Sex Abuse Lawsuit
Recently, there has been more public focus on sex abuse lawsuits. This is in part due to several high-profile cases involving large organizations and well-known figures. A sexual abuse lawsuit is one in which a victim is seeking compensation and justice against perpetrators of sexual abuse. What constitutes sexual abuse varies from state to state, but often involves criminal sexual behavior toward children or vulnerable adults.
Some of the largest sexual abuse cases have been filed against religious institutions. For example, more than 10,000 people have already reported being abused by Catholic clergy, with more cases appearing all the time. Educational and athletic institutions have also faced their share of sexual abuse allegations. For instance, the former physician for the U.S. Olympics Gymnastics team, Larry Nassar, was convicted of sexual assault against more than 300 victims.
In many situations, other members of these large organizations helped to cover up the sexual abuse taking place. This discouraged victims from making the incidents public. However, as more people have started to come forward, it’s given other victims encouragement to share their own stories and file their own lawsuits, leading to an increasing number of sex abuse lawsuits.
Is there a sex abuse lawsuit?
Yes, there are many ongoing lawsuits related to sexual abuse. As a result, some states have adjusted their statute of limitations laws to allow victims more time to file a lawsuit. For example, New York recently eliminated their time limitations for sexual assault and other related crimes. Over the last decade, new types of sexual assaults have started to occur. The common types of sexual abuse lawsuits are related to:
Airbnb is an online service where you can rent out a private property. It’s often used by travelers who are looking for a more affordable place to stay over a hotel. Up until 2017, anyone who brought sexual abuse allegations to Airbnb would have to sign a nondisclosure agreement in order to receive a settlement payment. This prevented numerous stories of sexual abuse while staying at an Airbnb property from becoming public knowledge.
However, in 2021, Airbnb adjusted its policies. It removed a mandatory arbitration clause from its terms of service, which now allows hosts and guests to sue the company over claims of sexual assault or harassment. Now, if Airbnb fails to perform a proper background check on a host, if they knew about issues that might lead to sexual assault dangers, or if Airbnb allowed a host to operate outside the law or company policies, a victim can likely sue Airbnb for damages.
Clergy sexual abuse
In the United States alone, more than 6,000 Catholic priests have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child. As a result, there have been thousands of lawsuits against the Catholic Church, with the Church paying out more than $3 billion to abuse victims. One of the reasons for this is that it can take a long time for victims to report the incident. In many of these clergy sexual abuse cases, the abuse took place decades before the filing of the lawsuit.
By recognizing that it can take survivors of clergy sexual abuse a long time to report the incident, many states have adjusted their statute of limitations laws when they’re related to child sex abuse claims. This has allowed more people to come forward about their childhood abuse and take legal action against those responsible. In many of these cases, the victim sues the Catholic Church rather than the individual abuser, since the abuser doesn’t have enough funds for a settlement.
Food service assault
Another common area for sexual assault lawsuits is the food service industry. In the United States, as many as 90% of women and 70% of men have reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment within the restaurant industry. While some high-profile chefs, such as Ken Friedman, have been accused of inappropriate behavior, much more common is the routine harassment of service workers.
One of the reasons for this is the disparity in genders for different roles. The majority of management roles are comprised of men, while most servers are women. As a result, there is a difference in power, which creates an environment where sexual harassment and abuse are often tolerated or overlooked. The restaurant industry also has a high turnover rate, which means victims of sexual harassment are more likely to leave their job rather than make a complaint.
However, it’s not only upper management that perpetrates sexual harassment and assault. It’s also common for food service workers to experience harassment from customers. In these incidents, the harassment is often ignored, whether it’s because a manager doesn’t want to upset a customer or because the worker is relying on the customer’s tips for income.
School sex abuse
School sexual abuse is typically when a person in a position of power, such as a teacher, faculty member or coach, sexually abuses a student (however, school sex abuse can also occur when the abuser is another student). When an adult abuser uses their authority to abuse a student, this is an act of child sexual abuse. This means that, while there are great punishments involved, it’s also less likely that the incident will become public, as many incidents of child sexual abuse go unreported.
There are several things that can qualify as school sex abuse. For example, any behavior, whether it’s verbal, physical or visual, that’s sexual in nature, can be considered sexual harassment. In addition, if there is any sexual contact performed without explicit consent is considered sexual assault, And, since minors are unable to give consent, any sexual contact with an underage student is sexual abuse.
A rideshare assault is one that takes place while the victim is using a rideshare service. A rideshare service is similar to a taxi, where you use an app on your phone to request a ride. Two of the most popular rideshare services in the United States are Uber and Lyft. While these apps can provide a convenience to customers, they also come with a risk of getting into a stranger’s vehicle.
