There is no more despicable crime than the sexual or physical abuse of a vulnerable person, such as a child or a person with a disability. The psychological and emotional damage caused by these incidents can affect the victims for the rest of their lives.
We are sorry you or a loved one has experienced this type of abuse. Over the years, sexual abuse cases have become a major part of our practice. We wish this wasn’t the case. We wish we lived in a world where vulnerable populations weren’t at risk of being abused or mistreated. But our schools, churches, and businesses have failed to protect the people in their care.
Unfortunately, these institutions too often turn a blind eye to the potential for sexual and physical abuse in their midst and too seldom set up the sorts of hiring, training and supervision procedures that would prevent such abuse from occurring. As a result, they unwittingly provide safe havens for perpetrators. In some cases, they have even protected the abusers, not the abused.
When you find out someone in your care has been abused while at school or church, the natural reaction is to want to fix the situation. Unfortunately, abuse can't be erased, but legal action helps in a variety of ways. Legal recourse becomes necessary to hold the abuser and enablers responsible, to prevent the abuse from happening again to another vulnerable person, and to cover the cost of damages associated with the abuse. Mental anguish and suffering, physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, grief, anxiety, and humiliation are just a few items an abused person may struggle with during the recovery process.
If you aren't sure what to expect, or are unsure taking legal action is right for you, here are a few clients we have successfully represented in sexual abuse and physical abuse cases:
- A young girl who was raped repeatedly by her mother's boyfriend and later became pregnant because of the rape at age 13. Child protective services failed to remove her from the home despite reports of abuse.
- A toddler was left in the care of her mentally ill mother. She suffered severe neglect, including living in an apartment with her deceased newborn sister, because child protective services ignored multiple reports of abuse.
- A deaf, developmentally delayed woman with cerebral palsy who was raped by a paratransit driver. The paratransit company had previously fired this driver (who had a criminal history and an expired driver’s license), but rehired him because of a shortage of drivers. The plaintiff (who was in her 20's) and her mother had striven for years to give her more and more independence, which included riding a paratransit van to a job a restaurant every day. As a result of this assault, however, her quest for independence was dealt a huge blow.
- A choir boy who was repeatedly molested by a Catholic priest. The plaintiff suffered years of torment as a result of this abuse and ultimately died from an overdose of the pain medication that he had been taking to hide from his psychological pain.
- Six brain-injured children at a convalescent hospital who were molested by two different hospital employees, over the course of many years. One hospital employee molested so many children that he could not remember them all. The hospital, despite its outstanding reputation in the community, had ignored clear signs that these employees were threats to children.
- A teenage boy whose church pastor had molested him and several other teenagers. The victims, all from impoverished families, had spent countless hours at the church and craved the attention and positions of responsibility that this pastor had given them. He repaid their devotion by victimizing them, causing them to question both their self-worth and their religious faith.
- Two men who had been molested years earlier by a junior high school teacher. Similar to the previous case, the perpetrator had taken a number of vulnerable boys, from impoverished backgrounds, under his wing and had purported to serve as a father figure to them. Again, this was only a ruse to put himself in a position to molest the boys.
- Two boys in the foster care system who were abused by another foster child. The abuser was placed in the home without informing the foster parent's of the tendency to abuse. The abuse continued for six months before one of the boys told the foster parents.
- A foster child who was abused by her aunt while in the foster care system. The aunt had requested that the child be removed from her care, but the County did not take action in a reasonable time period. The child sustained traumatic brain injuries associated with shaken baby syndrome.
In each of these cases, we obtained settlements that allowed the victims to get the psychological counseling and other help that they needed in order to try to put these terrible incidents behind them.
So what's next? First, you can view a full list of our Settlements and Verdicts in Sexual and Physical Abuse cases here. Second, you can call our Torrance office and get started with a free review of your sexual abuse or physical abuse case. We're here to help you start the legal process.