Sexual abuse is an unconscionable reality in schools across New York City and the country. According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Education, more than 14,900 incidents of sexual violence occurred in a two-year period (2017-2018.) That number was up 55% from the previous two-year period.
This increase in sexual assaults in our nation’s schools should be concerning to parents, educators, and the community at large. New York attorneys with Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin believe change is possible only when perpetrators are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Laws in the state have recently changed, such as the Child Victims Act, which allows survivors of school sex abuse to file civil lawsuits and recover damages for crimes that happened years ago, depending on when the abuse occurred. Compensation may also be available for recent or current sexual abuse cases as well.
A confidential, no-obligation case consultation with a NYC child sexual abuse lawyer is the first step toward reaching justice in the civil court system. Contact our firm today.
Child sexual abuse is any sexual activity involving a child under the age of 17. A child does not have the legal ability to consent to sex. It can take many forms:
Abusers are often those adults that children are supposed to trust, such as teachers, coaches, school employees, or employees at after-school programs, recreation centers, daycares and camps.
It’s also possible for fellow students and teammates, or their siblings or parents, to perpetrate child sexual abuse.
According to research from non-profit organization Darkness to Light, 9 out of 10 child sexual abuse victims know their abusers. Only 10% of victims are abused by a stranger. Approximately 70% of children are abused by someone outside the family.
The school sexual abuse lawyers at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP will act with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. We have years of experience helping injured children. When working with minor clients, we try to resolve matters without litigation, and we make sure their financial recovery is protected for their best interests.
Unfortunately, many children do not tell a trusted adult about the sexual assault because of the confusion and shame they experience or because the perpetrator manipulated the child into secrecy. Children need to know what happened to them is not their fault. Every adult should know the signs of possible sexual abuse in children, so they can intervene and seek help.
Abuse manifests in three primary ways:
This list is far from exhaustive. Every child is unique and processes trauma in their own way. In general, adults should look into any unusual changes that may be a sign of concern.
Civil lawsuits represent the only means by which victims of school sexual abuse and their families can get compensation for the harm that was done to them. Plaintiffs in these civil court cases can pursue monetary damages not only from the abuser but also from the school or organization the abuser was connected to.
Damages are calculated based on all the ways child sexual abuse has impacted your life. They may include:
In cases of egregious abuse, punitive damages may also be awarded. A punitive damage award is meant to punish defendants who have acted with extreme negligence or malice. Punitive damages are also intended to deter the defendant and others from engaging in the same type of misconduct going forward.
The criminal justice system is separate and distinct from the civil court system. Criminal prosecutions are brought by law enforcement and are the means by which perpetrators can be convicted and punished with jail time and a permanent record.
As soon as you suspect child sexual abuse, report it to the proper authorities.
School sexual abuse lawyers at the firm of Rheingold Guiffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP have years of experience advocating for abuse survivors and seeking the justice that is deserved.
We won’t back down against the New York City public schools, residential schools, religious schools and boarding schools that fail to protect our children.
While financial compensation cannot undo the trauma your child experienced, it is a powerful way to hold perpetrators accountable. It also eases the financial burden of therapy and medical care, so you can focus on healing and moving forward as a family.
Liability starts with the abuser himself or herself. You can sue them directly in civil court.
Schools can also be held liable for:
It is also possible to sue school districts that fail to screen and supervise administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, and students. This includes all public, parochial, and boarding schools across the New York metropolitan area and the nation.
Yes. In fact, child sexual abuse predators often wait to act until they are away from school to abuse minors because of the lack of supervision. Outside-of-school events can include field trips, sports games, concerts, academic competitions and more.
If a school employee abuses a child in any setting, you can sue the school for their employee’s bad act.
A statute of limitations is the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. Once that deadline expires, the right to sue is lost. These time limits can be especially critical to understand in cases of child sex abuse because it often takes many years for victims to gain the courage to come forward.
Fortunately, New York State has some of the most generous statutes of limitations in the nation for sexual abuse civil lawsuits.
Here are two key laws that give school sex abuse survivors in New York more time to pursue justice.
The Child Victims Act (CVA) extends the statute of limitations for criminal and civil child sex abuse cases. The CVA gives survivors up to the age of 55 to file a civil claim for monetary damages. The law also removes a prior “notice of claim” requirement, which opens the door for victims to sue public and private institutions involved in their abuse. Victims can file criminal charges up to the age of 28.
Passed in May 2022, the Adult Survivors Act (ASA) temporarily created a temporary one-year window allowing plaintiffs to file civil child sexual abuse claims that would otherwise be ineligible because of the statute of limitations.
Cases related to abuse that happened when plaintiffs were under 18 are given preferential treatment under the ASA. Because this lookback window closes on November 24, 2023, victims considering civil action should contact our sexual abuse litigation department as soon as possible. Delays can jeopardize your case and your right to sue.
It’s normal to feel guilt, sadness, and rage if you discover your child is a victim of sexual abuse. You may not know where to turn or how to help them. Here are some resources to help you and your child navigate this challenging time and get the help you deserve:
Here’s how our team of NYC school sexual abuse attorneys can help:
School sexual abuse cases are especially difficult because of the trauma inflicted upon the child and their loved ones. Many of our attorneys and support staff are parents, too. That is why we handle your case with care, compassion, and discretion.
Your child’s best interests are always our top priority. We work diligently to get justice on their behalf and help them along their healing journey. We have 50 years of experience and more than $2 billion in recoveries for clients just like you.
Call or connect online to schedule your free case review with a NYC Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer in our New York City location. We represent clients across NYC, New York State, and Maryland.