Compensation for Those Victimized by Sexual Abuse or Molestation
The impact of sexual abuse by a trusted counselor, pastor, priest, therapist, teacher or other adult can take a devastating emotional and physical toll on a survivor. Although sexual molestation, rape, child abuse and similar acts of misconduct constitute criminal offenses that may result in incarceration and other penalties for the perpetrator, this does not compensate the victim for the devastating physical and emotional impact of being victimized by a sexual offender.
Sexual abuse and sex offenses can leave lasting scars, especially when the victim of sexual exploitation or abuse is a child. Our Georgia sexual abuse attorneys understand the evidentiary challenges associated with proving sexual abuse. When the victim is a child, these obstacles may be even greater. If the perpetrator is convicted of a sexual offense, this record of conviction can be used as evidence of liability in a civil case. However, the situation becomes more challenging if there has not been a successful criminal prosecution of the sexual offender. Since sexual predators conduct their pattern of misconduct in secret, the child and the perpetrator may be the only witnesses to the abuse. Of course many times there is physical evidence as well.
While the perpetrator of the abuse may be held liable for damages, this may not be a satisfactory option in all cases involving sexual abuse of children. The perpetrator may not have the financial ability to satisfy a settlement or judgment for the adverse impact on the victim's quality of life. The individual that engaged in the pattern of sexual abuse or molestation may be a teacher or neighbor who typically will not have insurance coverage to cover this type of misconduct.
However, the employer of the offender, such as a school, hospital, church or other institution may be liable for the harm caused by the sexual offender and also may have more access to financial means to pay damages. Schools and youth organizations that work with children must comply with strict laws that require background checks when hiring employees or allowing volunteers to have access to young children. When an employer does not conduct an adequate background check, provide proper supervision, investigate complaints or otherwise fails to protect children from sexual exploitation by adults, the school or other institution may be financially responsible for the harm suffered by children entrusted to its care.
While the focus of this blog post is sexual abuse of children, anyone who is unable to lawfully consent to sexual contact is particularly susceptible to abuse, which includes mentally disabled adults, unconscious patients or the elderly. Regardless of the identity of the victim, a court may compensate anyone young, old, male or female who is subject to non-consensual or forced sexual activity.
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If you or your child have been victimized by a teacher, counselor, psychiatrist, clergyman, physician, psychologist, babysitter or other trusted person, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.