Abused by Someone Else

TWO ROADS TO JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

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.

Our firm 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 with 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 Robinson Mahoney P.C. collects not only financial compensation for the victim, but assists the authorities in putting the offender behind bars where they belong. Call 203-212-9075 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Child Sexual Abuse Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Prove a Molestation Case?

A. Child sexual abuse can take many forms and be difficult to prove, especially if the physical injuries are no longer present. However, many physicians and behavioral specialists are able to spot the warning signs of sexual abuse in children and can help build a strong case against the abuser. Our lawyers are experienced in working with the right experts to help with your claim.

Can You Sue a Teacher for Sexual Abuse?

A. Yes. Teachers can be held liable in a civil claim for sexual abuse against minor students. Like with all civil claims for child sexual abuse, it is important to work with an attorney right away to make sure all evidence is collected and documented to help build your case.

What Are My Legal Rights if I Was Sexually Abused as a Child?

A. Our lawyers represent victims who were sexually abused as children (under the age of 18). The law only allows victims to bring a claim up until the age of 48. Do not wait to learn about your legal options if you were the victim of sexual abuse as a minor.

Why Choose Us?

A. We have more than 50 years of experience handling personal injury and abuse cases at Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney P.C. Our firm only handles personal injury cases. Why does this matter? You wouldn’t go to an eye doctor for a foot problem — just like you shouldn’t go to a full-service law firm for your personal injury case. All we do is personal injury cases, and our success in these cases is proven by our history and record.

What is the statute of limitations with regard to filing a sexual abuse claim?

A. Victims who claim damages for sexual abuse, sexual assault or sexual exploitation as a child can file a claim up to 30 years past the age of abuse (typically until the age of 48) in Connecticut.

However, if you claim damages as a result of being sexually assaulted as an adult, then you have a much shorter time period in which to file a lawsuit. Typically, you have three years from the date of the assault to file against the perpetrator for his or her intentional acts and two years from the date of the assault to file against any other person or entity (e.g., perpetrator’s employer) who may have been negligent in allowing the perpetrator to have contact with you.

If there is a criminal case presently pending against the perpetrator, can I still file a civil suit?

A. Yes. The two cases can proceed at the same time, but there may be reasons to wait, if possible, until the criminal case concludes.

What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Is there a different burden of proof?

A. Many people know that the burden of proof (or evidence needed to prove the case) in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal cases require a very high standard because being found guilty of a crime is at stake as well as the potential to go to jail. In a civil case, no one is accused of a crime and cannot be found guilty. Instead, the question in a civil case is whether a person was negligent and responsible for damages to another. The burden of proof in a civil case is lower (easier to prove) than in a criminal case. The standard to win a case is “more likely than not” that the person was at fault, or proof of just over 50 percent responsible.

The perpetrator is now dead. Can I still file a claim?

A. Yes. A claim can be filed against the estate of the perpetrator. However, there are very strict and short time restrictions for doing so.

I do not want my identity revealed. Is there a way that I can file a claim and remain anonymous?

A. You can ask permission from the court to file your case under a pseudonym (e.g., Jane Doe or John Doe). It is up to the judge to grant or deny your request.

Who are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse?

A. Under Connecticut law, the following people are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse: doctors; nurses; medical examiners; dentists; dental hygienists; psychologists; coaches; school teachers; school principals; school guidance counselors; school paraprofessionals; social workers; police officers; juvenile or adult probation and parole officers; members of the clergy; pharmacists; physical therapists; optometrists; chiropractors; podiatrists; mental health professionals; physician’s assistants; certified EMT providers; certified drug and alcohol counselors; licensed marital and family therapists; sexual assault and battered women’s counselors; paid child care providers in public or private facilities; child day care centers; licensed group and family day care centers; employees of the Department of Children and Families or the Department of Public Health if responsible for licensing day care centers, homes, or youth camps; and employees of the Office of the Child Advocate, including designated Child Advocates.

Any person so identified who in the course of his or her employment or profession has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or has been inflicted with non-accidental injuries or is at imminent risk of serious harm must report or cause a report to be made in accordance with state law. Violation of the law will result in a monetary fine and required participation in an educational and training program. See Connecticut General Statutes Sections 17-101(b); 17a-101a.