Oakland Law Firm Fights for Victims of On-Campus Sexual Assault

January 31, 2014 by Gregory J. Brod

College should be a time of learning and growth, an opportunity for teens to grow into young men and women. College campuses should be a safe space for this transformation. Sadly, too often the danger of college sexual assault hangs over young women (and young men too, while we will primarily refer to female victims in this post, we recognize that men can also be victims of sexual assault) throughout their university years. Our Oakland assault attorney is committed to helping the victims and holding all responsible parties accountable for these crimes and the environment that allows them to occur.

UC Berkeley Student Reports Sexual Assault in Campus Housing Unit
help.jpgPolice report that a female student attending UC Berkeley was sexually assaulted last weekend in a campus housing unit located in Albany. As detailed in The Oakland Tribune, university police were called to a hospital on Sunday to initiate an investigation into the incident. The victim told officers that a male acquaintance had invited her to an off-campus bar before taking her to an Albany Village apartment where he assaulted her sexually. Police say the suspect, who has not yet been arrested, is a 40 year old Hispanic male, approximately 5’7” and 170 pounds.

Civil Claims for Sexual Assault
There are a range of remedial options available to victims of sexual assault, including but not limited to cases of rape, that occurs on a college campus. One option is filing a civil lawsuit, a claim that falls under tort law which is the same body of law that covers personal injury cases. Such claims can be pursued alongside criminal investigations and/or school-based investigations.

Among the papers available through The National Resource Center on Violence Against Women is a study titled Civil Tort Actions Filed by Victims of Sexual Assault: Promise and Perils. The authors report an increase in the number of sexual assault victims opting to pursue civil tort claims and a related increase in the type of claims available to victims. Claims can be filed against third-parties in addition to the actual assailant. Typically, these claims involve allegations that the third-party failed to “use reasonable care to protect against foreseeable sexual assault.” For example, the victim may point to an alleged failure to provide appropriate security. Defendants may include both schools and administrators. The claims may be more complex when a state entity is involved, but sovereign immunity objections usually do not prevent a case against a public school.

There are, as the paper points out, both benefits and drawbacks to pursuing tort claims against either an assailant or a third-party. Plaintiffs may be concerned about a lengthy court process, a loss of privacy, and the possibility of victim-blaming by the defendant(s). On the positive side, a civil case may give the victim a sense of control (a feeling often lost in the wake of an assault), a monetary award can provide access to psychological services, and the case can spur changes that can prevent future attacks. The latter benefit is especially applicable to cases against colleges and universities.

Helping Survivors Take Control
We encourage victims of sexual assault to seek help and to explore their options. Although they focus on other jurisdictions, so the exact rules may not apply to California, two additional resources that can help victims consider their options are: A Survivor’s Guide to Filing a Civil Lawsuit (Washington state) and A Guide to Civil Actions for Survivors of Sexual Assault (North Dakota).

Our office offers free consultations to all prospective plaintiffs to help you understand the nuances of California law and how it may apply to your case. The team at our Oakland sexual assault victims’ law firm promises to fight for your legal rights and to always treat you with the respect and kindness you deserve.

See Related Blog Posts:
Sexual Assault of Minors: the Ultimate Abuse of Power

Seeking Justice After Trauma: Legal Considerations After a Case of Sexual Abuse In an Oakland-area School

Sexual Assault of Minors: the Ultimate Abuse of Power

September 30, 2013 by Gregory J. Brod

A person who has been subjected to sexual assault experiences one of the most degrading acts imaginable, and the issue of power is often at the center of the perpetrator’s unwanted advances toward the victim. But when it comes to an imbalance of power in the context of a sexual assault, nothing quite stoops as low as the sexual abuse of a minor, and San Francisco attorney Gregory J. Brod is experienced at seeking just compensation for the violation of such victims‘ rights.

Two unrelated cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors in the Bay Area cropped up in the news this week, both involving cases in which the accused perpetrator was a law enforcement officer. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a Hayward police officer was arrested and booked Saturday on suspicion of substantial sexual conduct with a minor in connection with alleged acts of abuse with several girls while the officer worked in Livermore as an after-school program teacher. In the other case, a San Mateo County sheriff’s deputy was arraigned Monday on charges that he molested a young female relative, also according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Unfortunately, as shocking as it may seem, alleged cases of sexual abuse of minors by a figure known to the victim such as the aforementioned examples are all too common in the United States. Indeed, according to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 75 percent of adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well. In circumstances where a minor has been sexually assaulted, an authority figure such as a law enforcement officer, teacher, religious leader or adult relative has often won the trust of the child well before the violation occurs, making the abuse all the more reprehensible.

