Articles Tagged with Sexual Abuse

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harvey-weinstein-accused-sexual-assault-300x212In the wake of the many allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, victims of such misconduct are coming forward in unprecedented numbers. With the “#MeToo” movement trending on social media, a stunning number have shared their stories, revealing a problem endemic to not just the entertainment industry, but also to the world at large. While perpetrators undoubtedly deserve to face criminal charges for their crimes, victims don’t have to rely solely on a jury to find justice: civil recourse can be used to hold abusers accountable.

In 2010, a nursing student and her friend were drugged and raped by a member of a Saudi prince’s entourage at the Plaza Hotel. The unnamed Jane Doe endured a great deal of suffering after the incident, including a suicide attempt and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. She withdrew from nursing school and lost her job, and has been unable to maintain full-time work since the attack.

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Dr. David H. Newman, accused of groping emergency room patients.

Dr. David H. Newman, accused of
groping emergency room patients.

Dr. David H. Newman, accused of groping emergency room patients.[/caption]In a speech to medical students at the University of Virginia, former clinical research head at Mount Sinai Hospital and ethics lecturer Dr. David Newman said, “[Patients] believe in us. They have faith in us, it’s almost religious. We need to use that privilege in a way that will better their care.”

In March, Dr. Newman was accused of sexually abusing four of his patients, one of whom claims the doctor ejaculated on her while she was sedated. He now faces up to 7 years in prison.

Dr. David Mata was named Oregon Family Doctor of the Year in 1995. He has since been accused of 140 counts of sexual abuse, 6 of which he has pleaded guilty to. Dr. Mata was charged with 5 years probation, which he served at home. He is now eligible to reapply for his medical license.
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law25n-3-web-300x200Why will Dylan Farrow never be able to bring her father Woody Allen to court for allegedly sexually abusing her when she was 7-years-old?

Why is Bridie Farrell unable to press charges against Olympic speedskater and former US Speedskating President Andrew Gabel for allegedly abusing her when she was 15?

Both of these men are protected by statutes of limitations.
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31xp4-cosby-master675-v3-300x200“I’m not here looking for a quick buck,” says 39-year-old Michael DeSantis, who as a child was raped by many of the priests in his Colonie, NY parish. “I don’t want your dirty money. All I’m asking for is a day in court.”

Like many underage victims of sexual assault, Mr. DeSantis’ feelings of fear and shame kept him from talking about his experiences until years later. However, the statute of limitations in New York made it impossible for him to take on his rapists in civil or criminal court after he turned 23.

“I said, ‘Huh? What do you mean? You’re kidding me!’” Mr. DeSantis said of the day he learned from Albany prosecutors that he would be unable to hold the church or the priests accountable. “I mean, these guys are just going to get away with it?”
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Pastor Brian Williams

Pastor Brian Williams

Pastor Brian Williams’ pattern of sexual violence against teenage girls was glaring to anyone that knew the facts.

When the mother of teenager April Jokela complained that the Ohio pastor had attempted to reach his hand into April’s pants in the early 1990s, church officials asked her to “keep this quiet to protect our brother.”

When another teenager came forward in the early 2000s to report that Pastor Williams told her “he could probably get away with having sex with me right then and there in his office,” she too was ignored.
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choudhury-bikram-yoga-and-missy-barrett-jones-245x300Bill Cosby. Bryan Singer. Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Now we can add Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga, to the growing list of powerful men thrust into the spotlight in recent years for allegations of sexual abuse.

The 69-year-old hot yoga guru, whose followers include former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, as well as celebrities Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney, has been accused of raping 5 women, and sexually harassing several more.
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Personal injury cases are often brought to help remedy injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and medical malpractice. But, as I have written of previously, personal injury lawsuits can, in certain cases, arrive at a resolution where no other legal remedy is available. With the rise of child pornography on the Internet in the last two decades, personal injury law is proving a new and novel tool both for deterring the future exchange of illegal pornographic materials and for helping its child victims recover.One of the most widely viewed victims of Internet child pornography was sexually abused by her uncle between the ages of 4 and 9. Amy, as she is known to the media, has had her pictures and videos factored into around 3,200 criminal cases in the last fifteen years. The news of her images’ popularity online was a shock to Amy, occurring years after her uncle’s abuse ended. The trauma of knowing that, in Amy’s words, “at any moment, anywhere, someone is looking at pictures of me as a little girl being abused by my uncle,” has been a significant impediment in her road to recovery.After evaluating Amy, forensic psychologist Joyanna Silberg expects that she will need to continue therapy throughout the rest of her life, and that she is likely to suffer periodic setbacks that will disrupt her career prospects. Amy’s attorney James Marsh has estimated the cost of Amy’s lifetime treatment at just under $3.4 million.While her uncle has been punished with a prison sentence for his crimes, this still does not cover Amy’s damages. Amy’s atttorney James Marsh solution so far has been to file a new lawsuit against each defendant found in possession of pornographic pictures of Amy. The reasoning behind this is that with each distribution and viewing of these images, Amy’s privacy is violated by yet another individual. There have been 180 cases to date, and from these Amy has recovered over 40% of her damages. Next month, the US Supreme Court will decide if the burden of tracking down each of these offenders should rest with Amy and Marsh, or with the men already charged with viewing the images.While I hope for Amy’s sake that this case works out in her favor, either way it demonstrates how effective personal injury law can be in cases where no other remedy is available. James Marsh has made significant headway in covering Amy’s treatment costs by digging into the pockets of the men who have benefitted from her continued trauma.Sources: New York Times, “How Much Can Restitution Help Victims of Child Pornography,” January 24, 2013.New York Times, “Allocating Liability for Child Pornography, in Full or Fractional Shares,” December 2, 2013.