WALNUT CREEK CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ATTORNEY
MICHAEL REHM - (925) 705-8707
Providing representation to victims of School/Teacher/Counselor/Coach sexual assault, Clergy/Pastor/Priest childhood sexual abuse, Boy Scouts sexual abuse, and other institutional abuse matters in Contra Costa County CA.
A recent article in Walnut Creek Magazine tells the story of a 12-year-old girl who was sexually abused by a teacher and coach. The school principal did not report her complaints to the school board or police and no investigation was undertaken. Other children were later found to be victims of the same abusers.
Dozens of Northern California priests have been implicated in investigations of child molestation. Sexual abuse of children occurs in civic organizations like the Girl Scouts and athletic organizations like Little League. Foster homes and private day care businesses have enabled the sexual abuse of children.
The Walnut Creek Magazine article reports that only one in twelve child sexual abuse victims report the crime. Many children regard their abusers as authority figures and feel powerless to tell other adults about the abuse. Some children report abuse and are not believed. Others are afraid to say anything until, in adulthood, they talk about their molestation in therapy.
Liability of Institutions for Child Sexual Abuse
The California Supreme Court has allowed victims of child sexual assault to sue the institutional employers of child molesters for their negligent failure to protect children in their care. A duty to exercise care to protect children exists when an institution has the care and custody of children or is expected to act in the place of a parent. Schools are an obvious example, but organizations that operate after-school programs, community programs, church groups, and other activities for children must exercise reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to the children in their care.
Schools and other institutions are negligent when they fail to investigate reports of sexual assault, fail to conduct background checks on staff members and volunteers, and fail to supervise employees who have contact with children. When negligence makes abuse possible, a victim is entitled to sue not just the abuser but also the institution that enabled the abuse.
Extended time for Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits by Adults
Recognizing that too many institutions have escaped liability for their negligent conduct, the California legislature enacted a law that allows all adults of any age to bring legal claims based on sexual abuse that occurred during their childhood. The period for bringing those claims will expire at the end of 2022.
Beginning in 2023, the deadline for filing a lawsuit based on a childhood sexual assault will depend on the victim's age, when the victim realized that he or she had been victimized by sexual assault, and whether an earlier claim was filed. Most victims will be able to file until they reach the age of 40. Some may be able to sue even if they are older than 40. Walnut Creek Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer Michael Rehm can help victims of childhood sexual assault understand the deadline that applies.
Attorney Michael Rehm can help in the search of a therapist or counselor to help Walnut Creek survivors recover. Attorney Rehm can also help survivors seek the compensation they need to pay for therapy, as well as damages for pain and suffering, humiliation, emotional distress, depression, and the other psychological impacts of surviving childhood sexual abuse.
For more information on what can be done, and how the legal process works, call Attorney Michael Rehm at (925) 705-8707, the consultation is confidential and free.