Here are some other notable statistics from studies on sexual abuse against children from the National Center for Victims of Crimes:

  • One in five girls and one in 20 boys is the victim of child sexual abuse;
  • During a one-year period in the United States, 16 percent of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28 percent of youth ages 14 to 17 in the United States had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13

The consequences of sexual abuse against children can be profoundly damaging to its victims, both physically and psychologically. A minor who has been subjected to extended sexual abuse often develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. In addition, such children may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and they can even become suicidal.

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California Appellate Court Decision on Civil Liability for Sexual Assault

January 25, 2013 by Gregory J. Brod

At The Brod Law Firm, we represent victims of sexual assault in San Francisco in civil damages lawsuits. As a quick reminder, the civil law system is distinct from the criminal courts and allows a victim to file a claim for damages against an individual or entity responsible for causing harm to the victim. These suits proceed separately from any criminal charges brought by prosecutors. In the sexual assault arena, a civil lawsuit allows a victim to seek damages for both physical and psychological injuries. The amount of monetary damages in these cases can (and, given the lifelong consequences of sexual assault, should) be high, much more than could ever be realistically recovered from an individual offender. This makes it crucial for a victim to consider all parties that bore responsibility for the sexual assault. Helping victims do so is a key part of our job in these cases, cases that are always close to our hearts.

Appeals Court Rejects Liability of City for Assault Committed During Educational Program
As detailed in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a recent holding in a state appellate court clarified the contours of the ability to sue a municipality in connection with a sexual assault and, more generally, the ability to hold an employer responsible for the acts of an employee. According to the court, Jorge Cruz coerced a seventeen year old identified as Kassey S. to have sex with him in 2007. Cruz, a Turlock police officer, entered a no contest plea in the criminal case and the court sentenced him to sixteen months in prison on three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The teen had been taking part in a police department explorer program through which young people learn about law enforcement careers. The assaults occurred during one-on-one ride-alongs with the on-duty officer. Although Cruz claimed the sex was consensual, it was still against the law due to the young woman’s age. Kassey later filed suit against the city of Turlock, alleging it was responsible for the actions of its employee. A county court dismissed her case and the appeals court affirmed the decision.

The main issue before the court was whether the criminal acts fell within the “scope of employment.” Lawyers for Kassey S. cited a state Supreme Court decision finding that a rape committed by a police officer was a foreseeable consequence of the authority granted to armed law enforcement. As such, the city was held liable for the assault. However, the court cited a 2002 decision that distinguished an assault committed by an officer during a voluntary program. In that case, the court noted that such programs create a different relationship than that between an officer and a suspect and concluded that sexual abuse committed during such a program did not arise out of the officer’s job-created authority. Another key precedent was a 1989 state Supreme Court case that refused to hold a school district liable for sexual abuse perpetrated by a teacher during an after-school program. There, the court held the district could not have foreseen the assault and could not have reasonably prevented it short of shutting down all after-school programs. Relying on these prior decisions, the Fifth District Court of Appeal found that even though Cruz had been on-duty during the assaults, his conduct did not fall within the scope of employment and the city of Turlock could not be held responsible as his employer.

The appellate court also rejected an alternative argument presented by Kassey’s attorney. Her lawyer suggested that even if Turlock was not responsible for the initial assault, the city should be held liable for the subsequent assaults because the officer failed to comply with his legal duty to report any suspicion of child abuse to an appropriate state agency. While officers are mandatory reporters, the court held Cruz’s duties did not extend to reporting his own actions given the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Our Role as a Civil Law Firm for Northern California Sexual Assault Victims
As a San Francisco sexual assault victims’ law firm, we believe in holding all responsible parties liable for civil damages following assault and/or rape. We work with our clients to consider all possible defendants in these cases. In some cases, this means distinguishing precedent, explaining to the court why a case is different from one in which liability was not found.

We know that financial recovery is essential to obtaining the psychological (and, in some cases, medical) help that victims need in the wake of such a horrible violation. This is not about greed; this is about holding people and organizations responsible for their role in these disturbing crimes.

