The sexual abuse of children in institutions like the Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Church, public schools, private schools, sports programs like the American Youth Soccer Organization and youth recreation programs like Boys and Girls Clubs is an all too common tragic fact of life. In many of these cases, the abuse could have been prevented if the institution had properly supervised and trained their employees and volunteers. In fact in a disturbing number of these cases, the institution recklessly ignored clear indicators that an employee or volunteer was molesting a child.
Child abuse is the perfect crime because its victims are often too embarrassed, confused and fearful to reveal the awful truth at the time of the abuse or soon after it has ended. Many victims wait years, even decades to reveal the abuse. Unfortunately in most circumstances once in the grip of a child molester, most kids stand little chance of effectively resisting. For these reasons, institutions need to be ever vigilant about the threats posed by molesters to the children under their care and supervision
When a child is sexually abused the perpetrator and the institution must be held accountable in a court of law. The criminal justice system serves a vital role in punishing the perpetrators, but it does not address the damage to the victim or compensating that victim for the injuries. In addition, a criminal prosecution rarely addresses the responsibility of the institution which employed the predator. A civil action seeking financial damages will not give a victim back the innocence of his or her childhood, nor will it make the pain vanish, but it is the best method that our great system of justice has devised for righting at least a portion of these devastating wrongs.
Filing an action in civil court is not for every victim - even decades after the abuse has happened, it is very difficult for victims of sexual abuse to stand up and confront their abusers. However, filing a civil action to hold the institution responsible can be a life- affirming event for many who have suffered and it can go a long way to helping the victim gain closure to a horrible chapter in his or her life. Victims of sexual abuse who challenge their abusers and the institutions that have employed them often realize that they are standing up not only for themselves, but for other victims who are too afraid or embarrassed and fearful to come forward. In a sexual abuse case filed by parents on behalf of their children or by adult–survivors of childhood sexual abuse, damages in the form of financial compensation are sought for emotional and psychological injuries including but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), depression, anxiety and substance abuse addiction as well as other provable injuries.
The vast majority of sexual abuse cases are settled prior to trial. However it is critical to employ an attorney who is not just well-versed in all aspects of sexual abuse litigation, but has the experience and skills needed to try these cases if it becomes necessary.
COPYRIGHT PAUL MONES 2015
For over thirty years Los Angeles attorney Paul Mones has dedicated his legal practice to representing victims of sexual abuse throughout the nation. He has litigated against the institutions of trust like the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, public and private schools, youth sports teams and other youth-serving organizations. In 2010 he obtained the largest jury verdict ever against the Boy Scouts of America in Portland, Oregon. The case resulted in the first public release of the BSA’s Perversion Files.