Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

If you’ve suffered sexual abuse or exploitation, whether in the workplace, at school, or in a place of worship, we know that you are on a painful and difficult road. It’s normal to feel anger, shame, sadness, and any number of real, complex emotions. Someone needs to answer for the pain they’ve caused you.

For abuse survivors, filing a civil claim against the perpetrator can offer closure. It can also help cover any resulting costs, such as trauma therapy, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

We want to help you hold your abuser accountable. We have decades of experience fighting for people in cases just like yours.

Why File a Civil Claim in a Sexual Abuse Case?

Survivors of sexual abuse deserve justice—period. In a criminal case, the alleged perpetrator is considered an offender against the state; a civil case, however, calls the perpetrator to answer for harm done directly to you, the survivor.

The “burden of proof” in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case, which can make it easier for the survivor to win. If the state chooses not to pursue a criminal case or it’s looking like an uphill battle, a civil case still gives you a chance at some amount of justice. And you can file a civil claim even while a criminal case is being filed.

Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania

From the time of the incident, there’s a legal “time limit” for survivors to file claims against their abusers. We understand how difficult and destabilizing this time period can be, and that the aftermath of abuse looks different for everyone. If you have been subjected to sexual exploitation or violence, we encourage you to take the first step of filing a claim before the clock runs out. 

  • For workplace sexual abuse, this time limit is typically two years from the incident.
  • In the case of child sexual abuse by a clergy member, survivors can file civil lawsuits against their abusers until they are 30 years old (and criminal cases can still be filed until the survivor is 50).
  • For child sexual abuse, the statute of limitations is childhood plus twelve years—usually meaning until the survivor is 30. Again, criminal cases have a longer countdown, usually until the survivor is 50.

Independent Survivors’ Compensation Program

Some survivors of past sexual abuse by a clergy member are eligible for compensation through an independent program. It’s very important to know that if you choose to receive compensation from this program, you can no longer file a civil lawsuit against that clergy member in the future. We recommend you have a thorough discussion with us before choosing to go that route.

You Are Not Alone

You have suffered an unacceptable injury, the kind that goes beyond the body. When you reach out to us, we will listen carefully to your story, treating you with the dignity that you deserve. If your case is eligible for a civil claim, we will fight for you, for the truth, and for justice.

Call us today at (570) 821-5717 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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