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Sacramento Attorney Comments on Finding Justice for Victims as a Pastor Faces Charges of Sexual Abuse of Children

Sacramento Injury Attorney on Civil Claims for Intentional Injury in California

January 23, 2013 by Gregory J. Brod


Most of the injured clients we work with as a Sacramento personal injury law firm were hurt in a car collision or other accidental event. Such cases are typically brought as claims for negligence, meaning the defendant failed to use the proper level of care or otherwise failed to act in the manner a reasonable person would in a similar situation. However, we also work on cases where our client suffered an injury due to someone else’s intentional wrongdoing. Even when the injury is incurred during criminal conduct, these civil cases are still separate and distinct from the related criminal proceedings. We can help victims of intentional injury recover in civil court.

An Example of Intentional Injury: A Sacramento Carjacking Causes Wrongful Death
One recent headline that reminded us of the threat of intentional harm was the Sacramento Bee’s update on a 2006 carjacking. The term “carjacking” came into use in the 1990s, when news reports warned of automobile thefts that occurred by force while the driver was in or near the vehicle. According to a Sacramento County jury, Taurus Aquarius Baker fatally shot Joseph Wayne Bush during a carjacking attempt that occurred in February 2006. Evidence showed that thirty-eight year old Bush had recently dropped his son off at school when Baker shot and killed him in a shopping center parking lot located at 6051 Mack Road in south Sacramento. A jury convicted Baker of first-degree murder in October and, last Friday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White sentenced him to 38 years to life in prison.

Understanding Civil Claims Stemming from Intentional Criminal Acts
Many people are unaware of the fact that victims can bring a civil personal injury lawsuit for injuries intentionally caused by another individual or a company. This right also extends to include the ability to bring a wrongful death claim when a family member is killed by an intentional wrongdoing. While less common than negligence cases, these lawsuits are an important part of our civil system. Claims for intentional injury arise when a purposeful action (or, in some cases, inaction) causes physical and/or emotional harm. The victim, or family member in the case of a fatality, can bring a civil suit seeking financial compensation for this injury. It is important to note that a civil claim may succeed even if a criminal case failed to lead to conviction. One famous example is the successful wrongful death case by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman against O.J. Simpson following the failure to convict him on criminal murder charges.

What types of intentional action might lead to a civil claim? Examples include, but are not limited to: sexual abuse; elder abuse; assault/battery, and; death caused by criminal conduct. While it is not the focus of this particular post, certain crimes that do not involve injury can give rise to related, non-injury civil claims (i.e. breach of fiduciary duty, slander, or fraud). The Brod Firm does represent businesses in such lawsuits.

Who can be sued for intentional injury? The most obvious defendant is the person who committed the crime, such as a civil wrongful death claim filed against the carjacker who killed Joseph Wayne Bush. However, there can be other defendants. For example, a civil lawsuit could be filed where a property owner provided inadequate security, allowing a criminal act to occur on the premises. It is important to consider all parties that may bear responsibility for an intentional injury, especially where the perpetrator of the crime lacks the financial means to pay a civil judgment.

The Brod Law Firm
As an experienced Sacramento injury lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod helps injury victims recover financial damages in civil court. This includes those harmed by negligent behavior as well as the victims of intentional crimes. Attorney Brod can help victims consider the role and liability of all responsible parties, including the criminal perpetrator as well as other individuals and companies who played a role in allowing the injury or wrongful death to occur.

Working with the prosecutors on a criminal case is important, but it is not your only legal right. Call to arrange a free consultation to discuss the civil side of the justice system.

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(Picture by Bruce Bortin)

Lawsuit Seeks to Hold School Liable for Oakland Sexual Abuse Case Involving 14 Year-Old Child

October 19, 2012 by Gregory J. Brod

There are few things as disturbing as the abuse of a child. Our Oakland sexual abuse lawyer understands that when sexual abuse occurs in a school setting, it is also a violation of our community’s trust. Early this year, we shared the story of Michael Merrick, a middle school teacher charged with the abuse of a teenage girl. Our comments also mentioned the potential that civil liability for sexual abuse by a teacher may go beyond the perpetrator himself (or, it is important to remember, herself) to include a school or district that turned a blind eye to the abuse. A recent update in The Oakland Tribune shows that such a case is now pending before the courts.

