky’s Son Arrested on Child Sexual Assault Charges

The disturbing story of former Penn State assistant football coach and convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky took another dark turn on Monday, February 13, 2017. Sandusky’s 41-year-old adopted son Jeffrey has been arrested and charged with child sexual assault.

Jeffrey Sandusky was charged and arraigned in Bellefonte, Pa., according to WTAJ in Central Pennsylvania. Sandusky reportedly has been under investigation by Pennsylvania State Police since November 2016 following a child’s claims that he received text messages asking for nude photographs from the child. The child informed his father about the allegedly lewd texts, and the father notified authorities.

The criminal complaint cited in initial reports notes a second claim of child abuse dating back to 2013.

Bail has been set at $200,000 for Sandusky, who is prohibited from any contact with minors.

Jerry Sandusky is currently serving a 30-to-60-year prison sentence for serial child molestation over a 15-year span.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual assault. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, please email attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Wyoming Doctor Paul Harnetty Faces Charges He Sexually Assaulted Six OB/GYN Patients

The disturbing trend of doctors and other health care personnel committing sexual assault on patients continues throughout the nation. In the latest example, former Casper, Wyoming obstetrician/gynecologist Paul Harnetty was arrestedon charges of 12 counts of sexual assault and attempted drug possession.handcuffed doctor

Harnetty, 46, could face between 18 and 225 years in prison for charges of nine counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of third-degree sexual assault, according to K2 Radio in Wyoming. The criminal warrant cites the alleged sexual assault of six female patients in the Casper, Wyoming area. Harnetty separately faces a drug charge after law enforcement found synthetic steroid Nandrolone during a search of his home.

The former obstetrics and gynecology specialist stopped practicing medicine in Wyoming in October 2015 and moved to Minnesota at some point between April and September 2016, according to the Casper Star Tribune. The Wyoming Board of Medicine filed a complaint against Harnetty after receiving several complaints of rule violations in February 2016.

Harnetty previously faced a state board investigation in Georgia in 2010, when he worked in a hospital there.

Prosecutors plan to extradite Harnetty from Minnesota to Wyoming to face the sexual assault charges.

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits nationwide on behalf of victims of sex assault by doctors or other healthcare personnel. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, please email attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.

Washington D.C. Dentist Charged With Drugging and Sexually Assaulting Patients

Former Washington dentist, Bilal Ahmed, has been criminally charged with sexually assaulting three male patients while they were anesthetized.  In 2014, Dr. Ahmed, 44, was treating a male patient at Universal Smiles DC in the 2300 block of M Street NW when the patient, after being administered nitrous oxide through a face mask, realized Ahmed was sexually assaulting him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for District of Columbia said in a statement.

Ahmed’s dental practice’s office manager, Mahsa Azimirad, 26, of North Bethesda, who allegedly lied to a grand jury during the Ahmed investigation, was also indicted on one count of perjury, according to prosecutors.

The crimes Dr. Ahmed are accused of committing are an extraordinary violation and breach of trust.  We hope that justice is served in this case.

 Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing a lawsuit on behalf of victims of sexual assault by healthcare professionals.  If you have a been a victim of sexual assault by a health care professional, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

“Biggest Loser” Star Opens Up About Being Sexually Assaulted During Massage

Sexual Assault Attorney South Florida Ali Vincent, the 2008 winner of weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser, helped raise awareness about the ongoing problem of sexual assault by massage therapists by recently sharing her story on national television. Her courage in coming forward could embolden other victims to hold offenders accountable.

As Vincent detailed during an October 8 episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?, she fell asleep during a massage that occurred after her Biggest Loser season ended. Vincent woke up to the feeling of being inappropriately touched by the massage therapist. After a few seconds of shock, Vincent jumped up and bolted out of the spa.

The traumatic experience has impacted Vincent’s life ever since. She cited the assault as the reason for her excessive eating and drinking habits that resulted in Vincent gaining all of the weight that she lost on the reality show. Vincent noted that she is still taking steps to completely heal from the incident.

Unfortunately, stories like Vincent’s are increasingly common these days. Hundreds of instances of sexual abuse by massage therapists have occurred over the past decade. Victims often suffer severe long-term consequences, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sex assault by massage therapists.  If you have a been a victim of sexual assault in a spa or during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.

Lakeland Therapist Accused of Sexually Assaulting Female Patients

Anthont Conti Sexual therapist 

Anthony Conti, Jr., a 71-year old licensed mental health counselor in Lakeland, Florida, has been arrested on charges of sexual misconduct with female patients whom he was supposed to be counseling.  According to public record, Conti has been licensed in Florida since 1982.  The Lakeland Police Department detectives report that Conti touched women in their genital area during visits to his office at 1962 E. Edgewood Drive in Lakeland.  According to police records, Conti admitted to touching one of the women during a recorded conversation.

As of September 28, four women have come forward to report their abuse during counseling sessions with Conti.  According to one alleged victim, Conti told her he could he help rid her body of toxins and he discussed four levels of treatment, including the final level which involved intimate hands on touching. In one sessin, explained that there were glands in her breast region at which time he placed both of his hands underneath her bra and “groped” her breasts multiple times. The victim explained that she didn’t feel comfortable with this and had to leave. The victim stated that Conti then put his hands down her pants. The session ended and the victim later spoke with the State Attorney’s Office and they forwarded the case to the Lakeland Police Department.

A second alleged victim reported that Conti spoke to her for months about eastern medicine therapy and neurotransmitter releases that can be done. He further went into detail about serotoninss and how Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid are produced in your stomach and dopamine that is produced in your crotch area. During this session, the victim stated Conti commented on how gorgeous she was. The session ended and another one was scheduled.

On September 15, the victim arrived for another session and Conti brought up the aforementioned therapies and explained the science behind it. Conti had the victim lay down and he began rubbing her stomach under her shirt. He then proceeded to slide his hand underneath her pants and her underwear. The victim stated she felt embarrassed and froze. Conti continued to rub her inner thighs while he explained about her lymph nodes and the importance of them. The victim further stated that Conti began to massage her underneath her panties. The victim then told Conti to stop at which point he did. Conti then moved to her upper chest and explained the mechanics of his touch. He proceeded to touch her breast and told her she had beautiful breasts. The session ended and the victim left.

On September 27, one of the alleged victims worked with undercover detectives and made contact with Conti. During this visit, one victim asked Conti about him touching her during the previous therapy. Conti advised he does this because he is trying to restart the body and he referenced to touching the butt, breasts and vagina. Conti spoke of several other techniques, such as pelvic floor stimulation, and how they help relieve depression.

Sadly, sexual misconduct by licensed health care professionals is far more prevalent than many people realize.   If there are any victims who have not yet reported their abuse by Anthony Conti, we encourage them to promptly contact the Lakeland Police Department and the Florida Department of Health.

Adam Horowitz is experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual assault, including numerous cases related to sexual abuse by health care professionals.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by a doctor or other healthcareprofessional, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100.