As a result, many people have been assaulted by their rideshare driver. In one California case, 19 women sued Lyft, saying they were all sexually assaulted while using the Lyft service. They claimed that Lyft did not prevent these sexual assaults, which could have been avoided with some basic safety measures. They also claimed that Lyft failed to do anything with their complaints or follow up on them. This was not the first lawsuit against Lyft and it’s far from the only case against rideshare companies.
Sex abuse linked to long-lasting psychological damage
Multiple studies show that victims of sexual abuse can experience long-lasting psychological damage. This is regardless of whether the abuse took place as an adult or as a child. Below are some prominent studies that explored the relationship between sexual abuse and its long-term effects.
“Psychobiological Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Current Knowledge and Clinical Implications”
This first study explored the current literature on the effects of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in relation to the biological impacts, impacts to the immune system, cellular processes in adults and the transgenerational inheritance of any impacts from CSA. What this review found is that CSA has a substantial impact on psychology.
One of their larger conclusions is that a person’s early environment plays a significant role in the programming of the hypothalimic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in adults. This axis describes the interaction between the adrenal glands, pituitary gland and hypothalamus, all of which play an important role in how a body reacts to stress. The study found that when there is a dysregulation of the HPA axis, which happens with CSA, it can make a person more vulnerable to stress-related psychiatric disorders.
“Lessons learned from child sexual abuse research: prevalence, outcomes, and preventive strategies”
This next study, published in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, provides an overview on the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse, preventative strategies, and the mental health disorders that can arise from CSA. According to this report, one model for explaining the adverse effects of CSA suggests that CSA may cause trauma by distorting their self-concept and alter both their cognitive and emotional orientation to the world.
The report goes on to say that CSA is a substantial risk factor for developing negative consequences in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Common negative consequences include PTSD and disassociation. Overall, victims of CSA present these negative psychological symptoms much more frequently than non-abused children.
The study concludes by saying that “While the effects of CSA may not always be initially visible, survivors of CSA still carry the threat to their well-being. The traumatic experience of CSA is one major risk factor in the development of mental health problems affecting both the current and future well-being of victims.”
“Psychological impact of types of sexual trauma among college women”
Another study aimed to look at the developmental impact of sexual abuse based on the time of the exposure and the type of trauma experienced. It did so by looking at groups of college-sophomore women who experienced unique, non-overlapping sexual trauma histories. The study then examined the relationship between the type of trauma exposure and its impacts on mental health, social adjustment and sexual functioning.
Based on the results of the study, the researchers concluded that there were significant differences based on the victims’ type of sexual trauma. In addition, they discovered that women who experienced sexual assault as a child or revictimization were at a greater risk for poor social adjustment and psychopathology.
Long-term outcomes of childhood sexual abuse: an umbrella review
This last study aimed to review all existing meta-analyses on sexual assault and its impact on long-term psychological and physical health outcomes. Essentially, the researchers aimed to create an all-encompassing summary of the existing studies on childhood sexual abuse. In all, they ended up reviewing 19 meta-analyses, which covered 559 primary studies and over 4 million participants. What the researchers found was that people who experienced CSA are between two to three times more likely to experience a disorder such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD and borderline personality disorder.
Projected sexual abuse settlement amounts
Many sexual abuse lawsuits reach a settlement before going to trial. However, the settlement amounts widely vary based on the particulars of each case, such as the age of the victim, the type of abuse and where the abuse took place. For example, a recent settlement in Missouri awarded a young girl $1.35 million, who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by another student in school. Another recent settlement saw the University of Michigan pay $490 million to over 1,000 individuals who accused a former University of Michigan sports doctor of sexual assault and abuse.
Do you qualify for a sexual abuse lawsuit?
You likely qualify for a sexual abuse lawsuit if you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse, assault or harassment. However, one potential hurdle is the statute of limitations in your state. The statute of limitations is the time period after the alleged incident during which you can file a lawsuit. If this time period passes, it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to file a lawsuit. Some states have adjusted their statute of limitation laws when it comes to sexual abuse or assaults, especially when the victim was a child when the incident occurred.
To learn more about whether you qualify for a sexual abuse lawsuit, you should consult with a lawyer. A lawyer will keep all your information confidential and advise you on your best course of action. They can better explain the statute of limitations laws in your area and what the process of filing a sexual abuse lawsuit looks like.
How to file a sexual abuse lawsuit
To file a sexual abuse lawsuit, contact a lawyer that specializes in these types of cases. Your lawyer will discuss the specifics of your case with you, then guide you through the lawsuit process. This includes filing the correct paperwork, collecting evidence, and then either negotiating a settlement or preparing for trial.