Civil Suit Expands to Include California School District
In January, Michael Merrick pleaded guilty to six felonies related to charges he abused a fourteen year old girl while serving as a teacher at Stanley Middle School. Charges against Merrick stemmed from private math tutoring sessions held in the school’s wood shop (Merrick previously worked in the math department but had moved to a role as shop teacher) and the evidence included hundreds of text messages with sexual theme. Per the criminal case, Merrick also coerced the young victim not to report the abuse. The criminal court sentenced him to five years and eight months in state prison and he is currently serving the term at North Kern State Prison in Delano. Since the resolution of criminal case, the girl’s family filed a civil suit against Merrick himself as well as the school district, Principal David Schrag, and District Superintendent Fred Brill. The suit seeks compensation for past and future medical costs, general damages, and a punitive award.

The civil case is based on charges that Lafayette School District representatives received complaints about Merrick prior to his 2010 arrest. The complaint alleges that the defendants and others in the district knew of prior complaints that the teacher had previously and repeatedly touched other female students in an inappropriate manner. Additionally, the allegations say that the district violated its own rules and the duties imposed on the school system by mandatory reporting laws. The complaint also says that the administration permitted and even endorsed the practice of teachers tutoring students for pay, without monitoring and despite policies specifically forbidding the practice. District representatives deny that they knew of prior events involving Merrick and say that they do not know of complaints raised by any other students. They also assert that disclosing certain documents to the press would violate the privacy of the victim and others, resulting in greater harm.

California Law Holds Schools Liable for Sexual Abuse by a Teacher
California law allows victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil claims against their abuser. Where the abuse occurs at school, the school, the district, and other individuals may also be liable. California statutes and case law imposes a duty on school districts to take any and all reasonable steps to protect their students. Duties are enhanced when the school has prior notice of similar events. School employees are also among those required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse, giving added support to claims where the school knew of prior complaints against a teacher. Beyond the specific mandates relating to schools, general employment law principles can also apply to hold a school liable for an employee’s acts.

Our team is dedicated to protecting the rights of children. Please call our Oakland child sexual abuse law firm for help if your child has been the victim of abuse in a Northern California school.

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High School Counselor Faces Sexual Abuse Charges

High School Counselor Faces Sexual Abuse Charges

April 5, 2012 by Gregory J. Brod

Schools are meant to be safe places for our children to grow and learn. Teachers and school staff are supposed to aid our children in this growth and play the role of a trusted advisor. Bay Area sexual abuse victim’s lawyers know that this is sadly not always the case. Abuse by teachers and school staff is a violation of trust in the highest degree and abusers must be held responsible in both civil and criminal courts.

This breach of trust was seen again when Salinas high school counselor, Gilbert Olivares, was recently taken into custody for allegedly taping his students engaging in sexual activity and inappropriately touching a student. According to the San Francisco Chronicle 14 videos have been found on Olivares’ computer that were allegedly filmed with a hidden cell phone in his office. The videos were all filmed in his office between August 2010 and October 2011, and involve at least eight male and female students. Further, three male students have alleged that Olivares inappropriately touched or molested them. handcuffs.jpg

34-year-old Olivares was an employee of Sunrise House, an organization that counsels teenagers regarding substance abuse. Although he had been working in the school for five years he was not an employee of the school district. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that he now faces 53 charges which include lewd acts upon a child and manufacturing pornography. He has pled not guilty to all charges.

When an abuse of this magnitude occurs to a child, the healing process can be life-long. A criminal case can provide some closure for a victim, but it does not provide direct redress to the actual child affected. While a civil lawsuit cannot fix the immeasurable damage that result from a situation where a trusted adult commits such unspeakable offenses against a child, it can help the victim move forward in the healing process. For example, in a civil case the victim may be awarded compensation that will pay for continued counseling.

A civil case may also include parties other than the offender that were not involved in any proceeding criminal case. For example, an offense by a teacher or school staff member may allow the school district to become a party in a civil case. Additional parties can send important messages to the community about responsibility, such as proper oversight and hiring processes of school employees. Further, another party may also be held financial responsible. When this occurs in our area an experienced San Francisco injury attorney can help you determine if an additional party should be brought into a civil case.

The attorneys of the East Bay personal injury law firm at Brod Law know the importance that a civil case can have for those who have been affected by sexual abuse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of such an assault, contacting our Bay Area sexual abuse lawyers could be a substantial step in furthering your healing process.

