Sexual abuse occurs in many different circumstances and affects people of both genders and of all ages. There are a few initial questions that can be asked to determine if a sexual assault has taken place:
- Is the victim old enough to consent? Each state has an “age of consent”, or the minimum age at which a person can have consensual sexual relations. Children who do not meet the age of consent requirement cannot acquiesce in or agree to a sexual relationship, which is legally considered to be statutory rape.
- Does the victim have the capacity to consent? States also impose limitations on consent or delineating qualifications one must have including the requisite mental and legal capacity. Those with diminished capacity cannot legally agree to have sex.
- Did both participants agree to take part? Did the alleged predator exert physical force and/or psychological manipulation in order to perpetrate sexual abuse? Any such force, in the form of a threat or other pressure, constitutes rape.
Victims of sexual abuse are often not aware that they are eligible to seek compensation for the abuse and suffering they have endured. Sexual predators may threaten and frighten their victims, using their positions of power and authority to protect themselves and convince victims to remain silent. These cases may involve different types of sexual predatory practices, from opportunistic to sadistic or vindictive.
The sexual abuse litigation attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. have extensive experience with such claims, having served on the Steering Committee for Sexual Abuse Litigation in the cases against the Archdiocese of Boston, which achieved a landmark $85 million settlement in 2003.
We have also aggressively pursued claims against colleges and universities for lack of proper policies and procedures pursuant to Title IX, a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination, as well as for negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In such instances, victims of horrific sexual assaults have been further victimized by the very process that is supposed to protect them while seeking justice. This can occur due to the lack of education and training of college administrators, among other factors.
If you or your family has been adversely affected due to an incident involving sexual abuse, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how you can protect your legal rights. To learn more about what we can do for you, arrange a confidential appointment with one of the sexual abuse litigators in our Boston office by calling (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at (800) 545-3732.