Holding Perpetrators of Childhood Sexual Assault Accountable

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According to an article in The Plain Dealer, a former Boy Scouts of America worker pleaded guilty to federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and distribution of child pornography.

The defendant recorded children changing in a YMCA locker room in Sandusky, Ohio, at a Boy Scout camp near Oberlin, and in his own home when he had children over to swim in his backyard pool.

The Department of Homeland Security has identified 47 victims seen in videos recorded and stored on the defendant’s computer.

In addition to criminal charges against the individual defendant, both the defendant and Boy Scouts of America could face civil liability for failing to take adequate steps to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Sexual Assault Claims Against Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America is the largest youth organization in the United States. It is also populated by unusually high numbers of sex offenders.

Thousands of Boy Scouts have been victims of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Boy Scout leaders and volunteers. Adult leaders have ease of access and myriad opportunities to sexually assault young people who look to them for guidance and mentorship.

Incidents of sexual abuse commonly occur on campouts, sleepovers, or trips to the leader’s home.

The Boy Scouts of America has not had the best track record of policing themselves. On more than one occasion, leaders who have been accused or convicted of childhood sexual assault in one location who relocate and are found doing the same thing in other locations.

Victims of Childhood Sexual Assault Suffer Lifelong Consequences

Childhood sexual abuse statistics are staggering. One in ten boys and one in five girls have been a victim of childhood sexual assault.

Sexual abuse causes traumatic injuries and leaves lifelong emotional scars.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse often develop low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults. In some cases, victims of childhood sexual abuse can become suicidal.

Robenalt Law Fights for Victims of Childhood Sexual Assault

Robenalt Law has handled childhood sexual assault cases throughout Ohio, and across the country.

Victims of sexual assault and sexual exploitation may be entitled to monetary compensation from those responsible, including the perpetrator and the organization the perpetrator worked for or volunteered with if the organization failed to take appropriate steps to protect the exploited children.

The differences between criminal charges and civil claims are important. The burden of proof is less in a civil case than it is in a criminal case, and in some cases a victim can bring a civil claim even if there were no criminal charges filed.

In addition to the perpetrator and the organizations they work or volunteer for, other individuals might be held responsible if they knew of the conditions that led to the sexual abuse but failed to act.

The case of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State University, is a prime example. In addition to Mr. Sandusky, the university and other people who knew of Mr. Sandusky’s sexually exploitative conduct but failed to stop it were named as defendants in civil lawsuits that were eventually settled out of court.

Bringing a Claim for Childhood Sexual Assault

In Ohio, sexual conduct with a victim who is under 18 is enough to support a claim for childhood sexual assault.

No criminal conviction is necessary to proceed with a civil claim.

Sexually abusive conduct includes sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual imposition, which is sexual conduct that occurs under specific conditions.

When the offender is in a position of authority over the victim, such as a teacher, administrator, coach, and other employees or volunteers, sexual abuse can serve as the basis for a civil claim.

Victims of childhood sexual assault may be entitled to financial compensation including:

  • Costs of medical treatment and therapy
  • Damage to family relationships
  • Lost wages
  • Psychological injuries
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Childhood Sexual Assault Claims Have a Longer Statute of Limitations

Because victims of childhood sexual assault often have a difficult time addressing the abuse, they have until they reach age 30 to file a civil action against their abusers. If facts about the abuse were fraudulently concealed, the time period can be even longer.

The time period to file a civil claim for childhood sexual assault is longer than most other statutes of limitations precisely because victims of childhood sexual assault often have a difficult time addressing their history of abuse.

Robenalt Law Can Help You

If you or your child were a victim of childhood sexual assault, seek help immediately.

Robenalt Law works hard to hold perpetrators of childhood sexual assault accountable. At Robenalt Law, we will:

  • Help make sure you or your child receives appropriate psychological and medical treatment
  • Work with outside experts to help establish civil liability of the abuser and the organization they worked or volunteered for
  • Help maintain your family’s privacy by addressing media inquires
  • Coordinate and handle depositions and witness interviews

Meeting with a lawyer does not mean you must proceed with a case. Our experienced childhood sexual assault lawyers are here to help by providing you with information about possible next steps, and to hold perpetrators accountable if that is the route you choose to go.

The Cleveland sexual assault lawyers at Robenalt Law are here to help if you or someone you love was the victim of childhood sexual assault. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call 216-233-7573, email trobenalt@robenaltlaw.com, or complete our online form.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career at a large firm in Cleveland where he defended institutions and employees accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.

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