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Seeking Justice After Trauma: Legal Considerations After a Case of Sexual Abuse In an Oakland-area School

January 25, 2012 by Gregory J. Brod

Parents should be able to send their children to school with confidence that they are safe and protected from harm while they learn. This is a fundamental promise that our communities make to families. As an Oakland sexual abuse victim’s law firm, our team is committed to helping when this commitment is not met. Abuse in Oakland schools should not be tolerated and victims and their families should pursue justice in both civil and criminal court.

The Oakland Tribune reported this week on the conclusion to a criminal case against a former area school teacher. Michael Merrick, 48, was a teacher at Lafayette’s Stanley Middle School when he was arrested on abuse charges in October 2010. The charges that Merrick molested a fourteen year-old girl stemmed from time the two spent in private summer tutoring sessions on school property and evidence included semen stains from a classroom couch as well as text messages sent by Merrick to the young teen. Merrick accepted a plea deal in the criminal case that will result in five years and eight months in prison. As part of the agreement, Merrick confessed to his actions in court and apologized to the girl, her family, and the community that trusted him with their youth.

Of course, no court action can ever bring back the loss of innocence or undo the harm caused by molestation, especially when the perpetrator was a trusted adult. That said, it is important that victim’s families consider whether a California civil lawsuit for sexual abuse may be an appropriate and even necessary step towards recovery. A criminal conviction is an important element of justice and can provide an important mental and emotional role in the victim’s recovery. However, a criminal conviction cannot address many of the very real aftereffects of the abuse. It is vital that abuse victims are able to receive skilled psychological counseling and this can be a very costly, long-term endeavor. In some cases, medical bills for physical injury may also be a factor. Only a civil lawsuit can provide the financial compensation from the abuser that will help a victim afford this necessary emotional and physical treatment.

In some cases, parties other than the abuser may be included in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit. This can be helpful where the perpetrator may be unable to pay an award. It can also serve as a strong statement about responsibility, especially where children are involved. Our schools owe a safe environment to our children. Consulting a skilled Oakland school injury attorney will allow you to explore whether a claim against the school district is also appropriate in your specific case. If the school was negligent in monitoring safety or responding to prior reports, including the school in a lawsuit can increase the civil recovery and can also help send a strong message that may result in greater precautions in the future.

Again, The Brod Law Firm knows that no amount of money can ever truly compensate a victim for the horror of abuse. However, money can help with both psychological and physical treatment. This is what the civil system is for – compensating victims. Please reach out if we can help you and your family move ahead after an unimaginable trauma.

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Remembering the Victims: San Francisco Victim’s Rights Attorney Comments on Criminal Sentencing of Child Molester

January 9, 2012 by Gregory J. Brod

While nothing can ever undo the harm caused by child molester, our San Francisco abuse lawyer is always gratified to see justice served and evil punished. The recent sentencing of a San Francisco child molester reminds us that the criminal justice system can work to penalize those who violate the law and the standards of common decency. This case also serves as an opportunity to remind residents that our dual legal system provides both the opportunity to punish offenders and the opportunity for victims to recover monetary damages for the harm done. The wrong cannot be undone but the system can provide compensation to help victims move forward after an egregious harm.

On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the sentencing of a repeat child molester. The investigation against Julius Lewis began in 2006 when a six year-old girl, a friend of Lewis’s daughter, reported that she had been molested by Lewis. In addition to charges related to that victim, the case included charges that Lewis molested his step-daughter beginning in 1989. Some of the acts occurred during the time Lewis lived in Texas and had also served a prison sentence there for indecency with a child. Lewis was convicted in September on five counts of lewd acts with a minor and was sentenced this past Friday to twenty-nine years in prison.

It is important to remember that our judicial system has separate and distinct courts for civil and criminal charges. A conviction in criminal court represents official authorities imposing punishment on a wrongdoer for violating the law. The civil system, in contrast, focuses on redressing the wrong done to a victim. An abuse victim in San Francisco can bring a civil suit regardless of whether criminal charges are successful and even if no criminal case is filed. Criminal convictions can be a huge psychological win for a victim but only a civil suit can help them recover damages for their experience. While no amount of money can undo the acts, it can help the victim access resources to help them recover from the emotional and physical trauma. A civil victory can also allow the victim to feel truly heard.

