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July 3, 2012   |   - Sexual Abuse   |     |   Print

Two Roads for Justice for Sexual Abuse Victims

After all the media coverage on the Jerry Sandusky case, Tremont & Sheldon has received many calls asking about the difference between a criminal case and civil case for sexual abuse victims.

When a child has been sexually abused one possible road to justice is through the criminal courts.    If the victim of the abuse brings information to the police in a timely manner, the police can arrest the offender and have the attacker prosecuted to the full extent of the criminal law.   The primary purpose of the criminal courts is to punish the attacker and to deter the attacker from repeating the crime.   The criminal prosecution can bring to the victim a sense of vindication and also the comfort of knowing that while the defendant is incarcerated, the victim is safe.

While providing a sense of relief, the criminal courts are not well equipped to financially compensate  the victim.   Victims of sexual abuse too often face a lifetime of pain and many require ongoing treatment which can be very expensive.    The criminal courts do not fully address those needs.  

Tremont & Sheldon helps victims down the second road to justice, through the civil court system.  By aggressively pursuing a claim in the civil courts we are not only able to hold the perpetrator financially responsible but potentially others as well, such as the perpetrator’s employer.    In pursuing the civil claim, we work cooperatively with law enforcement so as not to interfere their efforts in the criminal arena.   We share information about the criminal proceedings with the authorities to help build the civil claim.

By working together, Tremont & Sheldon collects not only financial compensation for the victim, but assists the authorities in putting the offender behind bars where they belong.


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