Did a Doctor or Medical Professional Sexually Abuse You?
Doctors, nurses and other staff many times have unsupervised interaction with patients. Similar to teachers, coaches and clergy, they have a duty to protect the patients who are under their care. Sometimes these medical professionals use their position and access to harm the very individuals who are under their care.
Doctors and other medical professionals who violate the Hippocratic Oath by sexually assaulting patients must be stopped and held responsible. Hospitals and facilities who allow abuse to continue must also be held responsible.
At Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney P.C. in Bridgeport, our attorneys help victims seek compensation. Nothing can undo what was done, but pursuing recovery can help survivors of abuse to close the door on the abuse they experienced so they can move on with their lives.
Abuse Can Happen to Anyone at Any Time
There is no one profile that describes a victim of physician or medical professional abuse. Victims can range in age from infants/toddlers to the elderly. The abuse itself may also be varied. Doctors or nurses may speak to them in sexually inappropriate ways, expose themselves to patients and/or make contact by groping or penetrating a patient.
Challenges to Reporting Abuse
If it happened once, it is likely to happen again. Victims sometimes try to avoid confrontation by reasoning that the abuse only occurred one time or by telling themselves they are likely the only victim. The reality is that abuse is seldom an isolated incident. Abusers typically repeatedly abuse patients.
Patients may be confused about what happened or even embarrassed. Often, patients fear not being believed and may even be intimidated by their abusers if they confront them.
These fears are not entirely unfounded. Medical boards and officials often allow physicians to continue practicing after allegations of abuse arise. Instead of revoking a physician’s license, they suspend it for a period of time or put limited restrictions on practicing. Hospitals and medical clinics do not always report sexual abuse to law enforcement. Instead, they quietly dismiss offending physicians.
It is important that victims of doctor sexual abuse have a strong advocate by their side who can help them.
We Hold Doctors, Nurses and Staff Accountable for Sexual Abuse of Children
One such hospital sexual abuse case was Dr. George Reardon, a physician at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, who sexually abused hundreds of children in the hospital during his growth study examinations. Approximately 60,000 pornographic images of children were found in the wall of his former home. This case is extremely significant not only due to the number of images and victims, but also because of the decision of Connecticut’s Supreme Court.
On July 16, 2013, Connecticut’s highest court released the landmark decision of Tim Doe v. St. Francis Hospital. Tim Doe was sexually abused from 1968 to 1972, as a boy, by Dr. George Reardon, a physician at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tim, and we tried the case in 2011 to a jury that awarded Tim $2.75 million against the hospital. Tim’s joy was short-lived as the hospital filed an appeal. However, after waiting almost two years, the Supreme Court affirmed Tim’s victory.
This Supreme Court decision is significant not only for Tim but for all people who have been sexually abused. In the decision, the court found that any employer, including a hospital, can be held responsible where one of its employees sexually abuses a child and the employer should have known what was going on. In addition, the court affirmed that when a company, a school, a church or anyone else has custody of a child, it must take steps to protect the child from harm. It is not enough for the employer to say, “I did not know my employee was sexually abusing children.” Steps have to be taken by the employer to protect that child.
Our History Representing Victims of Sexual Abuse
We could not be happier about the decision as it brings added protection to children to prevent them from being sexually abused. Twenty years ago, Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney P.C. became one of the first firms in Connecticut to represent victims of sexual abuse, and since that time, we have represented well over 150 victims. By taking Tim’s case all the way to the Supreme Court and prevailing, we continue to be a leader in the field of representing victims. However, we are also making the world safer for all of our children.
Discuss Your Claim With Us
We understand the concerns of individuals and families about reporting sexual abuse. We are adept at protecting the privacy interests of our clients while holding abusers accountable. Our attorneys are experienced, compassionate and professional when representing our clients. We create an environment where clients can feel safe and confident in our ability to see that justice is done.
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?
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?
What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Is there a different burden of proof?
The perpetrator is now dead. Can I still file a claim?
I do not want my identity revealed. Is there a way that I can file a claim and remain anonymous?
Who are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse?
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.