All too often the victim of sexual abuse is a young child or vulnerable teen, and often – usually – the person committing the abuse is a member of the victim’s extended family or household.
If you or a loved one are a victim of sexual abuse, or you have a suspicion abuse is occurring, it is important not to keep this information to yourself in hope that it stops, or to protect the abuser. Sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult is a serious crime and often results in long term harm to the victim. The healing can start only when the abuse stops and the abuser is held responsible for the conduct.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse and under age eighteen, confide in a trusted adult who will go to the authorities. That is your best protection and the best way to get the abuse to stop.
If a victim of sexual abuse has confided in you, or you learn sexual abuse is occurring, you should go to the local police or County child protective services to report the abuse. These days most police agencies are well trained to investigate such claims with sensitivity and professionalism.
There are sometimes financial remedies available to victims of sexual abuse. If the offender has pled guilty or been convicted of felony sexual abuse, then there is almost “automatic” civil damages remedy available to the victim, if they act timely to make a claim. In those cases where there is a criminal conviction, the legal fight involves finding any money or assets held by the perpetrator that can be used to compensate the victim.
Insurance typically will not cover intentional sexual abuse, but there are often other assets that can be recovered to pay sometimes sizable awards to the victim. At Klampe Law Firm we have many times made substantial recoveries – up to over $1 million – to help victims of sexual abuse with their recoveries and to help compensate for what unfortunately often cannot ever be fully remedied.
Minnesota has special rules that aid victims of sexual abuse more than victims of other types of injuries. For instance, victims of childhood sexual abuse are allowed up to six years after they reach age 18 to bring a lawsuit against the perpetrator – which is a longer statute of limitations than most other injury claims.
When sexual abuse leads to a plea of guilty to the felony conduct, or a conviction to a felony crime, Minnesota law sometimes allows the perpetrator’s personal assets to be seized or held while a lawsuit proceeds, so the perpetrator cannot use the time of the lawsuit to spend, or gift, or transfer away assets that should be available to the victim.
When we at Klampe Law Firm get calls about sexual abuse or suspected sexual abuse, we of course treat the call discreetly with the protection of attorney-client communications. Very often we will be retained early on to privately help guide the victim or family through the criminal process. When we are retained we usually represent sexual abuse victims on a contingency fee basis, so there is no attorney’s fee unless we make a monetary recovery for the client.
Getting money for victims of sexual abuse helps, but does not “fully fix” the often, devastating emotional consequences of this type of offense. We are familiar with community resources available to abuse victims – therapists, counselors, medical providers, support groups – that can help with the healing.