Being sexually assaulted or molested by a person you trust is one of the most difficult and painful experiences a person can endure. Victims of sexual abuse deserve to be heard, protected and advocated for. Many victims are children, who are particularly vulnerable to adults, especially adults who are in a position of authority or trust, such as a pastor, teacher, or coach. Even teenagers are frequently victimized by adults under circumstances when they lack the legal capacity to consent to sexual contact. In such instances, the individuals, and frequently organizations within which they work, can be held accountable for these treacherous acts. Civil claims arising from these criminal acts are complicated, and attorneys often have to work closely with law enforcement authorities to protect the victims. Confidentiality is just one of the many considerations in protecting the rights of victims of sexual assault or molestation. We do not represent the perpetrators. We represent only the victims of assault.
Everyone knows sexual abuse is traumatic for victims, and that the damage it causes can have long-term consequences. Perpetrators of such abuse — and the leaders and organizations that cover up their actions — can and should be sued and prosecuted to the extent allowed by law. The law allows victims to bring claims against perpetrators and their organizations and obtain compensation for their injuries and losses, including pain and suffering. It is well known, however, that the emotional scars left from such assaults frequently far outweigh the physical injuries. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other emotional injuries, are common and can be horrific. Emotional injuries cannot be seen as clearly as physical scars, making it all the more important to associate with an attorney who has experience in working with mental healthcare professionals to fully prove and explain the psychological injuries from sexual abuse. Victims of abuse may require a lifetime of counseling and medication and suffer from torn relationships and ineffective job performance. Healthcare experts can help explain the full spectrum of injuries suffered by such victims.
Some common challenges in cases of sexual abuse are time limits and adequate insurance coverage to compensate the victims.
- Time Limits: All types of cases have time limits within which one must file a lawsuit. These are usually referred to as “statutes of limitation”. When a child is injured, most states allow additional time for pursuit of a case until the child reaches adulthood. How this is applied varies from state to state. In addition, it is accepted that sexual abuse can be such a traumatic event, that many victims repress the memory or recognition of injury. Many states, including Missouri, recognize extended time when victims repress memories. This is a concept somewhat unique to sexual abuse cases, and only attorneys with experience in navigating these time limits will give you the best chance for success;
- Many individuals or organizations have insurance that may be available to victims, if a successful case is made that the insured (e.g. a church, scout leader, youth organization) knew or should have known that the perpetrator was a risk to children. However, many insurance policies have provisions that are intended to eliminate or limit the amount of insurance coverage for this specific type of claim. Hence, it is particularly important to also work with an attorney with experience in sorting through the complicated language and provisions in insurance policies. It does no good to win your case, unless your attorney can make sure the judgment will be paid. Our attorneys know how to win . . . and also how to collect.
Our Firm Has Been Successful In Representing Abuse Victims
At Monsees & Mayer, P.C., in Kansas City, Missouri, we take sexual abuse cases seriously. As forceful but compassionate trial lawyers, we have won many significant cases on behalf of abuse victims. The cases are emotionally charged. The victims may be reluctant to talk about their own tragedy. Law enforcement may not fully cooperate in civil litigation, and the perpetrator may rely on his or her rights to remain silent, further complicating proof of the case. Nonetheless, our extensive experience includes successes involving:
- Abuse cases against numerous churches;
- Abuse committed by clergy members, youth ministers, and camp counselors;
- Organizations that did not perform proper background checks on staff;
- Religious organizations that covered up or shielded abusers;
- Negligent hiring or supervision of sexual predators; and
- Six-figure and seven-figure settlements on behalf of victims and their families.
By nature, most sexual abuse cases settle confidentially. Most cases depend on the involvement of expert witnesses and the willingness of victims to testify against their abusers.
Free, Confidential Consultation
If you are looking for an experienced Kansas City sexual abuse attorney, contact Monsees & Mayer, P.C. We offer a free, confidential consultation.