At Robenalt Law, we prosecute civil cases against schools, churches, universities, and employers that have failed to take measures to protect people from sexual abuse. We handle these claims throughout the nation. In many cases, these institutions turn a blind eye to behavior that indicates that a perpetrator is abusing his or her position of power. It happens to children and adults alike.
The statistics on sexual abuse of young children and minors are staggering and grim. Studies say that one in five girls and one in ten boys are victims of child sexual abuse. Children between the ages of 7 and 13 are the most vulnerable; nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults occur against children age 17 and under. Sadly, the vast majority of child victims are abused by someone they know well. Often the abuser is someone in a position of power, like a teacher, pastor, or employer.
Sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual harassment inflict traumatic injuries on the victim and leave lifelong emotional scars. While no amount of money can remove those scars, the victim is entitled to justice. If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse as a young child or a minor, you may be able to recover financial compensation from those who are responsible. At The Robenalt Law Firm, Inc., we have experience helping victims recover through a civil action for sexual abuse, even if the abuser was not convicted of a crime.
Pursuing Justice for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse can pursue justice through both civil claim for money damages and the criminal justice system. The differences between civil and criminal proceedings are significant. In a civil action, the burden of proof is less than in a criminal case.
Often, victims can bring a civil action even when no criminal charge was filed or when the abuser was found not guilty in a criminal case. Those responsible may include teachers, coaches, clergy, and others in a position of authority or trust. Other individuals may also be responsible if their conduct gave rise to conditions that allowed the conduct to occur, and the victim can sue those parties as well. Under some circumstances, the abuser’s employer can be held liable, such as when a university or school knows about the abuse and allows it to continue.
Ohio Recognizes a Civil Cause of Action for Money Damages for Victims of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse by individuals in positions of authority has received increased attention in recent years. The case of serial molester Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach at Penn State, involved allegations that he abused more than 50 people and received nationwide attention. A case in California involving elementary a school teacher revealed that his decades-long sexual abuse of students was repeatedly reported but ignored by school officials. In Ohio, personal injury attorney Attorney Tom Robenalt has investigated claims of sexual battery, sexual assault, and sexual harassment against predatory teachers, employers, universities and others who hold positions of power over minors, children, and young adults.
The State of Ohio recognizes sexual abuse of young children and minors as a civil cause of action in Ohio Revised Code, Section 2305.111(C). Sexual conduct against a victim under 18 years old is sufficient to support a civil action for childhood sexual abuse. The offender does not need to be convicted or found guilty of a criminal offense for the conduct to support a civil action.
Under Ohio law, abusive conduct includes sexual assault and sexual battery, as well as "sexual imposition," which is sexual conduct that occurs under specific circumstances. The Ohio childhood sexual abuse law specifically identifies sexual imposition as the basis for a civil claim when the offender is in a position of trust or authority, such as a parent (natural or adoptive), stepparent, guardian, or custodian. Also covered are teachers, administrators, coaches, and other persons employed by a school that the child attends.
Each case will depend on the specific circumstances. The only way to determine with certainty if you have the basis for a civil action is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney like Tom Robenalt, who has helped clients with childhood sexual abuse civil claims.
In Ohio, Child and Minor Sexual Abuse Victims Can File a Civil Action up to Age 30
Oftentimes, the victim of child sexual abuse is not able to admit or confront the abuse until they are much older and become an adult. Fortunately, in Ohio and many other states, the time period for a victim to file a civil action against the person who committed the abuse — called the Statute of Limitations — is longer than for many other types of civil actions.
Under Ohio law, the victim of a sexual assault while under the age of 18, can file a civil action anytime up to age 30. In cases where facts are fraudulently concealed, the time limit can be even longer. Other states have different statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse civil actions, but in most cases, they are longer than other civil time limitation periods.
Compensation for Victims
Children and minors who are sexually abused suffer greatly — both short- and long-term — from the abuse. In addition to the extreme anxiety they experience, victims often develop low self-esteem, feel worthless, and become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults. Some victims can become very aggressive. Child sexual abuse can also cause the victims to become suicidal.
Depending on the circumstances, there are a number of different types of financial compensation that can be sought in a civil suit for childhood sexual abuse, including:
- cost of medical and therapy treatment
- damage to family relationships
- lost wages
- psychological damage
- pain and suffering
- punitive damages
Your Consultation is Free — and There Is No Fee Unless We Win
At Robenalt Law, we know how difficult it can be to pursue a claim against someone who harmed you and caused you so much emotional pain by sexually abusing you or a loved one. Financial compensation can never make up for what happened, but it can help pay for treatment, compensate for damage to your family relationships, and more. You can put the burden on us and let us use our experience in fighting for our clients to recover what you are owed. If you or a loved one were sexually abused as a child or minor, or if you have a loved one who suffered from childhood sexual abuse, we want to help you recover from the person or persons responsible for harming you.
For a free consultation: call (216) 223-7535, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our online form.
We represent clients in Cleveland, throughout Ohio, and elsewhere. In most cases, there is no fee unless we win.