California law recognizes that child victims may be unable to speak about the abuse while it is ongoing. As such, the law allows victims to file civil child abuse claims until their 26th birthday. The law also recognizes that victims may repress the memory of the abuse, a survival technique of sorts. If a victim recovers the memory of the abuse at a later point, the limitations period can be expanded to allow the claim to be filed within three years of the time the memory surfaces.

The numbers are frightening, especially for parents. Statistics suggest one in four girls and one in six boys will experience sexual abuse prior to their eighteenth birthday. At The Brod Law Firm, we applaud criminal convictions that show that California will not tolerate these horrible crimes. We also urge the adult victims of childhood sexual abuse or the parents of current victims to consider a civil lawsuit. It will not undo the harm, but it can help the victim afford treatment and give them a sense of that their voice has been heard. As an experienced San Francisco victim’s law firm, we can help you pursue justice. We also hope all abuse victims will seek help from a specialized mental health practitioner to assist them in moving forward from the harm.

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Sacramento Attorney Comments on Finding Justice for Victims as a Pastor Faces Charges of Sexual Abuse of Children

November 28, 2011 by Gregory J. Brod

hand.pngIt isn’t the type of story we like to think about during the holidays. It isn’t the type of story that we like to hear about any time of the year. It is, however, the type of story we must talk about because talking about hard stories is the only way to bring perpetrators to justice, help victims move forward, and give potential future offenders notice that their behavior will not be tolerated. This sad story is also an opportunity to remind the community that we are trained and prepared to act as attorneys for victims of sexual abuse in Sacramento and throughout Northern California. We cannot erase the past, but we can help victims put the pieces back together and recover financial damages that will help them afford counseling and other necessary treatments.

This past week, as headlines about the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State dominated the national press, a local courtroom investigated sexual assault accusations against a pastor in Citrus Heights. The Sacramento Bee reported that Tommy Jean Daniels, 49, is on trial for 12 counts of child molestation. Daniels is a preacher at Rio Linda First Baptist and the charges, ranging from 2003 to 2005, relate to a home-based child care business run by his wife. Of the five alleged female victims, four were adopted children with troubled histories whose adoptive families placed them in the care center on the advice of social service professionals. The fifth was a child placed in the center for day care while the parents worked. Daniels has continued to assert his innocence, with his attorneys suggesting the children have a history of lying.

We do not know the truth of the Daniels case, but we do know that too many children (and adults) suffer sexual abuse. Despite the “Don’t Talk to Strangers” campaigns many of adults recall from our own childhoods, the majority of perpetrators are people victim knows and trusts. California law is particularly strict on cases of statutory rape, setting the age of consent at 18 (except when the parties are married) with a tiered system imposing harsher criminal penalties where a greater age gap exists. Harsher penalties also apply when the perpetrator is over 21 and the victim is under 16. These are strict liability cases in criminal court, meaning the prosecution only needs to prove the sexual act occurred and consent is not at issue.

In addition to criminal charges, civil liability can arise from sexual abuse cases whether they involve minors or adults. California does place a statute of limitations on civil court sexual abuse cases. While most limitation periods start with the offending act, abuse cases involving minors may be brought for eight years after the victim reaches 18 (i.e. before age 26). There is, however, an exception that allows a claim to be brought within three years when the victim previously repressed the memory of the assault. The limitations period for abuse of an adult is generally shorter but can vary depending on the precise claim.

An additional law allows childhood sexual abuse victims to file civil suits against people who failed to act when despite knowing of the abuse perpetrated by their employee, agent, volunteer, or other representative but who failed to act to stop the abuse. This law was, in part, a reaction to the scandals in the Catholic Church. The statute of limitations in these claims is one year from discovery.

While the outcome of the Daniels case remains to be seen, the trial reminds all of us that sexual abuse is a very real problem that disrupts what should be the innocent years of childhood. As your Northern California personal injury law firm, The Brod Law Firm is ready and able to help. We are Sacramento attorneys for sexual abuse survivors and we can help victims recover money damages. We cannot undo the past but a civil victory can open access to resources that will help victim recover and can also be an emotional triumph in itself. Furthermore, civil suits reiterate the message that California law will not tolerate these horrid offenses. As civil attorneys for Northern California abuse victims, we are proud to be part of that message and to help victims move forward.

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